ART BTEC 2015 intake!

ART BTEC 2015 intake!

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).

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.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

New 1st Year BTEC - Getting Ahead Work

Welcome to the BTEC at Alton and welcome to the Blog - your go to reference for all Course related stuff.

We want you to enjoy your Summer, but it would be great if that included some Cultural enrichment, so how about:

Soaking up some Culture and getting enthused by visiting exhibitions and galleries in London. Have a great day out and visit some of these:

Julian Merrow-Smith - Self Portrait

BP Portrait Award 2017 22 June – 24 September 2017Admission Free
Selected from 2,580 entries by artists from 87 countries around the world, the BP Portrait Award 2017 represents the very best in contemporary portrait painting.

Alberto Giacometti 10 May – 10 September 2017
Admission £16.50 (under 18s)
Admission to the permanent collection is free.
Celebrated as a sculptor, painter and draughtsman, Giacometti’s distinctive elongated figures are some of the most instantly recognisable works of modern art.

Grayson Perry 8 June – 10 September 2017
Admission Free
Grayson Perry, one of the most astute commentators on contemporary society, presents a major exhibition of new work. The works touch on many themes including popularity, masculinity and the current cultural landscape.

From Selfie to Self-Expression 31 March - 23 July 2017
Admission Free
This is the world’s first exhibition exploring the history of the selfie from the old masters to the present day, and celebrates the truly creative potential of a form of expression often derided for its inanity. 

If you really can’t get up to London…

Then do something else to extend your knowledge of contemporary Art:
Contribute: If you produce a fantastic creative piece of your own over the Summer, then photograph it and use the #iamartataltoncollege to add it to our Instagram page 

Deadline: Ensure you’ve Read, Watched, Visited or Contributed something before term starts on 11th September, even better do all four!

Friday, 14 July 2017

Check Your Insight and College Email

Please ensure you all check both your College email account (for important Personal Statement guidance) and your Insight notes (here you will find all your Unit grades have been added and any instructions about additional work required over the Summer).

Thanks, have a great Summer and see you all back here in September!

Ivan 😊

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Life Cycles Evaluation

It's a visual pun, OK!
This evaluation is specific to the Units we are assessing for this project, so please read and follow the guidance carefully. You should answer questions in depth. You must use thumbnail sketches, diagrams or scanned imagery to make your points clearer. Evaluation should be a minimum of 800 words long, word-processed and checked for spelling with images to make your points clear.


Pick 2 of your graphic images that you feel are important within your leaflet and evaluate them in minimum of 800 words:
1. Describe the two pieces, why you think these are the most successful and how have you included these graphic images within the design of your leaflet? ie you could have translated a photographic image into a tonal drawing and combined this with collage to make a contemporary feel that expresses something about your lifecycle. Describe in depth what you have done to create your graphic images and show images to explain your actions.
2. What symbols have you used within your graphic images on any parts of the leaflet or within the earlier parts of the sketchbook and what do you want your leaflet to express?
3. Discuss the development of your ideas within this project and the place of brainstorming, mood boards, diagrams, cutting up magazines or using found imagery within your graphic images you created. How did your ideas develop in varying ways?
4. What graphic techniques have you used to create a certain ‘tone’ within your work and why is this relevant to your theme? ie scratchy writing to suggest anger or teenage angst or soft vintage filters on photoshop to suggest time and marriage past. How successful do you think these graphic effects are within your work , why?
5. How have you edited your images to fit the format of the leaflet, what did you do to these? Write in detail describing your editing within Photoshop, Adobe Bridge, cropping, saturation, tone, contrast, brightness, clone tools etc.
6. Which designers have helped you to create a graphic style, and how can you describe the style you have adopted? ie you could use words such as surreal, distressed, montage, chaotic, simplified etc
7. What message does this leaflet make about your life cycle? What do you want the viewer to think when they see these images - a feeling for the moment, a sense of nostalgia, atmosphere, poignant reflection.
8. How has text appeared on your leaflet? What font have you chosen and what feel have you tried to communicate?
9. Of the differing approaches to image making that you were asked to explore, which final images do you think are the most successful and why? Discuss each approach in turn. Consider mentioning things such as formal elements, aesthetics, the use of tactile qualities, markmaking, simplicity, linear effects, layout, experimental use of media.
10. How would you resolve, modify or change the final piece of work you have produced if you had a further 5 weeks of study. Do you think you have used your time wisely within this project? How have you used lessons, private study times and have you stuck to the interim homework deadlines?


1. Explain what you understand by the term location photography, what do kinds of photography do you think this covers?
2. What photographic equipment did you use to capture your photographs? Please detail this and the settings you used on your camera/phone.?
3. Who did you look at for this project and how did their work impact upon your ideas? Please be specific ie discuss elements of atmosphere, composition or concept that helped your work.
4. How do your photographs relate to 3 location photographer’s work? Compare one of your own photographs on location in contrast to a practitioners’ work . What kind of organisation of people and places have you had to do to arrange for your shoots to take place? Discuss intention of location, composition, lighting, shutter speed, filters, and any other production techniques, use of dark room or digital, editing that you used to modify or enhance your image?

5. Which 3 best photographs did you create on location and how did you produce these? If they were digital, can you discuss editing you did . If they were produced in the dark room please discuss the production of these with reference to how you did it. What have you done to edit these including programs you have used to do this. ie Photoshop and Adobe Bridge, use of hard drives and memory sticks, One drive etc

Monday, 26 June 2017

New Designers Work





This project is part 2 of the work to cover unit 5 and in addition to your first year essay and the review of our art exhibition will cover the criteria required for this. The Design Diary is an ongoing resource  that can be added to at a later date and something that will be taken to interview to show you are aware of the history and the context  of your specialist area.


Ø   From your visit to New Designers pick 4 artists or designers from your chosen specialist area that you feel  you are strongly drawn to. At least one of these should be from the ‘One year on’ room which is practitioners who have been out a year already.

Ø   Answer the questions 1-9.  Present this written work within your design diary.  Produce 15 A4 pages showing a coherent analysis of this work.  Inventively present this using photographs, postcards and other information Comments should be in as much detail as possible and have the analysis and evaluation of an essay.

Ø  Make your own responses to this work within 2 responses to each artist/designer- 8 in all.  Spend time on these trying to create these to look as professional as possible.  Use manual or digital ways of working to respond. 

1.      Try to answer the following  questions.  If you cannot find out the answers to these easily try being creative, try emailing the artist/ institution that represents them or using face book, or following a blog/website for info  to discuss etc to gain information on them. 

2.       What is their work like?  How would you describe it?   What makes them stand out from other exhibitors for you? What techniques or processes do you think they use and what exactly makes them so successful?

3.      Who do you think has influenced them and what is their work like?   Have things such as - politics, music, fashion, changes in materials or technology processes had an effect? Can you show influences and compare or contrast these similarilties together?  

4.      What themes or ideas are in their work ? How do these artists\designers communicate messages or meaning within their work?  What logos, slogans, visual imagery or mark-making do they utilise to produce their work?

5.      Who are some of the clients they have worked for?  What internships do they have planned?  Can you document this work and give examples of large and small commissions/ jobs they have covered?

6.      Give evidence of quotes, opinions and comments from other people if available .  These may be from catalogues, newspaper cuttings, websites, TV programmes, blogs, face book etc.  The more variety of information,  the more interesting your diary.  They may lead you to look at other artists whose work you like.  You will probably have to dig around to get this and anticipate this will take time - be persistent.

7.      Why have you chosen these artists\designers to analyse?  What relevance does their work have on your own interests?  Do you use similar techniques etc or do  the concepts/ideas they promote appeal to you? Why are you so attracted to this work?  Is it that you find the markmaking original, messages in adverts inventive, appreciate the form and structure of a sculpture etc.?  Please elaborate as much as possible.

8.      What materials, processes and technology have they adopted that have shaped their ideas and given the work a distinctive style.

9.      Produce 8  sustained responses to the designers you have looked at (minimum  2 for each artist/designer) by making samples, tryouts, drawings, typography in the style of this work to show your interests.  Present this in an appropriate way next to your analysis.
New De

New Designers Visitor Information

This Year's New Designers exhibitions are coming up at the Business Design Centre in Islington.
Visiting independently (or in groups) is a great way to start to familiarise yourself with getting around London and seeing Galleries (a really valuable thing to be confident about before you progress).
The show that you visit should be determined by what your intentions for progression/careers are. Everyone should visit at least one of the exhibitions:

PART 1: 28th June to 1st July
- Textiles & Fashion
- Costume Design
- Jewellery & Precious Metalwork
- Ceramics & Glass
- Contemporary Design Crafts

PART 2: 5th July to 8th July
- Furniture
- Product & Industrial Design
- Spatial Design
- Graphic Design
- Illustration
- Animation
- Motion & Digital Arts

These shows feature the best work from hundreds of Creative Degrees across the UK. Visiting is a great way to get an impression of the kind of work produced on a wide range of Higher Education courses and should help you to make informed choices about your progression. Staff and students from the various Art Colleges/Universities are always around in the exhibition, you can pick up prospectuses and ask questions.
Whether you intend to progress or not this is a valuable opportunity, the work is inspiring, and it is a great place to get a feel for different Art and Design careers. As a mandatory part of the BTEC Extended Diploma Unit 5 (Contextual Influences) you are required to see work first hand and analyse it, so there will be some follow up work for you to complete after their visit.
Loads of information can be found by exploring the excellent New Designers website:

Tickets: If you take student ID the cheapest way to visit is to buy a ticket on the door (£12.50), tickets booked in advance are £12 (but £1.50 booking fee is added), on the door without ID is £16. 

Getting There: The easiest way to get there is by train and tube. From London Waterloo catch the Bakerloo Line South 2 stops to Elephant and Castle, change and then take the Northern Line (City branch) Northbound 6 stops to ANGEL (this is usually quicker than going via Euston). From Angel tube it is a 5 minute walk to the Business Design centre, as you come up the escalators to street level exit the station and keep going in the same direction towards Islington Green, just before the Green itself you will find the Business Design Centre slightly set back on the left (you will need to cross Upper Street to get there).  The Address is 52 Upper Street, N1 0QH.

You can travel independently, with parents or in groups. We are happy if you wish to go on a weekday (when the exhibitions are likely to be a little quieter).
If affording the visit is difficult we would ask you to talk to us, there is a College Fund (means tested) that can be used to support essential Course expenses such as this.

You should allow at least 3 hours for their visit, there is a lot to see and information for their Design Diary assignment will need to be gathered. New

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Design Diary Part 1 - Exhibition Review


3D Design

Graphic Design


Fine Art




This review is designed to give you the opportunity to develop your critical skills to be able to evaluate others work and in doing so find out what interests you within art and design. It will also give you a deeper insight into the area you wish to specialise in.


Write a 1,000 word review of one student’s work in the final major project show. Inventively present this work to start the ongoing sketchbook of the Design diary.
Camera and photocopying card required.


You must take photographs of :

• the whole show
• individual pieces
• details
• evaluation
• sketchbook immediately so you have a record of this show before it comes down.

Have a good look around all of the show soaking up the ideas, exhibits and range of pieces students have worked on. Try to find one person’s work that you really feel drawn to and that is within a specialist area you feel interested and inspired by. Study this work in detail looking at final pieces presented as well as exploring sketchbooks, development pieces and reading the evaluation that will explain the project this person set themselves. You will discover a lot of answers from analysing this. Answer the following:

1. Why is this work interesting? Describe the work in front of you, what specialist area is it and why have you picked this one to discuss?

2. What primary sources photographs and drawings did this student have? Discuss who or what has been involved in these and how well you think the student has done to achieve this imagery. In what ways have they then gone on to using this primary sources and making it express an idea? Did they draw from it, use gold card, manipulate on top of it, turn it into a screen print etc

3. Why are you drawn to this work? What aspects interest you? Is it the inventive way a message or idea is expressed, ability to observe or draw, the ability to manipulate materials or is it thought provoking and does it make you consider things around you differently? Please expand. Is it the interpretation of the idea, use of colour, process or technique that makes it enjoyable? Discuss their use of type or style of messaging they have used. How has attention to detail been considered?


4. Analyse their sketchbooks and within your report discuss these in detail. How many are there for 9 weeks work? Do you think there is enough work? In what ways do these sketchbooks develop and unfold ideas? How are connections made between imagery? Look at the artists used, the websites chosen etc look in the back of the evaluation at the bibliography.

5. Who or what has been their inspiration for this project? Have there been a number of different influences to bring this show together? Which artists and designers have they been influenced by and how have they made their final pieces reflect a sense of this work? Can you show imagery of their influences.?

6. What have they produced to show development and ideas that have produced this work. Are there studies, maquettes, try outs of some sort or further images not chosen in the show that you consider pivotal to this work?


7. What do you think about the choice of things they have mounted up. Has this person selected the best images in your opinion? Is it ambitious and if so how exactly? What makes it so, is it the range and diversity of garments, quality of drawing or objects etc?

8. How have these students exhibited their work? Draw a plan of the layout and review this. Do you think it was presented appropriately? What makes it look professional and how have they used additional objects, materials or colours to set off their pieces?

9. Draw a plan of their work and discuss what you think about the presentation of this. How have they used the space? Discuss how the work has been mounted and what you feel about this work?

10. Do you think there is enough work here for 9 weeks work? If this was you putting on a show, what aspects do you think are essential to creating a successful body of work that is presented well.


· 1,000 words within an illustrated annotated review presented within a sketchbook.
· At least 5 pages within a sketchbook.

Deadline: Sept 2017 first day back along with Design Diary, part 2