Accessibility & Translation

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.

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)

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?
Queen's Award for Enterprise