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Observational Studies

Updated: May 1, 2021

In this video you will learn how to produce observational studies for your GCSE art sketchbooks.

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For both the GCSE and A-Level art subjects you need to produce observational studies. Observational studies are anything that you can produce from direct observation, such as a drawing, painting, or a photograph of a still life, a landscape, a figure or a portrait, and anything from real life. They are an integral part of your portfolio and examiners really appreciate them. There are a great variety of ways to produce observational studies and this is what you are going to find out today.

In previous vlogs, I spoke about primary and secondary sources and how to make use of both in your coursework. Do check them out, if you haven’t watched them already! Observational studies are all primary sources and can take a variety of forms. They are an important process of learning and help you develop your art skills. To begin with, observational studies teach you careful examination and train your eye.

Let’s take one example, SEASHELLS, and showcase the variety of ways you can create observational studies. Of course, you will need real seashells, and once you get them, you can do the following:

1- Create a series of quick drawings from different angles to capture the different shapes and curves of the shells. Observational drawings are meant to display your drawing skills and demonstrate your ability to realistically capture an object from observation as accurately as possible. Although you are not expected to make perfect realistic drawings, I do suggest you produce as many as you can, especially at the beginning of every project, as this will help you develop your skills and will also add to your final mark.

2- Create detailed studies to capture the highlights and shadows, texture, and colors of the shells.

3- Create studies with different materials and techniques to explore texture and color.

4- Take a series of photographs with your phone from different viewpoints and experiment with framing, different compositions, backgrounds, and light effect and present them alongside your drawings.

5- Create small 3d clay or plasticine models and experiment with proportion, texture, and form.

All these different methods of observational studies, you can apply them to any subject you are working on whether it is a flower or a face. Have fun with this, pay attention to what you have in front of you, experiment, and make sure you use different materials and techniques to explore the same subject.

I hope you found this helpful… Is there anything specific you want to ask me? Tell me about your questions or concerns, in the comments below. Also don’t forget to grab the guides at the link below and book for your first free trial for online tutoring.

· Click here to book your first FREE trial for 30 mins online tutoring with me.

· Download the guide ‘Quick Tips for GCSE in Art Students’, from the link below to help you prepare for your art studies.

· Do you want to excel in your GCSE in Art and create outstanding sketchbooks? Go ahead and check out my online course ‘GCSE in Art & Design made simple: The Complete Beginners’ Guide’ at

#GCSEart #GCSEartsketchbook

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