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Submitting an engaging visual art portfolio/body of work for assessment is one of the most important parts of studying visual art.
Each artwork needs to show your creativity, understanding of your coursework, and the ability to develop an idea.
By following our easy to understand guide, you'll be able to lift the quality of your work and make it stand out to achieve a better overall grade.
1. Tell a story
Good art engages your viewer, but great art tells them a story. Think about how you can tell your audience a story by using all of the tools you have available: symbolism, scale, perspective, shape, harmony, etc. Use all of these (and more) to create a powerful and engaging piece of art.
2. Engage with your unit outline
Art is creative, spontaneous, and intuitive, so following coursework may seem limiting. It is quite the opposite however, as it gives you clear direction, and tells you what you should focus on. The first thing to do with a new theme is brainstorm - it is an easy way to create new ideas and explore your topic. This, of course, should be done after reading your unit outline. It is written for you for a reason, so use it!
3. Use different mediums
It is important to work with your strengths when choosing paint over pencil, or vice versa. Only using one medium limits your potential, however, so think about which medium best suits your current project work - be careful to not choose the same one every time. Being multi-disciplinary is important, even in art.
4. Be inspired
Inspiration comes to us in many ways and in many forms. Why not let Van Gogh, Monet, Dali, and Whiteley (to name a few) help - engage with their art, and see if their techniques, skills, or subject material can inspire and change the way you approach your own work.
5. Less is more
Simplicity in your artwork is a good thing - if a painting is too 'busy', it can be distracting, chaotic, and pull focus in too many places. Your main idea or subject should be clear enough without additional information to convey your theme and/or message.
6. Talk to your teacher and classmates
Listening to your intuition is important in art, and each decision you make will influence your finished piece. However, the advice and critiques of others will offer you an objective view of your work and inform your process. Accepting others' critiques of your art is hard because it is so personal, but it is also necessary.
7. Explore new ideas
If your work consists only of painted landscapes, try a portrait. If you love figure drawing, try a cityscape. Sticking to what you do best is easy, but the way to grow as an artist is to push yourself to learn more and increase your skill set. Step 3 talks about using different mediums, but you should also be changing your subject matter, as it shows you have put considerable thought into your topic.
8. Include your mistakes
Creating art is a process, and just like maths, you get more marks by including your 'working out'. A failed idea is never a failure: it is an important step in your visual inquiry process, and shows growth and development in your ideas.
9. Be consistent / Don’t rush
Everyone works differently, but the amount of thought and effort put into your work depends on you . The more time and testing put into your work, the better the finished result. As an art student, you've probably realised by now that art is the subject that needs the most of your time if you want to excel at it, and that's OK. Sometimes art is impressionist and spontaneous, but if you rush it, you skip some of the creative process and don't maximise your skills (or potential).
10. Know when to finish
Much like step 5, knowing when to finish is another important decision to make to prevent your piece from being 'overworked'.
Leonardo da Vinci said 'a painting is never finished', and while this may be true in some ways, knowing when to put down your pencil or paintbrush is an important part of producing art. More paint does not necessarily mean better quality (or grades), so don't ruin all of your work.
Kano Eitoku. Cypress Trees, 1590 - colour on paper with gold leaf. Tokyo National Museum, Tokyo Japan.
Accessed via http://libmma.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/compoundobject/collection/p15324coll10/id/153737