Thursday, 21 May 2015

BTEC and Foundation Video

A short video we put together (big thanks to former student Jade Evans for her work on this). The video gives a quick taster of work (and life) on the Art Foundation and BTEC Extended Diploma Courses at Alton. In it you will see a diverse range of work: Graphics, Photography, Fashion, Illustration, Fine Art, Animation, 3D Design, Textiles ...all areas you can specialise in on our courses.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Life Cycles. Update and Study Leave Work

For the 8th June Bring in digital cameras, sketchbooks with completed study leave work, money for film and lots of objects to do with your life cycle for studio photography. Film is £4.00 and A6 pack of photo paper 100 is £10 (best to club together in 4s to buy this, you might also invest in some A4 photo paper @ 50p a sheet).
See the brief for full details of the study leave work (previous post), in short you should have completed:

College Work
  • Mindmaps and sketchbook imagery moodboards for your chosen life cycle.
  • First Photoshoot.
  • Drawings directly from objects associated with your lifecycle or from your photographs, at least one good sustained full page piece plus additional drawings exploring media, technique and different working timespans.
  • Gold Card print/s based on your imagery to date and one or more monoprints.

Study Leave Tasks
  • An additional photoshoot.
  • Research and analysis into 2 well designed existing leaflets.
  • Artist research – look at one Artist from each of the 8 lists, gather imagery and information and answer the questions in the brief for all 8 of them.
  • Choose 2 Artists from your research to base visual work on. Produce at least 4 of your own images in the style of these 2 Artists (2 for each), these responses should be based on YOUR OWN photographs – not just direct copies of existing works by the Artists you have selected.

Friday, 8 May 2015

LIFE CYCLES (Graphic Design) Brief

Unit 23: Photography Media, Techniques and Technology
Unit 30: Location Photography
You will experience the area of Graphic Design, how to mindmap , develop slogans, captions and take these through to a concept. This project requires you use photography and create your own inventively manipulated imagery.  It encourages you to explore different visual language within Art & Design i.e. the difference between abstract figuration, collage and photomontage. 
TIME:       6.5 weeks taught time plus 3 weeks of study leave including half term.  
Project begins :       Tuesday 5 May – Friday  15th May (1.5  wks)
Study Leave :                   Monday 18 May – Monday 8 June ( 1wk study leave, 1 wk of half term and a further week of study leave)
Lessons return :  Monday 8 June. Bring completed study leave work to  Rm 522  for photography workshops using life cycles imagery.   This week you will have workshop lessons in photography giving you introductions into studio  showing you film processing, dark room and experimental working including photogrammes and sandwich prints.  :
MONDAY 8TH – Introduction to Studios .  Bring in digital cameras, sketchbooks,  money for film and  3 objects to do with your life cycle .   Film is £4.00 and A6 pack of photo paper 100 is £10. You can share this to make things cheaper but you will need to have some money available this week to be able to do these activities.
TUESDAY 9TH – Take photos
WEDNESDAY 10TH – Film processing
Thursday 11thDark room, working with negatives and experimenting in darkroom
Friday 12thDitto
Normal Timetable resumes : Monday 15 June – Wednesday 8  July ( 3.5 weeks).  You will be based in either 861/3 or 522 in photography.
·         Life cycles project to be completed 3 summative units covered.
·         Visit to New Designers to be confirmed unit 5 summative unit
·         Personal statement, UCAS applications and holiday work- Design diary summative unit 5, set in last few days.
·         College breaks up Wednesday 8 July.
On the theme of ‘life cycles’ you are to produce a 6 sided leaflet on 1 stage in life (see list). Within the leaflet you will need to follow a grid format that will form part of your leaflet. You will use workshops within lessons to explore a wide variety of techniques and processes.
  • Week 1.5 weeks before study leave-  Mindmapping,  research, development of concepts, photography shoots, drawing, workshop techniques       
  • Study leave a further location shoot , research and  specific workshop techniques working from your photographs .
  • On your return 3.5 weeks developing producing mock ups, and resolving the leaflet, evaluation
You will need to pay a nominal amount towards specialist materials such as spray paint etc
Workshops in expressive and controlled drawing some of these during study leave:
·         printmaking - monoprints, gold card, letterpress            
·         photography –  2 good shoots working within your theme, using dramatic lighting and extreme viewpoints.  You must use locations photography and studio based experimentation

·         sewing machine
·         acetate collage
·         spraypaint stencils
·         collage
·         image transfer with emulsion
·         photomontage
·         food colouring/ink and bleach
·         pencil/biro drawing
·         hand rendered slogans and sayings

LIFE CYCLES to choose from:

Teenager                               Midlife Crisis
Love                                       Retirement
Marriage                                Death




Weeks 1/2


  1. Produce at least 1 page of  initial brainstorming for at least  2 of the  life cycles


2.      Choose 1 to explore  in much more depth  and produce ( 6 pages ) . This should include:  mindmapping, word association, mood boards, photographs, photocopies of objects, magazine cuttings, extracts from poems, slogans, observational drawings etc.  Write down everything to do with an idea not just a single word but everything to do with that theme:  e.g. marriage could be brainstormed in the following way:  - an American Las Vegas styled marriage. 


Brainstorm: Las Vegas , the chapel of love, Elvis impersonator, side burns, 1 armed bandits, double your money, everyone a winner , poker, lots of tack gold, American flag, dollars signs, Stretch Limousine Cadillacs, wedding lyrics, four weddings and a funeral, white veil, Elvis white jumpsuit, renting a witness, best man, lady in waiting lyrics from songs about getting married, honeymoon suites, the film ‘Leaving Las Vegas’ and famous sayings from this.  All of these words could be visualised in varying imgery, textures, found objects and marks – make yours as exciting as possible!


When considering what to put down, try to avoid the ‘cut and paste’ syndrome of putting anything down and it looking obvious.  Try rather to select carefully and treat images by using processes to make more subtle statements.  Arrange your elements carefully before sticking and attaching these.


  1. Come up with a definite ‘concept’.  A concept is a strong idea that follows a particular slant on atheme and that could be interpreted in many ways, i.e. different ways to get married to might  be :- a tacky wedding ceremony  in  Las Vegas, an extreme parachuting/ bungee jumping experience or  ‘my big fat gypsy wedding’ .


  1. Begin to generate ideas for a photo-shoot by producing planning  storyboards showing extreme viewpoints - close ups, low angle, high angle, things in and out focus, shadows, lighting, action and movement.  Make it achievable for yourself by using friends and family easily  available in locations that you can return to if necessary. This is needed in the first week – do not hang around take photos really quickly! Produce at least 1 strong  photo shoot of 10 images using specific locations, considering light, props and camera angle.. Translate these images in class and at home.


  1. Select apt slogans to work with to relate to your life cycle and begin experimenting with techniques to enrich your work.   Begin to develop layouts, thumbnail sketches, using text along with image . Develop positive or negative slogans to accompany your images [brainstorm ideas in groups and on an individual basis]. 




  1. Research 2 well designed leaflets.  Photograph or stick in, or print off examples of creative leaflets you can find.  Look in the student union, music shops, retail shops to find examples of good layout. Annotate and answer the following:


  • How does information flow from one panel to the next?
  • How is colour, text and image unified?  Comment on the layout
  • Is there a regular position/scale/ for the text on the page?
  • How is the type face integrated or contrasted with the other imagery?
  • How is the front and back cover connected?
  • How many images are used?
  • What is the tone of the the message? ie fun and feel good, shocking and serious etc
  • Can you explain how ideas and images have they been cleverly put together?




Look at one artist or designer from each of the 8 lists.  Collect information on each and analyse their work.  Answer the following questions:

  1. How have they composed their imagery?
  2. What media have they used?
  3. What processes and techniques have been included and what do you think about them?
  4. What mood, idea or concept does it reflect?
  5. Do you think the work is successful?  Why?
  6. What style would you say this work reflects?
  7. What makes this work interesting?
  8. Work in the style of  2 of these artists/designers and produce 2  images that reflect their work using some of your own photos.

9.      Have a look at and look at the handmade fonts. Make your own homemade font and photograph each letter separately using found objects or materials on white paper. Make it appropriate to your idea and use materials that are fitting to your theme ie an addiction theme for  teenagers may be made up from cigarette butts.




1.  Abstract Imagery
      Jean Michal Basquiat, John Hoyland,
       Howard Hodgekin, Sean Scully,
       Franz Kline, De Kooning, Jackson
2.   Representational  Drawing
       David Hockney,
      Jenny Saville, Egon Schiele, THS,
Kelly Roper, Tim Tomkinson, David Foldvari
3.   Collage
      Kurt Schwitters, , Katy Lemay
      Eduardo Recife, Sara Fanelli
       Dawn Dupree, Tim Marrs, Alex
4.   Photography.
      Bill Brant, Bill Viola, Martin Parr,
Cindy Sherman, Corrine Day, Olivero Toscani,  Mario Testino, Nick Maplin, Robert Mapplethorpe
5.  Pop Art
     Richard Hamilton, Peter Blake,
     Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenburg,      Andy Warhol, Roy Lichenstein
6.  Linear Drawing
     Keith Haring, Michael Craig-Martin,
     Cy Twombly, Jasper Johns,
     Neasden Control Centre
7.  Photomontage
     Eduardo Paolozzi, John Heartfield, Raoul Haussmann, Helen Chadwick, David Mach, Terry Gillam
8.  Text
     David Carson, Fuel, Vince Frost,
      Why Not Associates, Tomarto, Neville
      Brody, Barbra Krugar, Tom Hingston,
Designers Republic

N.B before Study Leave you will be expected to clear out your drawers and take all work home. by Friday 16 May  Be warned anything left in drawers will be thrown!


On your return on Monday 8th  June  you will be assessed at this time to see if you have enough work to pass this stage to date on this project.  You will be working in photography learning some techniques and processes.  .:


Weeks 3, 4 and 5, :


6.      Continue to develop ideas within workshop sessions.  Aim to have a considerable amount of experimental ideas. 


7.      Having developed your images begin to consider the format. You are to include a grid for one of your panels within the leaflet.The size of your Leaflet should be 28 x 14cms.  Within each Leaflet you should produce 1 page that is equally divided into 8 sections [each section is 7 x 7cms] This can be on any of the sides.It could be that the Leaflet is unfolded to reveal a central page or be any other of the panels  Other panels can be developed as you wish but must look appropriate to the 8 grid section.  For each of the boxes you should show a developed image using the following in any order:

·         Abstract:

An image showing a section, portion or heavily cropped image that has been developed using paint\expressive mark making.


·     Representational:

An image taken from observation or a photograph that resembles an object or figure.


·         Linear:

An image using line only but can involve colour and surface additionally.


·         Collage:

An image using found materials newspapers, magazines, fabrics, metals etc.


·         Pop Art:

An image which uses symbols, signs and other well understood images within our culture i.e. male ♂ and female ♀ symbols, x and y chromosomes, kisses xxx, targets, +,  =  signs  → ?     £    $,  icons of popular culture, film stars, pop stars, images of consumerism e.g. packaging labels, advertising, domestic appliances.


·         Photographic:

This includes photogrammes, location shots, studio set ups, black and white, colour, digital photography experiments with Polaroids.


·         Photomontage:

Collage using photographic imagery cut and pasted together.  Humorous or satirical images e.g. Monty Python’s Meaning of Life.


·         Text:

An image made up entirely from layered text using provocative statements, information, famous sayings, a line from a poem, personal important diary entry dates etc.  Your message should be clear and emphatic and come from your life cycle.


8.      Produce at least 2 mock-ups for your leaflet.  These should show scanned in print outs  showing sections, details, heavily cropped areas of interest etc.

9.       Cut your paper to scale  and start to draw onto this with the  6 sides with possible imagery that could be used.  Begin to consider how your leaflet will fold and complement its sides.  Imagery and text may flow, connect, contrast or complement colours and patterns.  Essentially you should try to create a compositional balance from one panel to the next. 


10.  Before you start printing, make sure you are completely happy with your outcome.  Let a tutor see your rough colour print outs before you print finally and make sure your sides fit together smoothly.


11.   Have a clean pristine area to stick your finals together - take your time.  Card should be used to sandwich between your print out.  Aim to have images stuck down on card on both sides.  These must be lined up accurately before you attempt to cut through all three layers. Areas to bend should be scored very carefully.  DO NOT USE PVA or Pritt Stick  use double-sided tape or photo mount.




A full sketchbook.  The following should be inside:

§  1 page  each of mindmapping for  2 life cycles .

§  6 pages  on 1 life cycle in more depth-  mindmapping and mood boards ,

§   8 pages of research on artists’ work with annotations and questions answered by the side

§  1 response to 2 of these artists

§  2 leaflets with  research answering questions.

§  25 pages of research, development and resolvement on your chosen life cycle. These pages should show logical development and differing ways of presenting layouts for your leaflets - i.e. mock ups, varying images together, differing captions etc.  This sketchbook should be highly annotated

§  1 final leaflet based on your chosen life cycle

§  2, 800 word evaluations – one evaluating photography sessions and one summerising the whole  design process, techniques, artist research, development and experimentation


QUESTIONS FOR STUDENTS TO ANSWER ABOUT PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIQUES WITHIN 800 WORD EVALUATION .  Sketchbooks must be heavily annotated with evidence of experiments and try outs. 


  1. What photographic paper have you used? – inkjet, photo sensitive etc
  2. What is light sensitive paper?
  3. What is the point of using test strips within the darkroom?
  4. Can you give an example of this within your book?
  5. What different film types are there?
  6. What different film speeds are there and how  can you use these to gain differing affects?  -  shutter speed, aperture, filters
  7. Explain how this affects a picture and when you might use them?
  8. What digital manipulation could you do to change your photographs and what ‘manual’ manipulation have you explored that can produce experimental effects?  What is the difference between these processes?
  9. What health and safety issues do you need to be careful of when working within the photo labs? What chemicals are hazardous in the darkroom?
  10. What do you need to be careful of when working in the studio?
  11. When would it be appropriate to use flash on your camera and when not for your photographs?
  12. How might you use photoshop to mimic the cross process process?


  1. What experimental effects can you create in the darkroom? Consider photograms paper negatives? please show examples


  1. Evaluate how sucessful you feel your experiments have been this week.  What have you learnt about the use of :


                    studio- light, angle shots, props

                    film processing, handling of manuel cameras


                    photo editing


  1. Which ways of working do you prefer to work  with  and why?

Use the following terminology with ref to the above questions



Photographic materials: eg light sources (artificial, natural), cameras (digital, film-based), lenses (wide angle,

telephoto, zoom, close-up), film (black and white, colour, negative, positive), photographic paper, printers

(inkjet, dye sublimation), printing paper, processing chemicals, toning chemicals, dyes, inks, photo-finishing

media, image handling software, computers, output devices, printers

Photographic processes: eg image capture, recording, image manipulation, editing, capturing movement,

focusing, depth of field, calculating exposures, film processing, digital input, output, darkroom techniques,

organising, storing, backing up, retrieving, photo finishing, image transfer


Friday, 1 May 2015

Illustration Check List

  • Initial research (Roald Dahl, Quentin Blake, Film Adaptations of Dahl's work)
  • At least 3 pages of storyboarding for your photoshoots with notes.
  • Research into existing storyboards (e.g. Josh Sheppard).
  • At least 2 successful photoshoots (one studio & one location based)            
  • Research into one or more photographers, ideally choose ones whose work is both narrative and has elements of fantasy. e.g. Annie Liebovitz, Ruven Afanador.
  • Sustained drawings in pencil and pen.
  • A good carbon print.
  • Expressive Drawings.
  • Research into 2 illustrators (focus on illustrators whose work centres on drawing, make sure you include one pre-1950 Artist, e.g. Arthur Rackham). Compare work from different eras.
  • Printing work - at least one good example of monoprinting, gold card and monotype.
  • At least 3 mixed media Collages.
  • Research into 2 mixed media collage Artists, for instance Eduardo Recife, Joseph Cornell, Ben Allen, Graziano Nazario, Tim Marrs, Martin O'Neill (not the football manager Piers).
  • Photoshop and text overlay developments of your Collages.
  • Expressive card chip paintings on board.
  • Clear annotated planning for your final board with at least 3 proposals explored and illustrated in sketch diagram form.
  • A well resolved final 1m x 1m board. This should integrate between 12 and 25 of your illustrations/photos, try to represent a wide range of the techniques we covered.
  • Good (well lit and composed) photos of your final board - get both the full board and a series of details.
  • Illustration Evaluation

    To accompany your project submission you need to complete a word processed evaluation of at least 500 words, illustrating your evaluation with photographs is helpful, particularly images of your final board. Discuss anything you feel was relevant to your work in the project, but ensure you cover the following areas:
    Starting out:
    ·        What Roald Dahl story did you choose to work with? What appealed about this particular narrative, which images and scenes captured your imagination?
    ·        Who did you look at in your initial research (into storyboarding and existing responses to Dahl’s work), did these responses appeal to you and help you to develop ideas for your own photoshoot?
    ·        How successful were your storyboards? Did they allow you to compose shots to photograph, make you aware of potential problems, help you to identify the locations/props/models you would need?
    Your Photoshoots:
    ·        Describe how you went about your photoshoots. What lengths did you go to in order to source props/models/locations/make up.
    ·        In your photoshoots how did you employ lighting, camera angle, composition, gesture and expression to achieve dramatic results.
    ·        Do you feel your photoshoots were successful? Are there any aspects of your shoots you would do differently if you had the chance to do it again?
    ·        Which photographer/s work did you research? Did their work appeal to you? Explain why you liked or disliked their imagery. Was this research helpful in terms of how to approach this part of the project? If the Photographers influenced you in any way explain what that was.
    Drawing and Printing:
    ·        What drawing techniques did you employ when responding to your photos, do you consider your drawings successful?
    ·        Which Illustrators who focus on drawing did you research? Did their work appeal to you or help you with your own images, how?
    ·        How successful were your prints, are there ways in which you could achieve even better prints in future?
    Mixed Media and Photoshop:
    ·        What techniques and imagery did you use in your collaged illustrations? Do you feel your mixed media images were successful?
    ·        Which Illustrators who use a mixed media approach did you research? Did their work appeal to you or help you with your own images, how?
    ·        Did you develop your work through PhotoShop? Did you integrate text into your work in any way? Are you pleased with your PhotoShop images, why?
    Your Final Board:
    ·        Was your planning for the final board helpful? Did you stick to your original plan closely?
    ·        How did you select imagery for your final board? Did you need to produce imagery specifically for the board or adjust existing images?
    ·        Describe how you chose to lay out your final board. Apart from your images what else did you choose to include?
    ·        Did you encounter any problems resolving your board? How did you overcome these challenges?
    ·        Are you pleased with your project outcome? Explain why and/or what you could do to improve it?
    The Project:
    ·        How do you feel you managed your time throughout the project, did you push yourself?
    ·        Identify two skills you have acquired or improved upon during this project.
    ·        Identify two areas you could improve upon in future projects.

    Include a printed version of your evaluation in your sketchbook and submit with the rest of your work.