• Olly Jordan

Chapter 5 - Fine Artist or a Graphic Designer? - A Levels 2014

Updated: Jun 21, 2020

Studying my A Levels at my secondary school had many more pros in my eyes than cons. And looking back, I do still think I made the right choice to stay in the same place rather than going somewhere else to study in a college.

The teachers I had back then I still think of very fondly and they were the ones that I believe really pushed my skills and believed in what I was producing. To this day, I still go by some of the rules and lessons that they would teach when it comes to my painting - NEVER use black from a tube unless it is a manmade product like a car or device because black can instantly flatten a portrait - mix a very dark brown or something instead, paint from dark to light as you can easily work you colours up but it is a lot harder to go from light to dark. I remember one of my art teachers saying that I would suit illustration as I have the patience to work on the same subject over and over as well as work on one artwork for a longer period of time. At the time, I didn't really know what an illustrator was so I took it as a compliment and potential avenue to look down, and this piece of advice stuck with me over the next year while studying an Art Foundation, but I will get to that in another blog post.

Studying A Levels also meant studying multiple other subjects, rather than just Fine Art like I would have been doing at college. I also studied Graphic Design, IT and English. IT and English were not fully where my interests were. Graphic Design however, I was invested in that just as much as I was invested in my Fine Art work, infact, I was actually getting better grades in Graphic Design than I was in Fine art. Similar to my art teachers, I had a great Graphic Design teacher, he was a little bit firm with students, but if you actually showed interest and was keen to learn he was good with those students and very willing to help out.

Kid's Stuff Crazy

Here is an example of a Graphic Design project I worked on during my A Levels, Kid's Stuff Crazy was a project where we had to rebrand and relaunch an already existing company for out final project. Within the project, I rebranded everything that you see here, the logo, the packaging, and promotion material such as the magazine spread here. You can see here that I created a project where I used my skills from studying both art and graphics to create fun children's characters to go along with this brand.

Here I was living the dream life of both artist and graphic designer, but I didn't really know that you could merge both, I thought that you had to do one or the other and that was something that I struggled with. I enjoyed both Fine Art and Graphic Design equally at this point, even though both were so different - one was essentially all digital work, the other was traditional acrylic paintings. Asking advice from the teachers that I valued the most for what direction to go in after this, they all said that doing an art foundation would help you to explore a little bit more. At this point after A Levels or college, you are expected to go straight to university, but in the art world, even going to uni isn't really necessary, schools just put pressure on literally everyone going. So, doing an art foundation seemed like the best thing to do for a young me who wasn't quite sure of what direction to go in, just knowing that the art world was something I wanted to get into.

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