Portfolio Advice

If you’re looking to study an A Level in a visual arts subject, but do not have a grade 5 or above in an art-related GCSE subject, we will ask to see a portfolio of your work. Here you’ll find guidance and advice to help you build your digital portfolio.

For your digital portfolio, we would like you to produce a mini project where you develop and explore ideas and work towards a final resolve. You should use the points below to guide you. Please ensure you have this available for your online enrolment appointment.

  1. Begin a Google Slides document (this will act as a digital sketchbook) and select one of the following themes: 
    • My Neighbourhood
    • Journeys 
    • Family
    • Still Life
  • The first page/slide should explore this theme in a mind map, e.g. for family, your mind map would have the word ‘family’ in the centre, and ideas sparked by this word around the centre
    • Think about what this starting point means to you, synonyms of the starting point, references associated with this starting point (artists/designers – for example)
  • Take a series of photographs exploring ideas from your mind map – you should aim to take 20 images
  • Select six of your most successful images from your series and put these into your digital sketchbook
  • Annotate your images to explain why you chose these images
    • What is the image of?
    • Why did you capture this image?
    • What was your thinking behind it?
    • How does it relate to your starting point? 
  • Produce some drawings from the imagery that you have captured – you can use a medium of your choice (pencil, pen, charcoal, watercolour, paint etc.) and work in any appropriate style
  • Visit an online gallery/exhibition (such as Tate ModernThe Photographer’s GalleryAutograph) and choose 2-3 images that you are inspired by and link to your theme. Put these images in your slides and annotate (thinking about the following):
    • What is the image of?
    • Who is the image by?
    • Why are you drawn to this particular image?
    • How does it relate to your starting point? 
  • Reflect on the work you have produced so far (photography and drawings). Think about how you can use these to work towards a resolved piece. You might create a further photoshoot, produce a drawing/painting, and develop photography to spark new ideas – there are no set requirements for this – we are keen to see how you develop ideas and your confidence with art and design materials 
  • Include your outcome in your digital sketchbook and annotate:
    • What have you produced?
    • Why have you used this chosen medium (does it relate to the starting point at all)?
    • How does your resolved outcome relate to your starting point? 
    • Is your resolved piece inspired by the work of another (i.e. an artist/designer)
    • What might you do next if you were to continue this project?
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