Education

What to study in IGCSE Art & Design?

The syllabus aims summarise the context in which you should view the syllabus content and describe the purposes of a course based on this syllabus. They are not listed in order of priority.
The aims are to enable learners to develop:
•  an ability to record from direct observation and personal experience
•  an ability to identify and solve problems in visual and/or other forms
•  creativity, visual awareness, critical and cultural understanding
•  an imaginative, creative and personal response
•  confidence, enthusiasm and a sense of achievement in the practice of art and design
•  growing independence in the refinement and development of ideas and personal outcomes
•  engagement and experimentation with a range of media, materials and techniques, including new media and technologies, where appropriate
•  experience of working in relevant frameworks and exploration of manipulative skills necessary to form, compose and communicate in two and/or three dimensions
•  a working vocabulary relevant to the subject and an interest in, and a critical awareness of, other
practitioners, environments and cultures
•  investigative, analytical, experimental, interpretative, practical, technical and expressive skills
which aid effective and independent learning.

Content
The broad areas of study are:
•  painting and related media
•  printmaking
•  three-dimensional studies
•  photography, digital and lens-based media
•  graphic communication
•  textile design

Subject content 
Painting and related media
Candidates can submit work in any of the media outlined below for any of the four components.
In response to studies within this area, candidates are expected to demonstrate skills in either a
representational or a descriptive manner, or they may be more imaginative and interpretative. In any
case, work will evolve through investigation and development by the candidate. Responses may be
based upon a directly observed starting point or subject, or they may be the candidate’s personal
response to a theme.
Subjects could include:
•  landscapes
•  figure studies
•  portraits
•  the natural or man-made environment
•  still-life
•  artefacts
•  abstract notions or feelings
•  personal experiences
•  visual ideas inspired by literary sources

Candidates should learn to use a sketchbook to make visual and/or other appropriate research and
develop their ideas. They should also show knowledge of art and design from other cultures or history and relate it to their own studies.

Painting and drawing
Candidates should be encouraged to work from direct observation and to explore the use of tone,
colour and composition, materials and context. This can be shown through the use of processes and
the use of media such as charcoal, pencil, pastels, acrylic, water colour, oil and inks.

Graphic media
Candidates should be encouraged to demonstrate the communication of visual and/or other meaning
through images. Candidates should explore an expressive and personal response in their work.

Printmaking
Candidates should be encouraged to explore image-making rather than the specific design for
industrial design processes such as repeat fabric design. Ideas and development will evolve through
investigation, development and experience that could be gained from direct observation or a personal
response to a theme (see Printmaking section).
Non-traditional media
Candidates should be encouraged to explore using traditional or new media or a combination of both.
Candidates can also produce work for assessment in any two-dimensional form such as collage or
textiles. The use of mixed media or waste materials for collage is acceptable.

New media
Candidates may wish to explore using installation art, animation audio or moving image in their
work. The design process should include research, ideas development, review and creation, and this
should be evidenced in the supporting work. For site-specific works or works using found objects,
visual images should be supplied in the most relevant format with a clear evaluation of the processes
and materials used and what the creative intentions were for the piece.

Printmaking
Candidates can submit work in any of the media outlined below for any of the four components.
This includes all aspects of printmaking that relate to image-making rather than specific design
for industrial processes such as repeat fabric design. Development of ideas will evolve through
investigation and experience gained from direct observation. Candidates should explore a variety of
printmaking techniques and produce either a series of related images or one-off prints using methods
such as monoprinting, relief printing (such as lino and/or wood cut), etching and screen printing.

Monoprinting
Candidates should be encouraged to explore a variety of traditional and new media approaches to
monoprinting. Candidates should work in a range of different materials, not just glass, metal or plastic.

Relief printing
Using traditional or new media or a combination of both, candidates should be encouraged to
explore a variety of approaches. Candidates may employ a range of different materials, mixed media
or use improvised or waste materials to create work.

Etching
Candidates should be encouraged to explore the use of line, tone, texture and composition when
using this process. Traditional and/or new media approaches should be encouraged when using metal
or plastic plates.

Screen printing
Candidates should be encouraged to explore a variety of traditional and/or new media approaches
to screen printing. Using traditional and/or digital processes, candidates should demonstrate an
expressive and personal response in their work.

Three-dimensional studies
Candidates can submit work in any of the media outlined below for any of the four components.
Candidates may work in traditional media and/or new materials or a combination of both, but
should show an understanding of three-dimensional qualities of volume, form and space appropriate
to their chosen specialism. Candidates should create visual and/or other meaning through threedimensional art by expressing functional and/or decorative responses. In sculpture, the work may be figurative or abstract; candidates can employ techniques of carving, modelling or construction. There should be some awareness of the roles sculpture has played in various societies.
In ceramics, candidates should study a range of techniques and become familiar with several
methods of decoration, understand firing and glazing, and have knowledge of the different uses of
ceramics. They should be aware of aesthetic considerations and have some historical and cultural
knowledge. Candidates should demonstrate an expressive and personal response in their work,
appropriate to the task.

Supporting work should include designs, notes on materials and processes, etc. Photographs of
source material and other work should be included, as should evidence of visits made in connection
with the course of study.

Sculpture
Candidates should explore form, space, mass, volume, surface and materials. They should use a
range of processes, techniques and materials such as carving and modelling, casting or constructing,
plaster and wax.

Ceramics
Candidates should show an understanding of the processes involved in making, drying, firing,
decorating and glazing. Candidates should also show ability in constructional methods such as slab
building and coil and hand making and the application of surface treatments, e.g. slips, oxides and
glaze.
Theatre design/set design
Candidates should demonstrate the use of design for performance through areas such as costume,
set design and lighting. Candidates should document their work through photographs or digital
layouts, as well as a sketchbook, three-dimensional models and scale drawings.

Environmental/architectural design
Candidates should demonstrate their understanding through the use of spatial design in an
environmental/architectural context in either public or private spaces. Candidates should also be
familiar with role, function, location and audience as well as environmental/architectural issues.

Product design
Candidates should demonstrate how they can problem-solve by designing or creating products
that have a functional or decorative role. Candidates should work with a range of materials such
as wood, metal, plastics and glass. Candidates will need to demonstrate how the design process
itself results in a variety of possible design solutions. It is not necessary for candidates to produce
full-scale models, but they should be aware of the possible constraints that might occur during the
manufacturing process. Design software and technology should be explored where available, e.g.
three-dimensional digital media and laser cutting.

Craft design
Candidates should cover a wide range of techniques, skills and materials. Candidates’ work should
indicate a clear design brief. Candidates should also demonstrate how they can problem-solve
by designing and/or creating craft that has a functional and/or decorative role. This could include
jewellery, metalwork (wire), papier mâché and mosaic.

Photography, digital and lens-based media
Candidates can submit work in any of the media outlined below for any of the four components.
Candidates should use traditional and/or new media processes to produce outcomes such as
photomontage, printed photography, digital photography, photographic or digital installation,
animation, film and digital creation and manipulation. Work may be in colour and/or black and white.
Candidates should demonstrate an expressive and/or interpretative artistic response to the visual
world. They should show an understanding of the conventions of photography and genres such as
portrait, landscape and movement, and a range of techniques appropriate to their chosen field.
Consideration of the following techniques should be given:
•  depth of field
•  film speed/shutter speed
•  lighting/exposure
•  tone and/or colour
•  viewpoint/composition
•  framing
•  editing
•  transitions
Candidates should also show skills in experimenting with media and processes such as:
•  abstracting
•  illustrating
•  documenting
•  developing and printing of films
•  darkroom practice (pin-hole cameras, burning in, masking, photo-grams, solarisation, multiple exposure, reversal printing)
•  alternative print processes (liquid emulsions, bleaching, resist, toning, use of specialist papers or other photosensitive surfaces)
•  creation and manipulation of images with computers
•  image scanning and manipulation
•  editing, perhaps using sound

Photography may be used as a means of recording fragile, large or time-based work (e.g. work in
perishable media, installations, mural work and performance) and the photographic record will be
considered and assessed as part of the submission.

Candidates must provide appropriate evidence of the authenticity of their work such as contact prints,
thumbnails of original digital photographs or storyboards.

Any moving image work (no longer than three minutes) should be submitted on DVD, or
alternatively on CD in common forms of digital format such as in Mpeg or WMV. Candidates may
develop their own blogs or video blogs, and social networking sites can be used, but the authenticity
of the work produced must be evidenced in the supporting work showing the development of ideas.
All research must be clearly referenced.

Still imagery
Candidates should demonstrate their skill in the production of still images through a lens-based
approach. Candidates will demonstrate an understanding and control of equipment in order to
produce work that is personal. Using a wide range of methods, techniques and processes, candidates
will produce imagery that is their own work. Candidates may develop their own work using darkroom facilities, if available; however, the use of commercially processed photographs is acceptable.

For candidates using digital lens-based media, their work should show evidence of the manipulation
and presentation of the imagery using a computer. A variety of approaches and processes can be
used together and candidates could present their work in a variety of ways – either as printed images
or electronically as a slide show using PowerPoint on a CD-ROM or website, for example. Lighting
and sound may be used as appropriate.

Moving imagery
Candidates should demonstrate an understanding of the recording and presentation of moving
images. Sound may also be included as appropriate. Candidates should be familiar with a range of
techniques, resources and processes, such as storyboards, animation, digital editing, PowerPoint,
CD-ROMs and interactive websites.

Graphic communication
Candidates can submit work in any of the media outlined below for any of the four components.
Candidates should use appropriate methods, materials and techniques as well as presentational
skills. All imagery should be the candidate’s original work, although manipulation of secondary
sources through various software packages and digital processes is acceptable, as long as it only
represents a proportion of the overall work.

Supporting work should show ideas, themes and sources used. Technical processes, including
computer-generated imagery and personal digital media, should be clearly documented. The
development of printmaking processes should be included, as should knowledge of both historical
and contemporary graphics.

Candidates should demonstrate the communication of visual meaning through images while being
mindful of problems and opportunities, as well as working towards appropriate solutions. They should analyse design briefs and tackle practical design tasks. They should study other examples of design, or the work of designers relative to their chosen field, preferably including some at first hand, and relate this experience to their own endeavours.

Graphic design with lettering
Candidates should demonstrate their understanding of typography and its relationship to images.
Candidates are free to work in any medium, including photography and computer-manipulated
imagery, providing that the majority of images are from the candidate’s first-hand studies from
primary research.

Illustration
Candidates should demonstrate how the creation of imagery can enhance and allow different
interpretations of text. Candidates should produce visual imagery that communicates the role
and context of text to a specific audience. The illustrations may be for inclusion in any number of
publications such as magazines, books, posters and leaflets, blogs and websites.

Printmaking
Candidates will not be expected to be familiar with all aspects of printmaking. They will be expected
to have developed ideas and these will have evolved through investigation, development and
experience gained from first-hand studies from primary sources or a personal response to a chosen
theme (see Printmaking section).

Advertising
Candidates should have an understanding of how graphic communication can sell a product or
service, promote brand images and communicate information through, for example, posters, fliers,
logos, corporate identities, symbols or signs. Print media, packaging and web-based outcomes and
campaigns should be explored.

Game design
Candidates should be able to combine drawing and software skills to create concept artwork,
environments, gameplay, storyboards or character development related to a theme or brief.
Supporting work for digitally produced artwork should include evidence of the development of ideas
and understanding techniques and processes. Prototype platform games and RPG games concepts
can be produced, and should have age-appropriate content.

Textile design
Candidates can submit work in any of the media outlined below for any of the four components.
Candidates should demonstrate an expressive, decorative or functional response through the use
of fabrics, dyes and fibres. Within this area, candidates should be encouraged to explore a range of
techniques, where available, such as traditional or new media or a combination of both.

Candidates should develop their own designs and may produce work from one specialism but they
should show knowledge of other areas. They need not produce garments, but function and suitability
of design should be considered.

Supporting work may contain sketches, designs, samples and photographs. There should be an
awareness of cultural and historical factors appropriate to their chosen area.
Within this area, candidates may produce work in any of the following specialisms.

Printed and/or dyed
Candidates should be aware of the variety of different media, such as commercial fabric paints,
fabric painting inks and application methods. For the printed application, candidates will be expected
to show a range of techniques for transferring image to fabric, such as block, screen and discharge
printing. Dyed application requires the candidate to be familiar with a range of processes such as
batik, silk painting, shibori, and tie and dye. Candidates should also be familiar with dipping and
spraying. Candidates should explore the use of technology in the textiles industry and the relationship
between textiles and fashion, e.g. digital printing and more accessible processes such as heat
transfer press.

Constructed
Candidates should demonstrate an understanding of either natural and/or synthetic yarns, and how
they can be used through stitching, knotting and looping. Candidates could use experimentation with
alternative media such as plastic, paper and wire, and investigate the properties of these techniques
such as folding, cutting, layering, deconstructing and fusing. Candidates could show a variety of
constructed techniques such as embroidery, weaving and appliqué, and use of appropriate industry
technology, e.g. laser cutting and devoré.

Fashion
Candidates should demonstrate how fabric and fibres are used in a fashion context. Candidates
should be familiar with a range of processes such as garment construction, accessories and fashion
design, and body adornment. Candidates do not have to produce final made garments but should be
mindful of the techniques appropriate to this specialism. Candidates should have an awareness of the
fashion industry and the relationship between textile design, manufacture and fashion.

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