ART BTEC 2015 intake!

ART BTEC 2015 intake!

Monday, 9 October 2017


Following the project briefing things you need to do before your first lesson in the new project are:
  • Choose 5 letters and 2 numbers (these could be from your name/date of birth or just randomly selected), try to get a range of different characteristics in the letters/numbers - curved, straight, open, contained spaces etc.
  • For each of these 7 characters find 5 varied examples (35 characters in total) find your examples from a range of sources - e.g. Font websites (see links in project brief below), magazines, newspapers.
  • Cut out/print out all these letterforms and bring them to your next session (a large envelope is a good way to keep them together).

Jasper Johns 
  • You should also complete 2 pages of research into the letter/number inspired works of Jasper Johns - try to find a range of his images in this style, so ideally some drawings/prints and some paintings.
  • As always with research consider layout carefully, keep pages busy and visually stimulating. The written content is also important, provide a brief section of background information about the Artist, but make sure you go on to analyse individual works in some detail.
You will need an A3 sketchbook for this new project. Either softback stapled @£3 (you might fill 2 of these) or hardback ringbound @£8 (one should do it).


Digital response to Jasper Johns (Huw Williams)
BTEC Extended Diploma 1st YEAR PROJECT BRIEF

PROJECT: ‘Alphasemble’, 
Specialist: Typography/Sculpture

Project Outline:
This project presents an opportunity to further develop your drawing, printing and mark-making skills, to come to a better understanding of colour and composition and to work in both controlled and expressive ways.  It also offers the opportunity to manipulate materials in the process of exploring 3 dimensional forms. 

This project is divided into two sections. The first requires you to work in your sketchbooks to explore 2-dimensional space, form & line, layered shapes, mark-making, surface quality, colour, composition & layout and to develop an awareness of good design and composition using letterforms and different typefaces as a starting point

The second requires you to interpret your 2 dimensional designs/ images into 3 dimensional forms using abstraction and to explore the language, techniques and materials of 3 -dimensional design (3DD) and sculpture.

In both sections you will study various artists in order to enhance your working practice and place the project into a relevant historical context.
Materials, equipment & resources

Pencil, fine-liner, biro, paint, pastel, collage, photo-shop, photocopy, acetate, food-dye, ink, bleach, spray paint, relief printing.
Card, paper, glue guns etc.

Artist Research: Jasper Johns, Frank Stella, David Carson, Michael Kenny, Michael Craig Martin, Frank Gehry, Naum Gabo, Philip King, Richard Deacon.

Resources:  Fonts - etc.  Modern Sculptors:

PART 1: Week 1

·     Start by choosing 5 or more different letters from your name. Begin to research into a variety of different type-faces and collect examples of these: Use websites, magazines, newspapers, computer fonts etc.
·     Using pencil/fine-liner/biro or pen & ink, experiment with the letterforms as compositional elements to produce several different designs/images.  Start by using the letter outline only and create several overlay examples (see Jasper Johns numbers).
·     Get out and see where you can see or create letterforms in the environment, record your discoveries through photography.
·     Next explore more ideas based on your selected typeface/letters by considering the following: changes of scale, symmetry & non symmetry, positive and negative shapes and close cropping so that only part of the letter form is visible.
·     Now start to play with some of this imagery by working into the negative and positive shapes with different types of mark making to create lively and interesting surface effects and a sense of depth and perspective. Your surfaces could be very expressive with an emphasis on fine art painting/ collage mark making etc or they could be more graphic.  Look at repetition and pattern, or combine both. An illusion of space can be created by considering the scale, weight and density of marks, and their relationship to areas of solid and void.
·     Produce research into Jasper Johns and either Michael Kenny, Michael Craig-Martin or David Carson. Your research should be presented carefully over several sketchbook pages, find images of the Artists work and analyse these alongside providing background information and visual responses for each Artist selected.

Week 2
·         Select the strongest of your drawings and start to introduce colour. You may work on the whole design or take a section and enlarge it.  Explore the use of the following colour mediums: paint, oil pastel, food dye & bleach and mixed media collage. You will be shown any new techniques as you progress.
·         Explore your compositions by devoting some time to cutting and printing a detailed gold-card relief print.
·         Now take the development further: photocopy some of your images onto paper and acetate; play with scale, inversion etc. Look at cutting away, layering and overlay to create collages. Scan some of your images into the computer and manipulate further using PhotoShop.

Part 2: Week 3

·  Select two or three of your strongest ideas/ designs. Start by identifying some of the formal elements of your images - i.e. both positive & negative shapes that represent the whole or parts of the letter forms you have been looking at.
·  Look at the work of Frank Stella and one other sculptor from David Smith, Eduardo Chillida, Naum Gabo and Richard Deacon produce research that analyses specific works by these sculptors and includes your own visual responses to their work.
·  Having looked at the work of Frank Stella use strong shapes from your drawings/designs cut-out, raise and interlock shapes to produce a ‘relief’ version of your image.
·  Begin exploring how to interpret these 2D images into 3D forms using twisted, torn and scored paper combining these with cardboard. You will also be expected to introduce colour and surface into your maquettes. As you progress you will probably need to sketch out some of your ideas in your sketchbook to help resolve ideas and problems.
·  You will need to carefully consider negative as well as positive space.  By the end of this week you should have at least one successfully resolved relief piece as well as 3D experiments that will help you to move onto the production of a final sculptural piece.
·  Take some dynamic photos of your maquettes using strong light and interesting viewpoints and angles. Include close up details as well as views of the entire piece.

Week 4

·         You are now expected to produce a final, well finished 3 dimensional piece that will demonstrate a refined application of the materials and techniques that you have experimented with in the previous week. You will need to pay special attention to scale, surface (colour and texture) and ensure that your final piece works well from all angles. This sculpture should be no larger than 40cm in any direction.
·         Ensure you obtain good photographs of your final piece and include these in your sketchbook. When taking these photos you should use a plain clean background and again consider lighting, viewpoint, details etc.
·         Complete a word-processed project evaluation (further guidance on this will be issued)

Minimum submission requirements:

·  1 x sketchbook packed with ideas, drawings, experimentation and that shows the development of your ideas.
·  Also in sketchbook: research into letterforms type-faces etc, relevant artist/sculptors etc. A series of photos of your maquettes and final 3D outcome.
·  Relief sculptural piece, plus any additional 3D experiments.
·  A final sculptural piece.
·  A word-processed evaluation.

Friday, 6 October 2017

TOOLS PART 2 - Evaluation Guidance and Submission Checklist

4.00pm MONDAY 9th OCTOBER.
    In your sketchbooks the following work should be present, please annotate your pages with some brief notes about the techniques you've employed, if you have additional experiments please include them:
    • At least 1 sustained pencil drawing of your tool completed from direct observation.
    • A series of thoughtfully lit and composed photographs of your tool, include thumbnails of your whole shoot and print the best shots at A5/A4 and put in sketchbook.
    • Other drawings of your tool in your sketchbook, these could be in pencil/biro/fineliner/stick and ink.
    • Carbon print/s.
    • At least 1 good monoprint.
    • One or more Gold Card plates cut and printed (present plates and prints in your book).
    • 2 images produced through creative use of the Photocopier - e.g. Inverts/Colour Overlays/Colour Conversions based on your existing drawings and prints.
    • Minimum of 2 good Food Dye and bleach pieces (working into photocopies of existing drawings/prints).
    • Several spray stencil experiments, layering and repeating your motif to create interesting compositions.
    • Heat Transfer experiments.
    • Research into Jim Dine and Florian Nicolle (see earlier post for details).
    • 2 Acetate Collages (at least one worked into with sewing machine).
    • 2 or more layered Photoshop developments of your work, scan existing pieces and combine them, consider addition of text. Print out and include.
    • Spray Paint Artist research (see earlier post for details).
    • 400-600 word, word processed evaluation (see guidance below).
    In order to pass this project, you will need to write a short evaluation.  This should clearly define the processes and techniques you have investigated, as well as outlining any high moments and low moments.
    •    Begin by giving a brief outline of the project – describing what you were being asked to do. Talk about why you selected your particular tool, what design and drawing opportunities did it offer you? What visual qualities appealed about your tool?  - mention specific shapes, colours, textures, surfaces, details etc.
    •    Talk through all the different processes you encountered, keeping it brief & informative, which were the most successful in your view, & how have your existing skills been extended in the process. Use the checklist of techniques above to ensure you cover everything.
    •     Talk about the artists you researched (Dine, Nicolle, Banksy etc.) why they were relevant and how you used what you learnt about them in your own work.
    •    Reflect on how you worked throughout the project, did you manage your time well? What things might you have improved upon? 

    Wednesday, 4 October 2017

    Spray Stencil Artist Research

    To complement the work you have done in class you need to find an Artist who creates works which involve spray stencils, and base your research on this individual. Present your research over a minimum of two pages and use the guidance to ensure you cover the right stuff in your written analysis. Some works by potential Artists to study are featured below:

    Bryce Chisholm


    Bernie Reid
    Dot Dot Dot


    1. Identify your Artist and include brief biographical details/background information.

    1. Find examples of artworks – get good colour copies, list dates, dimensions and media used.


    1. If you can find them, include quotations from the Artist. Try

    1. Give a detailed description of the artwork.

    1. Analyse – comment upon use of colour, composition, media, technique, scale etc.


    1. Give an opinion on the Artworks, but ensure you justify what you say. Avoid simple value judgements (‘I really like/dislike…’) or vague, meaningless statements (’This piece is really effective’). Comment upon how successful or unsuccessful you find the artwork, and give specific reasons why you hold this opinion (I find this image particularly successful due to the dynamic way in which the Artist has combined spray stencils with other media).

    1. What is the relationship between this work and your own? Identify and explain connections between this artist’s work and your own.


    1. It is important to also include your own visual responses to artists’ work. In this case your own spray stencil work can be presented as your response, you might consider making an image that combines your spray stencil with other media if the Artist you have selected does this.


    1. Take pride in the overall presentation of your research, it should not be rushed. Consider each element carefully:  type, layout, titles, visual responses etc.

    Friday, 29 September 2017

    Tools Part 2 - End of Week 1 Update

    We are coming to the end of the first week of the Tools Part 2, where we have been concentrating on working through a range of techniques. This weekend you should spend some time presenting and briefly annotating the work you have done so far in your sketchbooks.
    A checklist of what you should have for the project so far is included below:
    • Well presented research into Florian Nicolle (collages) and Jim Dine (tool drawings), thoughtfully presented over at least 4 sketchbook pages and including sensitive visual responses to each Artist.
    • A series of dramatic photos of a single hand tool - print out contact sheet thumbnails of your whole shoot and include some of your best images (4-6) printed at A5 or A4.
    • A well finished sustained piece of tonal drawing from your tool (full page).
    • One or more good carbon print images based on your tool photos.
    • Any quick sketches completed in class (not sure if both groups have done this).
    • 2 Acetate collages, at least one of these should be worked into with machine stitching.
    • 2 or more layered spray stencil experiments and developments from these using colour inversion on the copier.
    As extension work it would be good to add diversity to your drawing by experimenting with other media, e.g. expressive ink work, fine liner or biro sketches.

    Next week please bring £2.50 each as a contribution to materials for the project (the Spray Paints are the main specialist resource we need to fund), Thank You.

    Techniques we will aim to cover next week are: monoprinting, gold card printing, heat press and PhotoShop image manipulation.

    Friday, 22 September 2017

    Tools Interim Marking Checklist

    We are now at the midway point of the Tools project and are about to move onto a series of technique based experiments based upon a single tool.
    Remember you need your single, complex Tool Photos for Monday. You will also need a range of drawing pencils and an eraser.
    We are going to take in sketchbooks on Monday to give you an interim grade for the Tools project, as it is useful for you all to have an early indicator of how you are doing. We will give you grades for Effort, Process (sketchbook) and Outcome (studio work) and a short feedback comment, more detailed feedback will be given after the completion of the second part of the Tools project.
    The work you need to submit by 4pm on Monday is:

    • From the still life arrangement, a well finished chalk and charcoal A1 drawing (worked from a midtone base).
    • Also from the still life a limited palette A2 mixed media and painted piece. Again make sure this is well finished, use your own time if the class time dedicated to this hasn't been enough to fully resolve your image.
    In your sketchbook:

    • David Hockney Joiner research (see separate blogpost).
    • At least 2 of your own joiners based on the still life.
    • Homework tonal pencil drawing based on the still life, revisit these and push them further if you know there is room for improvement.
    • Gold card plate and prints from it mounted into your book.
    • Brief annotation of your joiners and prints explaining the processes you've undertaken to create these images.

    Thursday, 21 September 2017

    Tools Project - Supporting Research

    For homework you need to research the Artist's detailed below, refer back to the post below (on Hockney's Joiners, for tips on structuring the written content and presentation of research). You should complete this work by Wednesday 27th September at the latest.

    Two pages of research into the Tool drawings of Jim Dine and the same for the mixed media collage work of Florian Nicolle - find good reproductions of their work, give a brief bit of background information about each Artist, provide some analysis and personal opinion on at least 2 specific images by each of them and make at least one visual response of your own to each Artist's work (this should be an interpretation of YOUR TOOL in the style of each Artist, not just a copy of one of their images).

    Jim Dine
    Florian Nicolle 02 23 Peppy Illustrations Drawn By Florian Nicolle
    Florian Nicolle

    Tool Photography Homework

    For the Tool technique work you will be starting next week you will need a range of photographs of your Tool. 
    Choose your Tool thoughtfully, complex tools with moving parts work best e.g. Secateurs, Corkscrews, Tin Openers.
    Make your photos as dramatic and interesting as possible, use a clean background that doesn't distract from the Tool. Zoom in, choose unusual angles and consider cropping and viewpoint carefully. You should set up directional lighting (torch or anglepoise lamp) that allows you to create cast shadows and distinctive highlights.
    Take 15 - 20 shots and print 4 - 6 of the best at A4 or A5 scale. 
    Ensure you have the photos printed and ready to work from on Monday 25th September.
    Here are a few sample shots to give you the idea:

    Tools Project Part II


    PROJECT– Tool Part 2

    TIME: 2 Weeks
    MATERIALS: Mixed Media
    RESOURCES: sewing machines, drawing materials, spray paints, printing press and photocopier/IT.

    This project aims to familiarise you with a range of new techniques that can be used to develop your imagery throughout the Course.
    Using a basic hand-tool as your starting point, you are required to produce a body of work, which represents your object in a number of different ways. We will build on drawing and printmaking skills and explore processes such as Collage, Spray Stencil, Heat Press, Photography and PhotoShop.

    • Having selected an appropriate hand-tool (this should be an object which has a number of different working parts, textures, different materials in it’s construction, interesting negative shapes and strong structural elements). A mechanical hand whisk, hand drill or ‘lazy-fish’ corkscrew would all be good choices - you should begin by carefully examining and scrutinizing your object through sustained drawing; visually recording its basic construction and trying to understand exactly how it works and what it is used for.
    • In order to get a real feel for your object you should produce a range of studies in a sketchbook, initially in pencil, which are the product of some careful observation and strive to record the different surfaces and textures that your object might possess as effectively as possible. Try to use relevant pencil grades and mark making in this process – for example, plastic handles might be better tackled with a softer B pencil, whereas metal blades would be more realistically documented through harder F/H pencils. Vary your scale and vantage point for each drawing, this will allow you to produce a good range of outcomes and also help you to produce the best images for the technique work that comes later on. At this stage you should also look at a range of artists who are particularly well known for their use of drawing as a means of recording an object. In order to do this properly, you should include visual responses and coherent written analysis which considers their use of mark making technique, exploration of line and tone how successful these are and how you might adopt the same methods yourselves. Good people to look at include Jim Dine and Peter Randall Page.
    • Using your camera to record your object will also allow you to develop some interesting imagery which could be manipulated through IT later on. Take close-ups as well as long shots.
    • Once you are happy with your initial studies, start to introduce some more adventurous and unusual drawing techniques/materials. Consider colour and some more expressive ways of recording what you see in front of you.
    • You will be introduced to a number of new processes (printmaking and spray stencil for instance) and you will need to include examples of these in your sketchbook.  
    • As the project progresses you will be encouraged to explore techniques such as photocopying, collage and stitching to create further imagery. Again, record all outcomes in your sketchbooks together with examples of the work of others who use such techniques in their own work, details of suggested research will be posted on the Blog.
    1 x sketchbook

    Use the library and the internet in order to source this information – this will help to develop your individual research skills and vary the research material obtained. Lists of appropriate individuals may be given at certain points of the project to help you.

    Thursday, 14 September 2017

    Homework Drawing Task

    To complement the work we are doing in class you should make a sustained full page pencil tonal drawing working from photos taken of the still life arrangement. You should aim to spend 4-5 hours on this drawing and complete it by Wednesday 20th September (it will be assessed as part of your project).
    Select a good photographic image that is relatively complex (probably best to get something from a different viewpoint than your chalk and charcoal drawing). Set your composition out carefully with a B/HB pencil in line then add a range of tones using softer pencils (2B - 6B), make sure your darkest tones use the full depth of tone you can achieve (press hard).
    This should be a sustained piece that shows off your drawing ability to the full, you might use a rubber to help you pick out the highlights.

    Photographic Joiners

    Don't forget to bring cameras/cameraphones/card readers/download cables in with you today (Thurs. 14th September).
    You will also need to ensure you have some printing credit (or bring money to put some on your student card).

    A few tips for when you do your photo joiners:
    • It helps to take your photos all from approximately the same position. Move the camera to capture different sections, rather than wandering around - otherwise you may end up with a set of very disjointed images.
    • Whilst you are going for a fragmented look if you vary the zoom or viewpoint too much the whole thing quickly becomes incoherent.
    • You will be surprised at how many photos you need to make an effective joiner, as there is inevitably some that aren't useful - I'd suggest a minimum of 30 shots.
    • I found when working at A3 scale (for final joiner collages) that selecting the "Wallet Prints" option from the printer wizard was the most effective - this gives you 9 images on an A4 printed page. 

    Monday, 11 September 2017

    Hockney Joiner Research

    Photo Joiner by Hockney - Portrait of his Mother
    Later this week we will be undertaking some photographic collage work to prepare for this you need to undertake some research. You need to find and print out at least 4 examples of David Hockney’s “Photographic Joiners”. Research this aspect of his work and analyse at least 2 of the images you have found in depth. This work should be thoughtfully presented over at least 2 sketchbook pages.
    The work will be assessed as part of your project submission, you need to finish it by Monday 18th September, as there will be fresh homework tasks next week.


    1. Title your pages with the Artist’s name, in this case David Hockney, you might consider using fonts available online from sites such as

    2. Find good examples of Hockney’s photographic joiners – not paintings and not tiny jpegs that print out pixellated.

    3. Give a little background information on the Artist, when he was born, when he started to make his photographic collages and why.

    4. Include quotations from the David Hockney (ideally that relate to his photographic work). Try


    1. Give a detailed description of the artwork.

    2. Analyse – comment upon use of colour, composition, technique/media, scale etc.


    1. Give an opinion on the Artworks, but ensure you justify what you say. Avoid simple value judgements (‘I really like/dislike…’) or vague, meaningless statements (’This piece is really effective’). Comment upon how successful or unsuccessful you find the artwork, and give specific reasons why you hold this opinion (I find this joiner particularly interesting because of the way in which the Hockney has explored mixing up different scales and viewpoints).

    2. What is the relationship between this work and your own? Identify and explain connections between this artist’s work and your own.


    1. We will be responding to Hockney’s work by producing our own Joiners based on the still life arrangement, look at how Hockney makes his images to help you create your own.


    1. Take pride in the overall presentation of your research, it should not be rushed. Consider each element carefully:  type, layout, titles, visual responses etc.

    Friday, 8 September 2017

    Welcome BTEC Class of 2017

    Art BTEC First Year teaching staff - Gayle, Ivan & Charmian

    Hi Everyone,
                      I hope you are all feeling excited about starting the Art BTEC at Alton on Monday. A few nerves are to be expected too, but we'll do our best to make you feel right at home from day one.
    On our first day we will be starting some practical work, we'll be using charcoal and it could get messy, so don't wear clothes you feel too precious about (good to avoid delicate or light coloured garments).
    Both first year groups will meet in Room 855 at 10am to start the day and distribute timetables. Later, when we start work we'll also be using studio 815, these two rooms will be the first year base rooms throughout the year.
    Useful things to bring on day one are :

    • A chunky eraser (or 25p to purchase one from us).
    • £3 for a sketchbook for your first project.
    Paper, chalk and charcoal will be supplied.

    Teaching staff for the first year BTEC this year are Gayle, Charmian and myself (Ivan) you'll meet us all on the first day. I will be the Tutor for both first year groups.

    I hope you've all had a fantastic Summer and are now raring to make a flying start to your new venture here at Alton. Looking forward to seeing you all on Monday,


    1st Project - TOOLS (Part 1)

    BTEC Extended Diploma 1ST YEAR PROJECT

    Jim Dine

    Anna Held Audette - Scrap Metal

    PROJECT:  Tools (Part 1).
    SPECIALISM:  Fine Art.

    Working from direct observation we will be exploring a variety of media and approaches to image making. Our visual reference material will be a structural still life featuring Tools and other objects. We will start with some large scale sustained observational drawing, as we move through the project our focus will shift towards more expressive techniques. Over the course of the project we will use various drawing media, photography, paint and collage techniques. We will enrich our understanding of how Artists approach observational work through sketchbook based research.

    Week 1: Observational Drawing/photomontage:
    We will be producing a sustained observational drawing using Chalk and Charcoal on an A1 scale. Alongside this we will be undertaking some photography and creating some David Hockney style photographic "joiner" collages.

    Some Pointers for your Observational drawing:

    • Think carefully about your composition, how much of the still life arrangement should you include to achieve the most visually stimulating image? Don't go for an easy option, challenge yourself
    • Look hard at what you are drawing, you should visually analyse shapes and tones and carefully observe how they relate to each other.
    • Start by mapping out your composition in line, then start adding tone. Often it is easiest to start the tonal work by identifying the extremes of light and dark, ensure you establish these tones boldly, then start looking at the subtleties of tone in between.
    • Use the charcoal and chalk with confidence, you need to approach your piece with energy and enthusiasm, don’t be afraid of making mistakes. 
    • Look around you and learn from the approaches of other people in the group.
    Week 2: Expressive Approaches
    In the second week of the project we will explore further media and approaches to image making, working quickly to produce a range of pieces. We will aim to use ink, paint and collage to produce these images. Further guidance will be given as we tackle these pieces.

    You will be marked on how effectively you:

    •      Demonstrate confidence and skill in handling media.
    •   Show willingness to experiment and embrace new approaches enthusiastically.
    •      Select and resolve compositions.
    •      Observe and record.

    For Photography: David Hockney.
    For Still Life/Tools: Jim Dine, Chaim Soutine, Euan Uglow, Anna Held Audette.