Hello! I am currently doing Art A level alongside English and Graphics. To answer your questions, yes it is a LOT of work that you have to put in consistently over the 2 years to get a high grade, but if you really love the subject and keep on top of your weekly work it’s manageable. I would suggest if you’re picking any written A level subjects alongside art that you do any essays for those as soon as you get them so you can spend the rest of your time on art. For sketchbook themes - just pick something you have a lot of photos of or that really excites you. Could be portraiture, architecture, landscape, anything! One thing to note at A-level is that simply taking photos doesn’t really count towards your mark, it’s how you use these photos in your artwork. For supplies, it depends what medium you can see yourself working in most- I found that having acrylic paints at home was very helpful. What do you like to use? And finally, do I enjoy it? Well, if you like your project and you have motivation then it can be fun, but as soon as you lose that interest then it turns into a drag. Overall I do enjoy it, but it’s a massive time drainer and I wouldn’t recommend taking it if you do lots of extracurricular activities or go out a lot. Ending on the positive- it allows you to really experiment with your style and study artists you like in depth. And 60% of the final grade is a “personal investigation” where you choose the topic (on AQA). Also, it’s such a nice break away from academic subjects to just have a chat while you do some art. Hope some of this was useful!
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Last edited by ImSoIndie; 4 weeks ago
I don't know if this is still relevant but I am in year 12 and have been doing art alongside English literature and graphics & architecture since September. I feel like the workload is definitely manageable if you are committed enough. I find it hard at times, especially in conjunction with my other subjects however i wouldn't change it for anything. Be aware that dips in motivation are common, I have my mock exam (15 hours) this week and it is intense but incredibly rewarding. Free periods are a blessing too!
Themes wise- don't pick anything too broad (for example my theme is 'structures' right now but it is way too extensive to make anything cohesive in my opinion) however you should 100% not pick anything too precise as development throughout your project is key! My favourite theme was 'fragments' from my GCSE exam project, I started off doing literal variations (eg taking photos of broken glass and mirrors) but extended to more metaphorical responses. The key is interest, choose something you are passionate or interested in - essentially so you won't hate it when you are in the midst of working.
If you are planning to take on art at a photography angle, obviously a decent camera is important - although lots of schools/colleges lend these out. Also, access to a decent printer, a functional laptop and lots of glossy paper! In my opinion, an A3 sketchbook is perfect (im being forced to use A2 and i hate it!). Try and get one with thicker paper and ringbound. i would also reccommend some synthetic paintbrushes, decent quality watercolours, sketch pencils and black fineliners. Good luck in your choice!