sleeping dog copyIts less than three weeks before the deadline for all files to be uploaded

(20 April)!



  • Photographs or videos of the studio work should be clear, reflect the work appropriately and be sized to fill a standard computer monitor screen at 100% zoom.
  • For an especially large or detailed piece, separate close-up shots can be included in a later slot to detail further aspects of the piece.


No sound/music please!

If submitting video, remember the emphasis on VISUAL arts. The examiner could well simply switch off any soundtrack or music to focus on the visual. Explore the many creative options available in this art form.

A recording of any audio accompanying an installation (for example, music) is not required as only the visual aspect of the work will be assessed.

Two-dimensional work should be photographed:

  • flat against a surface (wall or table) with the camera parallel to the work
  • in soft, even, natural lighting wherever possible
  • against a plain, neutral-coloured background
  • in sharp focus.

Three-dimensional work should be captured:

  • in soft, even, natural lighting wherever possible
  • against a plain, neutral-coloured background
  • in sharp focus
  • with an overall shot of each piece plus details, as appropriate, or by a short video.

Photographs may be repositioned, cropped and adjusted for brightness, contrast and colour casts, as long as the work is still a true likeness of the original studio work piece.

Electronic animation work should be provided in its original file format, ensuring that the work is supported by IWB documentation, and the 1,000 word statement/interview showing how it reflects the candidate’s efforts.


  • No exhibition “overview” photographs!

Strange but true – IB strongly recommend two overview photographs for studio option A candidates but do not allow any overview photographs for studio option B candidates. I know the reasons for this but still find it a little odd.

  • 300 words

For option B candidates, the focus of the 300-word candidate statement MUST be your investigation workbook. Provide a critical analysis/précis of your investigation: consider the focus, concerns and content of your pages, outline the sources used and provide some evaluation of the skills and techniques you have developed.

  • Interview or 1000 words

Your interview video or 1,000-word commentary should also focus predominantly on the investigation undertaken, rather than on the studio work completed (although you should make reference to your studio pieces when illustrating the connection between the investigation and studio practice)

  • A page is a page!

When two pages (or more) are reproduced in one screen, this counts as two (or more) pages.


Digital photography should not be simplistic and/or weak: submitting a series of simple digital photographs will not achieve very highly.

Last May in some cases photographic images were little more than holiday snaps, When photographs are predominately snapshots rather than an exploration into the visual qualities of the medium it is difficult to award high marks.


I – and many other examiners – often encounter students providing long and complex explanations of the “meaning” of their work. The assumption seems to be that if student talk/explain/describe enough, they can somehow improve the work.

Unfortunately weak work will tend to remain weak, and if weaker students produce final pieces without really nurturing an idea and seeing it through to a meaningful conclusion, talking about ‘meaning’ is unlikely to generate more marks.

The May 2014 Subject Report says, “Some candidates attempted to explain or justify weak work by describing the hidden meanings of it: during the interview, these candidates attributed significance and symbolism to their art. However, without more evidence to explain and support these “meanings”, this was seen as unconvincing. The studio work should show a synthesis of skill and concept and this means that all candidates should genuinely engage in a personal investigation, reflection and critical evaluation during the creative process.”

The theme

It may be a little late to remind you but please be aware – the theme is NOT a requirement.  Although working around an idea, theme or issue can help to generate a cohesive and coherent exhibition, in the last May session a number of students misunderstood the theme and it became more like a straight-jacket.

“For many candidates working within a theme was disadvantageous and led them to neglect artistic exploration. This inevitably resulted in a constrained and repetitive portfolio.

Sometimes candidates chose very general themes such as “happiness” and struggled to interpret this in meaningful and creative ways. Where candidates produced investigative work about subjects such as “dance” and “gay rights” that was unrelated to visual arts, it was difficult to credit their efforts”.

Good luck!


Photograph shows sleeping dog in the Athenian sunshine near Acropolis two days ago (April 1)