Getting better art grades
To gain better art grades it is essential that you know what the moderator is looking for. Essentially they will be looking to see that you have taken a ‘journey’ through your work. This usually begins with showing that you can record the subject you have chosen to study (for example Still-life), and drawing is usually the first way most people choose to record. As well as drawing your subject in pencil you could also record using biro, pen and ink, collage, paint and even complete line ‘drawings’ using wire or string…the list goes on! If drawing is not your strong point however, then capture your subject using Photography. Set up your still life in an interesting way and photograph it from a variety of angles. This can then be manipulated to change the colours and styles and even cropped to change the composition using programmes such as Photoshop.
The next stage would be to analyse your subject. Analysis can be done in many ways. If your written English is good then you can write down all that you have discovered about the subject, your thoughts and feelings about your work and the work of other artists and how you now plan to develop your ideas further. If writing is not your strong point then the examiner can still see your analysis through brief notes or simply through your artwork. By trying out different compositions for your work, different media and different colours, you are showing you are analysing what works for that subject. Also a transcription of a relevant work of art or even recreating certain sections of it will show you have really considered what the artist was trying to do.
With your recording and analysis complete the moderator will then be looking for your design ideas. The previous part of your journey should have given you lots of ideas of where you want to go next. Producing a wide range of design ideas for a final piece in different media will gain you marks in this section. Refining them at each stage so that you get just the right composition or background will add to your grade. Remember not to let the ideas just remain in your head – get them all down on paper so the moderator can see how you got to the end result.
At the end of your ‘journey’ should be your final piece or pieces. This could take any form from a large scale pencil drawing or a collection of photographs to a 3D sculpture or a large painted canvas. The most important thing is that the moderator can see that it has come from your design ideas and also that it shows you have been influenced by a relevant artist. That is not to say that you have directly copied an artist’s work – just doing this will not gain you any marks – but instead working in the same way as an artist; using the same compositions, subject matter, materials, colours and shapes, etc will gain you far more marks. For example a still life of a vase and fruit bowl, collaged using lots of different spots and stripes would clearly show an influence of the artist Roy Lichtenstein.
Finally, always play to your strengths. It’s never a good idea to try something you’ve never done before as a final piece, or in the exam. So good luck and enjoy your journey!
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