Aimee D
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Okay so I am going into year 10 in a week and we picked our options months ago but I am questioning changing what I have picked, so far I have chosen Triple Science (all three sciences), performing arts, geography and photography. However I am thinking about changing photography to art. The thing is I want to do both at some point and can also do either at A level, both are a hobby of mine but I have read a lot about peoples experiences with A level art and they have said it was much harder than GCSE, and I know of course it will be considering it is a higher level of education but I don't think I am good enough at art especially fine art to do it at A level, so that would mean I would have to do it at GCSE instead. A good thing I did here about A level fine art was that you have a lot more freedom with what you are creating so in that sense it is better than GCSE art and that is where my dilemma comes into play.
The type of art I am especially good in is copy art, if I was given a picture of something to draw I could do a pretty good job of it, but I am not as good at creating my own art, I am alright but not at all amazing and I am not very good at detailed and realistic art when it comes to creating my own. I am also horrible at drawing people which I think you do a lot in fine art but I probably could get better with practise. Another thing is I am a major perfectionist, in art at school I would practically never finish my projects because I wouldn't get it finished and my teachers would always say when writing improvements to finish my work on time, so considering the workload it really doesn't seem like a good idea for me, however I feel like I will regret it if I don't take it because I do enjoy art and do it often at home.
So if I were to do fine art I most likely would do it at GCSE and then just do photography at A level, currently I have picked photography but still have time to change. However I still kind of want to do photography now and a lot of my friends are doing it and obviously I have never done it before.
The reason I picked photography in the first place while having this dilemma was because one of my graphics teachers said to do photography now because I had never done it before and could just go back to art in A level, but I didn't know about the level of difficulty A level art would be, plus you need a portfolio for A level art. Also we do have almost a month I think when we first start to change our subjects if we don't like them so I could just try art and if I don't like it I could just change back.
What do you guys think I am sorry I wrote so much....
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Hi!

I’ll try not to ramble on. Whichever subject you pick whether it be Photography or Fine Art they’ll both have deadlines and a lot of work needed before that deadline. So your point about not finishing work would apply for both subjects.

I did A Level Fine Art and finished it last year. So I can only comment mostly on fine art. The teachers are always there for a reason. They will tell you when you need to move on considering if you do bad, this will make the teacher look bad anyways and since they wouldn’t want that you will be doing well regardless. The reason behind the portfolio is because art is a practical and creative subject. You don’t necessarily need to be doing art at GCSE in order to create a portfolio. Matter of fact it would look better having done art as an extra hobby rather than a gcse alongside gcse photography would make you seem more passionate about creative subjects.

I had a similar thought when I started A level Fine Art, I can’t draw people to save my life. I got through with a great grade without doing anything got to do with faces or portraits. It is possible to get through two years of a level fine art without doing portraits/people. I also didn’t do anything portrait related during gcse art too so you don’t need to worry. The concept of fine art a level is you get given a title and you start a project based on that title, you display research to show your inspirations, tests of things that work and things that don’t, final outcomes, different media. It’s a lovely a level for sure it’s just that you have to constantly produce work which is the difficult part alongside your other subjects. So as long as your project and the direction you go in with your project related back to the project title, you should have absolutely no problem.

With the copy art situation, I think it could work although I wouldn’t count on it. During fine art a level you’ll definitely be expected to draw from observation rather than photo. My teachers hated drawing from photo. There were some students who did print photos and used it to paint, I also did this whenever what I was drawing from observation and the thing I was drawing could be moved, broken (etc). You should definitely not stick to drawing/painting. I recommend taking up other media such as printing. Printing saved my life. There’s so many different types of printing styles and they are easy to use and obtain lovely results. So there’s a high chance you won’t be sticking to copy art. The point about freedom is definitely true. As long as you can relate back to your project title, you can produce whatever type of art you want. It’s just a matter of how much did you experiment, can we see the development of your project well, the quality of your final outcomes of the project. These are the sort of things you are assessed on during fine art.

I wouldn’t listen to teachers if they tell you to pick a specific subject. I say to do what you want most. Which one do you think you’re more interested in? Which one do you want to learn about more? Which one do you think you’ll thrive in more?

I hope this helps!
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Aimee D
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Hi!

I’ll try not to ramble on. Whichever subject you pick whether it be Photography or Fine Art they’ll both have deadlines and a lot of work needed before that deadline. So your point about not finishing work would apply for both subjects.

I did A Level Fine Art and finished it last year. So I can only comment mostly on fine art. The teachers are always there for a reason. They will tell you when you need to move on considering if you do bad, this will make the teacher look bad anyways and since they wouldn’t want that you will be doing well regardless. The reason behind the portfolio is because art is a practical and creative subject. You don’t necessarily need to be doing art at GCSE in order to create a portfolio. Matter of fact it would look better having done art as an extra hobby rather than a gcse alongside gcse photography would make you seem more passionate about creative subjects.

I had a similar thought when I started A level Fine Art, I can’t draw people to save my life. I got through with a great grade without doing anything got to do with faces or portraits. It is possible to get through two years of a level fine art without doing portraits/people. I also didn’t do anything portrait related during gcse art too so you don’t need to worry. The concept of fine art a level is you get given a title and you start a project based on that title, you display research to show your inspirations, tests of things that work and things that don’t, final outcomes, different media. It’s a lovely a level for sure it’s just that you have to constantly produce work which is the difficult part alongside your other subjects. So as long as your project and the direction you go in with your project related back to the project title, you should have absolutely no problem.

With the copy art situation, I think it could work although I wouldn’t count on it. During fine art a level you’ll definitely be expected to draw from observation rather than photo. My teachers hated drawing from photo. There were some students who did print photos and used it to paint, I also did this whenever what I was drawing from observation and the thing I was drawing could be moved, broken (etc). You should definitely not stick to drawing/painting. I recommend taking up other media such as printing. Printing saved my life. There’s so many different types of printing styles and they are easy to use and obtain lovely results. So there’s a high chance you won’t be sticking to copy art. The point about freedom is definitely true. As long as you can relate back to your project title, you can produce whatever type of art you want. It’s just a matter of how much did you experiment, can we see the development of your project well, the quality of your final outcomes of the project. These are the sort of things you are assessed on during fine art.

I wouldn’t listen to teachers if they tell you to pick a specific subject. I say to do what you want most. Which one do you think you’re more interested in? Which one do you want to learn about more? Which one do you think you’ll thrive in more?

I hope this helps!
Thank you so much!! I didn't really know what you actually did in a level art so that helps a lot, in your opinion which version of fine art did you enjoy more GCSE or a level? And did the work load of a level fine art affect how much you enjoyed it? I think at the end of the day the reason I'm thinking about changing and doing fine art GCSE instead of photography is because of the workload of a level fine art and because people have said it is really hard, and because I feel like with the level of art that I am able to do now I couldn't do it well. In other words would they teach me the basics in a level like they would in GCSE? If they do that anyway, like I am I going to struggle at all doing a level art having not done it at GCSE?
Also that is the thing I want to do them both equally as much, and I can do both but I just don't know which one to do when. And I guess the whole copy art situation doesn't really matter.
Sorry about all the questions
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(Original post by Aimee D)
Thank you so much!! I didn't really know what you actually did in a level art so that helps a lot, in your opinion which version of fine art did you enjoy more GCSE or a level? And did the work load of a level fine art affect how much you enjoyed it? I think at the end of the day the reason I'm thinking about changing and doing fine art GCSE instead of photography is because of the workload of a level fine art and because people have said it is really hard, and because I feel like with the level of art that I am able to do now I couldn't do it well. In other words would they teach me the basics in a level like they would in GCSE? If they do that anyway, like I am I going to struggle at all doing a level art having not done it at GCSE?
Also that is the thing I want to do them both equally as much, and I can do both but I just don't know which one to do when. And I guess the whole copy art situation doesn't really matter.
Sorry about all the questions
I enjoyed both A level and GCSE but I think the results of A level fine art were more rewarding since it was my best pieces of work over the years. GCSE was good and all but when I look back at my work, I think to myself “this is rubbish, what was I thinking”, but with A level quality work you see your progression into your own style and shine in areas of art that you like, again as long as they relate back to your project title. I think if you haven’t done GCSE art, A Level fine art may seem difficult. Since you’d have to adapt to the work load, the mark scheme and the examination style due to it being a practical course. The workload for me was bearable. At no point did I say that I disliked or regretted doing A level fine art. You may sometimes feel stressed especially during times close to deadlines but it’s similar to how you would feel revising with a couple days before an exam. It all comes down to time management, you need to be able to manage your time well to show consistency in the quality of your work. One good piece won’t cover up for several average pieces. I don’t exactly know what your work looks like but considering your interest I’m sure it’s of good quality. When it comes to teaching basics, it’s not exactly a factual subject to say that there’s one way of doing things. Art has barely any boundaries so it’s wrong to see that a way of doing something isn’t right. As long as there’s research, trial and error, maybe a story behind your work, that is what matters (like the black square painting, pls it’s just a black square that many can achieve but it’s the story behind it that makes it so memorable). If you come into your a level fine art lesson one day and say I want to work with screen printing but I’ve never done it before, it’s 100% your teachers responsibility to teach you the process in order for you to progress in your project. There isn’t really a set ‘basics’ skill set that comes to mind. Come to the lesson with a set goal and use your teacher’s help to gain something new by the end of the day. They won’t leave you to just fail, that’s just mean. The more passionate and diligent you are, the even happier your teachers will be to help you out.

Also depending on different exam boards, some exam boards for A level fine art also have an coursework essay you do. I can’t remember off the top of my head which exam boards I did but I had to write an essay which played a minor role in my grade too. I wouldn’t count on it to boost grades but this is also something to consider. I’m not sure if a level photography has tests or essays like we did but I’m sure you can find out online.

Feel free to ask anymore questions, this is why student room is here 😂
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vix.xvi
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sorry i didnt read the entire thing but jic u were asking for my opinion id say fine art is more interesting lol hope this helps in some way
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Aimee D
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(Original post by OSY~)
I enjoyed both A level and GCSE but I think the results of A level fine art were more rewarding since it was my best pieces of work over the years. GCSE was good and all but when I look back at my work, I think to myself “this is rubbish, what was I thinking”, but with A level quality work you see your progression into your own style and shine in areas of art that you like, again as long as they relate back to your project title. I think if you haven’t done GCSE art, A Level fine art may seem difficult. Since you’d have to adapt to the work load, the mark scheme and the examination style due to it being a practical course. The workload for me was bearable. At no point did I say that I disliked or regretted doing A level fine art. You may sometimes feel stressed especially during times close to deadlines but it’s similar to how you would feel revising with a couple days before an exam. It all comes down to time management, you need to be able to manage your time well to show consistency in the quality of your work. One good piece won’t cover up for several average pieces. I don’t exactly know what your work looks like but considering your interest I’m sure it’s of good quality. When it comes to teaching basics, it’s not exactly a factual subject to say that there’s one way of doing things. Art has barely any boundaries so it’s wrong to see that a way of doing something isn’t right. As long as there’s research, trial and error, maybe a story behind your work, that is what matters (like the black square painting, pls it’s just a black square that many can achieve but it’s the story behind it that makes it so memorable). If you come into your a level fine art lesson one day and say I want to work with screen printing but I’ve never done it before, it’s 100% your teachers responsibility to teach you the process in order for you to progress in your project. There isn’t really a set ‘basics’ skill set that comes to mind. Come to the lesson with a set goal and use your teacher’s help to gain something new by the end of the day. They won’t leave you to just fail, that’s just mean. The more passionate and diligent you are, the even happier your teachers will be to help you out.

Also depending on different exam boards, some exam boards for A level fine art also have an coursework essay you do. I can’t remember off the top of my head which exam boards I did but I had to write an essay which played a minor role in my grade too. I wouldn’t count on it to boost grades but this is also something to consider. I’m not sure if a level photography has tests or essays like we did but I’m sure you can find out online.

Feel free to ask anymore questions, this is why student room is here 😂
You are such a great help, thanks again. I think if I don't make a decision before I go back I'm going to talk to my teachers about it.

Also I think the reason I have had such a hard time making a decision is because a lot of the things I have read about A level fine art has been quite pessimistic, and they have only focused on the negatives, so you have helped a lot because you have mentioned the good things. One thing I did read though was that you have to do everything by yourself like go to art galleries and stuff, I can't remember the other things, and I know you have said that if you ask for help at all they will give you it so that is great but is that true? I mean in terms of observational work it probably is like you will have to go places maybe I don't really know?

Also I know this might seem like a lot of pressure or something so it is fine if you don't know, but what do you think I should do? GCSE or A level fine art?
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Aimee D
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sorry i didnt read the entire thing but jic u were asking for my opinion id say fine art is more interesting lol hope this helps in some way
Thank you , have you done fine art in GCSE or A level?
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vix.xvi
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Thank you , have you done fine art in GCSE or A level?
nope haha
but i did DT and it was great...if that helps
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Aimee D
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nope haha
but i did DT and it was great...if that helps
Ah okay haha, thank you
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Ah okay haha, thank you
yh np
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You are such a great help, thanks again. I think if I don't make a decision before I go back I'm going to talk to my teachers about it.

Also I think the reason I have had such a hard time making a decision is because a lot of the things I have read about A level fine art has been quite pessimistic, and they have only focused on the negatives, so you have helped a lot because you have mentioned the good things. One thing I did read though was that you have to do everything by yourself like go to art galleries and stuff, I can't remember the other things, and I know you have said that if you ask for help at all they will give you it so that is great but is that true? I mean in terms of observational work it probably is like you will have to go places maybe I don't really know?

Also I know this might seem like a lot of pressure or something so it is fine if you don't know, but what do you think I should do? GCSE or A level fine art?
I’m happy to hear that I’m helping. Talk to your teachers about it but never let someone else’s opinion be the reason to do something, it’s always you first and what you want.

I think taking you out to art galleries and things like that is subjective to the school you end up going to. My sixth form had several planned trips both national and international. I took part in some and didn’t in others and I didn’t struggle at any point. It’s likely that your school will plan to go to galleries with your class cohort but I can’t confirm. If in case the galleries you go to don’t have much things related to your project you’ll most likely have to visit a more relevant gallery yourself. If you don’t know where you could find galleries relevant to you, a quick research or even asking your teachers would help. There were times where I struggled to find artists who had work similar to mine so I always made my own work but whenever I asked my teachers, due to their really well knowledge in art, they always gave me a couple of artists to look at and would sit beside me to show me their work. They were extremely helpful. Observational work doesn’t necessarily mean you have to go out and draw. Let me give an example. We did Vanitas at one point which is like your own set of things which have a lot of symbolism in it. You’ve most likely seen these type of paintings in any gallery you’ve gone to. Just search up Vanitas and you’ll know what I’m on about. When we did Vanitas we didn’t go out but we all drew from observation by using objects around us and creating our own set up in front of us whilst we drew. That is also observational drawing. We created in front of us what we were drawing/painting from. I also had hard times using brushes, I could paint but my hands tremble a lot so I always struggled with fine details. Whenever I asked for tips to paint better, my tutors would demonstrate how to hold the brush so it’s more stable and so on. Even with little things they were up for helping out. My tutors would also take time out of their personal time to look up artists and galleries that would relate to my work and next minute you know I would have an email with a bunch of things that’ll help me with my project. I can only speak for my school and it’s art department but it is true that there are teachers like mine out there and in all my years of art teachers from different schools I haven’t seen a single art teacher who didn’t like their subject or not help their students. I think it’s really unlikely they won’t help.

I’ll tell you my opinion rather than to tell you what I think you should do. I think doing GCSE Photography would be better than GCSE Fine Art. I’m biased anyways since I’ve never taken photography but as sad as it sounds I think fine art is a bigger deal than photography. Although this would differ depending on what you do career wise or at university. That’s also something you should consider. I know you’re young but if you have an idea of what you want to go into some uni degrees have a level requirements, subjects that you have to take in order for your application to be considered so I would say have a look at that too. You can prepare a portfolio of your photography work and extra art stuff that you’ve done whilst doing GCSE in order to apply to art. A level Fine Art was just better than GCSE Art in my opinion. You worked with better quality materials/media and the outcomes were so much better that it was nice to look back and still be proud of your work which I could say doesn’t happen with my GCSE work.

I say A Level Fine Art instead of GCSE. I just want you to know that this is purely my opinion and nothing more. I don’t want to be held responsible for anything 😂
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Aimee D
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I’m happy to hear that I’m helping. Talk to your teachers about it but never let someone else’s opinion be the reason to do something, it’s always you first and what you want.

I think taking you out to art galleries and things like that is subjective to the school you end up going to. My sixth form had several planned trips both national and international. I took part in some and didn’t in others and I didn’t struggle at any point. It’s likely that your school will plan to go to galleries with your class cohort but I can’t confirm. If in case the galleries you go to don’t have much things related to your project you’ll most likely have to visit a more relevant gallery yourself. If you don’t know where you could find galleries relevant to you, a quick research or even asking your teachers would help. There were times where I struggled to find artists who had work similar to mine so I always made my own work but whenever I asked my teachers, due to their really well knowledge in art, they always gave me a couple of artists to look at and would sit beside me to show me their work. They were extremely helpful. Observational work doesn’t necessarily mean you have to go out and draw. Let me give an example. We did Vanitas at one point which is like your own set of things which have a lot of symbolism in it. You’ve most likely seen these type of paintings in any gallery you’ve gone to. Just search up Vanitas and you’ll know what I’m on about. When we did Vanitas we didn’t go out but we all drew from observation by using objects around us and creating our own set up in front of us whilst we drew. That is also observational drawing. We created in front of us what we were drawing/painting from. I also had hard times using brushes, I could paint but my hands tremble a lot so I always struggled with fine details. Whenever I asked for tips to paint better, my tutors would demonstrate how to hold the brush so it’s more stable and so on. Even with little things they were up for helping out. My tutors would also take time out of their personal time to look up artists and galleries that would relate to my work and next minute you know I would have an email with a bunch of things that’ll help me with my project. I can only speak for my school and it’s art department but it is true that there are teachers like mine out there and in all my years of art teachers from different schools I haven’t seen a single art teacher who didn’t like their subject or not help their students. I think it’s really unlikely they won’t help.

I’ll tell you my opinion rather than to tell you what I think you should do. I think doing GCSE Photography would be better than GCSE Fine Art. I’m biased anyways since I’ve never taken photography but as sad as it sounds I think fine art is a bigger deal than photography. Although this would differ depending on what you do career wise or at university. That’s also something you should consider. I know you’re young but if you have an idea of what you want to go into some uni degrees have a level requirements, subjects that you have to take in order for your application to be considered so I would say have a look at that too. You can prepare a portfolio of your photography work and extra art stuff that you’ve done whilst doing GCSE in order to apply to art. A level Fine Art was just better than GCSE Art in my opinion. You worked with better quality materials/media and the outcomes were so much better that it was nice to look back and still be proud of your work which I could say doesn’t happen with my GCSE work.

I say A Level Fine Art instead of GCSE. I just want you to know that this is purely my opinion and nothing more. I don’t want to be held responsible for anything 😂
Ah yeah, don't worry I just wanted to know people opinions and experiences that's all. I don't exactly know what I want to do yet, I have a bunch of ideas and things I would like to do but I haven't gotten a specific one. One of the things I am wanting to do is go into the acting industry, that's why I have taken performing arts at GCSE to see if it is something I would generally be interested in and good at or not and if not that's fine. So I don't know which would be good for that. I feel like I am asking kind of stupid questions but I just can't make up my mind.
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Ah yeah, don't worry I just wanted to know people opinions and experiences that's all. I don't exactly know what I want to do yet, I have a bunch of ideas and things I would like to do but I haven't gotten a specific one. One of the things I am wanting to do is go into the acting industry, that's why I have taken performing arts at GCSE to see if it is something I would generally be interested in and good at or not and if not that's fine. So I don't know which would be good for that. I feel like I am asking kind of stupid questions but I just can't make up my mind.
It’s normal for you to have not made your mind but just bear it in mind. If the acting industry is something you have in mind I would know how fine art would relate but no clue about photography. Enjoy your years of GCSE, I miss mine now that I’m in university.

I’m sure you’ll do well in whatever you pick. Also no question is a stupid question. 🙂
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It’s normal for you to have not made your mind but just bear it in mind. If the acting industry is something you have in mind I would know how fine art would relate but no clue about photography. Enjoy your years of GCSE, I miss mine now that I’m in university.

I’m sure you’ll do well in whatever you pick. Also no question is a stupid question. 🙂
Thank you so much
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