In September I posted some thoughts about the Comparative Study –

Six of the Best (comparative study issues and advice)

This month I’m continuing that theme but focusing on criterion F, so I’m only talking really to those of you who are taking HIGHER LEVEL Visual Arts.

Criterion F deals with making connections to your own art-making practice.

*In July I posted a blog about what NOT to do in your exhibition – “When NOT to…” (Visual Arts Exhibition No Nos)

Now I am posting about what NOT to do in your HL Comparative Study.

Be aware of the five “nots”

  1. The task is not to simply compare your art making with your selected art works.

It is assumed that you will be making art because that is the purpose of the other two components, Process Portfolio and Exhibition. “Making connections to own art-making practice” means evaluating the outcomes of your study and explaining/showing how your art-making has been influenced and informed by the artworks studied.

It doesn’t mean just trying to find connections between your art and the artworks studied. Consider how the comparative study has influenced your own development by identifying connections between one or more of the selected works.


  1. The task is not to simply make a pastiche or even a copy of one of the artworks.

Imitation may be a form of flattery but it is not the intention of this component; the task is to reflect on creative connections. Yes, a pastiche is a connection, but it’s rather obvious and predictable. Just making a copy could be seen as a rather simplistic and obvious response.

Observed and researched media/techniques found in the selected artworks could also play a part in the response, but ideally these would be reinterpreted to demonstrate the learning in a new context. Don’t just make a copy!


  1. Examiners are not assessing the quality of the art works shown/discussed for criterion F.

Rather, they are judging the analysis and reflection that you have made in relation to your art making practice. (Quality is assessed if these artworks are submitted as part of the exhibition or the process portfolio).


  1. The screens submitted as evidence of achievement in Criterion F should not be text-only.

It is not going to impress the examiner if you just talk for 3 screens about how your art-making has been influenced by the artworks studied.

The examiner (obviously!) needs to see visual evidence to illustrate and demonstrate the influences and connections.


  1. Similarly, the screens submitted as evidence for achievement in Criterion F should not be image-only.

Filling the available 3 – 5 screens with pictures of your art and the artworks selected may provide a degree of analysis, but don’t make the examiner struggle to find the links. There may be some clear visual links between art works, but make them explicit; so, for example, use text boxes and annotations to explain the links and show that you understand the nature of the relationships.

Reflection will only be evident through text. Combine images and text to provide a consistent and insightful evaluation on the outcomes of the investigation and effectively analyze and evaluate the extent to which your own art-making and pieces have been influenced by artworks, objects and artifacts examined in the comparative study, making informed and meaningful connections throughout.