4th Year GCSE update with Unit 2 information


Coursework – Portfolio Unit 2

Reminder that the next assignment has been published here on WordPress. This is a mock question paper (Portfolio Unit 2) where you choose one theme that will be completed by 9 December 2019. Portfolio Unit 1 plus Portfolio Unit 2 will be your completed coursework element of the GCSE and this combined work will be the basis for the assessment mark that we will give out in on 7 January 2020.


A pdf of the Mock Photography Question paper of the can be viewed here>>>>>

Fine Art

A pdf of the Mock Fine Art Question paper of the can be viewed here>>>>>

The GCSE 4th Year students end of year mark has been assessed according to the AQA Examination Board’s mark scheme (viewed here>>>). The assessment marks include each student’s WordPress blogs and Instagram stream as well as the final piece (painting) or your series Photographys. This mark forms the basis for the Internal Examination mark and is Coursework – Portfolio Unit 1.


The final countdown – 5th Year GCSE

Following on from what we have said in the lessons regarding key dates published on February 25. We don’t want to stress our 5th Year out, but there are just a few weeks left until the final deadline for all GCSE Art & Design work. Staff are and have been available to help you plan out the final stage of your coursework and Externally Set Assignment. During the Easter break you will need to work on the Externally Set Assignment sketchbook in preparation for the 10 hour examination commencing 25 April 2019. In addition all materials and work for the examination must be made ready. Final key dates are:

Group A

25 April (am only), 26 April (all day) & 29 April (am only)

Group B

25 April (pm only), 29 April (pm only) & 30 April (all day)

Both groups

Completed coursework sketchbooks and final pieces, and in the case of photographers have 20 A3 prints of your coursework printed out for the deadline,  Monday 6 May 2019. Study Leave 9 May 2019.

Refer to the guidelines for the ESA for more detail.

UK has 2M Creative Industries jobs

The following is an extract from the http://www.thecreativeindustries.co.uk/ website.

The number of jobs in the UK creative industries has topped two million for the first time under the current system of counting after expanding faster than the rest of the economy in 2017.

When creative jobs that are outside the creative industries are also added in – to calculate the total of the UK’s so-called creative economy – the total figure has reached 3,121,000. This represents a 2.8 per cent rise year on year.

Since 2011, the UK creative industries workforce has added almost half a million jobs – an increase of approximately 28 per cent. This makes it the fastest growing in employment of all the sectors overseen by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport between 2011 and 2017. Viewed on the previous year alone, the creative industries grew jobs slower than smaller sectors such as the culture sector, digital segment or civil society, which comprised charities and non-profits.


The creative industries accounted for 284,400 businesses – or just over one in eight of all UK businesses – in 2016, with almost 18 per cent having traded internationally compared to the average figure for international trading of 12.9 per cent across all UK business sectors.

The statistics from the Department of Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, (DCMS) highlight the opportunity to scale up creative industries businesses. Approximately 94 per cent are micro-businesses employing fewer than 10 staff, and 87.6 per cent have a turnover of less than £250,000 a year. Other DCMS sectors, such as telecoms, tourism, and gambling, have a higher proportion of businesses in the larger turnover bracket compared to the creative industries.

The Creative Industries Council has made scaling up creative businesses a key part of its five year growth strategy for these industries. 

Despite often being relatively modest in size, though, creative industries businesses are often involved in international trade, with just over 50,000 creative businesses either exporting or importing in 2016. Of this figure, an estimated 38,300 creative businesses exported, whilst 28,100 imported and some 16,500 did both.

Although the proportion of creative businesses trading internationally is higher than the UK average across all sectors, it is lower than in other DCMS sectors such as telecoms (30.5 per cent) or the cultural sector (24.5 per cent). This further underlines the opportunities for UK creative businesses to grow their export activities, in particular.

Source: DCMS Economic Estimates

Football Art – Dan Leydon

Dan Leydon is a freelance illustrator/designer with an emphasis on football. He is based in Sligo, Ireland and has a wide range of styles. As a department we first became aware of his work through twitter, then we discovered his book titled “Football Art” which we recently purchased and Dan signed.

Football Art contains over 300 pieces of football artwork created between 2011 and 2018. Dan Leydon used his love of the game to present a wide range of players, managers and teams with humour and affection making “Football Art” something any fan could return to time and again.

The book is arranged into 7 very clear chapters: Character Design, Memes, Illustration, Portraits, Posters, Design and Sketches. Most chapters end with an essay related to that type of work. The essays related to each chapter are: Principles of Character Design, Why I Make Memes, How I Get Ideas, Portrait Drawing Guide, Influences on my Work and My Work Life So Far. For the final essay slot there is a look at his office and a list of tools he uses plus ways to see more of his football art.

Like Stanley Chow (who we previously featured) Dan’s artwork has been heavily influenced by his passion for Football.

Dan Leydon catalogued the entire process of putting together his book in a thread on his twitter which you can view all the work involved here.

Big Heads – Stanley Chow

You might have seen his work as posters or on the web, but not known who has produced these amazing images of footballers and celebrities. Stanley Chow is an artist and illustrator from Manchester whose iconic work has found worldwide acclaim. It is Chow’s minimalist style of portraiture, specialising in images of celebrities from the worlds of music, television, film and sport, that has gained him so many fans.

He grew up in a chip shop and says that living in this environment helped him to become an artist. Speaking to the BBC in 2014 Chow said “the reason why I am an illustrator is because growing up, the only form of amusement I had was with a biro and chip paper. I didn’t really have many toys when I was a nipper, all I did was draw and draw and draw.”

He was educated at King’s School Macclesfield and during his time there Chow was inspired by his art teacher Robin Hidden an illustrator. Chow went on to study at Swindon College of Art and returned to Manchester with a vision of careers as a fashion illustrator. He was doing fashion-based illustrations for teen magazines Just Seventeen and Sugar. Ultimately he wanted to work for Vogue.

He said of this time, “I got an agent and started getting commercial work but after a while it got boring. I found it too normal. I had a vision of being a trailblazer of sorts. “I wanted to make a name for myself to emulate my hero Jason Brooks.”

Jason Brooks – Fashion Illustration

For around 10 years Chow kept plugging away. But with each project Chow found himself moving towards lifestyle illustration and further and further away from where he wanted to be. It was then his dad showed up on his doorstep with his first computer. “I started using software called Adobe Illustrator, which uses vector graphics, but couldn’t achieve what I had in my head by painting,” Chow explains.

Back in Manchester, Chow worked for a time as a club DJ, regularly playing venues including The Roadhouse and The Night and Day Cafe. Whilst out drinking, Chow would spend time entertaining himself by sketching his friends, who included Elbow’s Guy Garvey – using simple line strokes which would eventually become the defining style of his work.


Much of Chow’s work is portraiture, with him specialising in images of celebrities from the worlds of music, television, film and sport. The people he selects to illustrate are spontaneous choices although Chow’s love of football can be seen through the amount of portraits he has done of footballers, and his work is influenced by the Panini football stickers which he collected as a child in the 1980s.


Chow produces work for a wide range of clients including local businesses and internationally recognised brands. Throughout Manchester his work can be seen at Metrolink tram stops promoting Transport for Greater Manchester’s Get Me There travel card scheme.

Internationally, Chow’s clients include Saatchi & Saatch, WWE and Wired magazine. He also regularly supplies illustrations to The New Yorker magazine and as well as producing images for articles has created portraits of a number of The New Yorker’s featured contributing staff.

In 2007, serendipity struck when American rock duo The White Stripes spotted a mock poster Chow had designed in 2005, which featured a striking portrait of Jack and Meg White, and he was commissioned him to create artwork for their Icky Thump album.

Stanley Chow’s Mock White Stripes poster

It was the 2am cross-Atlantic phone call that changed everything.

“My first thought when I got the call was that they wanted to sue me,” Chow admits. “But they quickly put me at ease.

“It was a project that got me massive exposure and it has been a constant, vertical trajectory since.”

In addition to being released on CD and 180 gram vinyl, the band released the album on a limited edition 512 MB USB drive which was designed by British artist Stanley Chow[20] There are two versions, one of which depicts Jack, the other depicting Meg. The pressing was limited to 3,333 of each,[19] and were shipped the week of the U.S. release.

2015 saw Chow design one of his most high-profile commissions to date. On 4 October, The New York Times Magazine cover featured a photograph of a metallic helium balloon depicting the face of Presidential hopeful Donald Trump.

The balloon was designed by Chow and then photographed floating away on a white background by Jamie Chung. The project was turned around in the space of a week with Chow being commissioned on the same day that the idea was thought up. Rather than making an illustration of a balloon which could be photoshopped, Design Director Gail Bichler and her team decided to manufacture an actual balloon which could be inflated, so 25 were produced in order for them to be photographed in different ways.

The cover was well received with it gaining 71% of votes in Adweek’s weekly magazine ‘Cover Battle’ although in an interview with GQ Magazine Trump referred to the cover as “ridiculous”. The following year the cover went on to win a gold medal from The Society for News Designin their annual awards, in the ’12C Magazines, Cover Design’ category with judges describing the illustration as “Playful, fun, timely, tells a story, also timeless”.

In June 2018 Chow work was on display in the National Football Museum, Manchester. The Museum set Chow the task of selecting his all-time favourite football XI, for which he has produced a set of exclusive illustrations featuring some surprising inclusions.

The exhibition also included objects from Chow’s personal collection and the Museum’s archive, including a football sticker album which he collected as a child in the 1980s. One of Chow’s earliest football memories was watching England play France in the 1982 World Cup on television while waiting with his family to catch a flight to Hong Kong. Bryan Robson scored after just 27 seconds; his England shirt from the game will be displayed here for the first time.

How a 2am phone call from The White Stripes gave illustrator Stanley Chow his big break >>>

On a recent interview Stan lee said that his favourite portraits were Bruce Lee and Woody Allen. (below)

Bruce Lee
Woody Allen

The secrets of beautiful caricatures

Drawing people is not the most obvious application of vector imagery, but Stanley Chow shows it can deliver brilliant results.

Below is a video of Stanley creating a piece on Cristiano Ronaldo over .

Drawing Ronaldo from Stanley Chow on Vimeo.

GCSE 2019 Countdown deadlines

Attention all 5th Year Art & Design students

The next few weeks are important for the 2019 GCSE students. Having been given the Externally Set Assignment (ESA) question paper in early January we are counting down to the supervised element of the ESA (10 Hour Examination starts 25 April 2019). At the time of writing there are 8 weeks to go before you hand in your completed ESA sketchbook. All coursework should also be placed in your draw in the art rooms before you go on your Easter holiday. Photographers need to have printed out 20 of their best photographs.

All key dates and deadlines can be seen in the graphic above

Photograph prints at Granthams

Your 20 A3 prints can be printed most economically at Granthams, Blackpool (01253 624402 ask for the print department) . For a single print on A3 200 gms Silk paperit is £2.50 for 20 prints it is £18.46.

Select 30 of your best coursework only photographs then with the help of your teacher you need to prepare your top 20 photographs in advance as a single document that is outputted as a pdf. These are the steps you need to take:

  • Save all your 20 plus photograph files to 150 dpi or higher and large enough to insert into an A3 document (42 x 29.7 cm) in word.
  • Create an A3 word document, in page setup click A3 and select if it is to be portrait or Landscape format.
  • Insert one image per page, a total of 20 pages.
  • Save the file as a pdf.

You then have the option of saving your file to a Usb stick and taking to Grathams and waiting while they print out your photographs.

Alternatively you can use WeTransfer with you details: school and instructions for 20 pages on A3 200 gms Silk paper and attach your pdf to (email: blackpoolcad@granthams.co.uk) and state that you will pick up and pay. Add your file. See image right.

Text for the message: Please can you print out the attached pdfs on 200gms silk paper. I am a student at Kirkham Grammar School and will be in to Granthams to pick and pay. Please can you confirm this order by return email.

I have spoken to Granthams so they know in advance that you will be using their service. You do not have to use Granthams to get A3 prints you can go elsewhere but it will cost more (approx £2.50 a sheet).

Map of Granthams location and postcode.

Chewing Gum Man – Art On The Millennium Bridge

Students on the department’s recent GCSE trip to London discovered Ben Wilson painting on the Millennium Bridge Ben. As a consequence we decided to learn more about this amazing London street artist.

It turns out that Ben Wilson has turned hundreds of chewing gum blobs on London’s Millennium Bridge into tiny works of art, offering a street-level alternative the nearby art temple that is Tate Modern.

Ben Wilson is an artist better known by another name: The Chewing-Gum Man. For more than a decade he has systematically turned over 10,000 trodden-in chewing gums that pepper the streets of London into miniature canvasses. He has perfected a technique using a blowtorch and layers of acrylic paint and lacquer to make tiny, shining works of art at our feet. His subject matter ranges from minuscule yet realistic London scenes to brightly coloured abstract patterns and strange creatures.

A huge amount of his work can be found in Muswell Hill, where he lives. However, he has concentrated much of his recent efforts on the iconic Millennium Bridge. Here, the urge is to look up at the some of London’s finest landmarks: the tower of Tate Modern and grand dome of St. Paul’s, but if you look down, instead you will discover a gallery in microcosm; an unsanctioned art trail leading right up to the entrance of Tate Modern. They are all too easy to miss, but once you spot one painted gum you suddenly see them all.

Although the works themselves are inconspicuous, Wilson draws a lot of attention when crouched on the ground, absorbed in painting a spot on the pavement over hours or even days. He has been arrested numerous times, but carefully avoids the definition of criminal damage by sticking to the gum, which isn’t technically part of the property. He works on waste, making adjustments to otherwise overlooked and unwanted parts of our environment as he finds them. 

Wilson’s gum art (both the process and the outcome) is a subtly subversive intervention in a public space. He overtly disregards convention by lavishing attention on something discarded and worthless, lying down for hours to work on his art on a major thoroughfare. The fact that Wilson has not been deterred by his brushes with the police makes his work seem all the more irreverent and joyful. What might irk the local council has amused and delighted hundreds of people who have stumbled across him and his work. 

The public engage with the gum-paintings, both in their completed state and sometimes as they are being made, interacting with the artist who will take requests: adding names, dates and symbols important to an interested stranger. This project is as democratic as it is whimsical and more than a little bit cheeky.

When Wilson isn’t present, his completed works catch the eye of the passerby and reveal themselves more and more through the viewer’s engagement with them. In this way, the casual walker, having spotted the first glimmering gum, suddenly becomes a painted chewing gum hunter, scanning the ground for more. Discovering Wilson’s work at your feet can change your perspective and your trajectory. The bridge turns into a gallery and your simple walk turns into an art trail.

There is something quite magical about finding the gum art for yourself – perhaps even by accident – in the shadow of one of the most well-attended art galleries in the world. Wilson’s unsanctioned street art stands in direct contrast to Tate Modern, which represents the centre of the established, contemporary art elite. Wilson’s work sits literally and metaphorically outside this institution. These trodden-on artworks illuminate the grey and grimy ground, offering an antidote to the preciousness of the white-walled gallery. They are free for all to discover and enjoy and will be there until the footfall of a million Londoners and tourists wears them away. So, the next time you are crossing the Millennium Bridge, we recommend looking down for a change.