Fine Art
A level

All art and design courses provide a stimulating and exciting exploration into the varied art specialisms. You will develop ideas by researching into other artists and be encouraged to examine the world around you visually. You will work through a variety of techniques and learn to work with appropriate media, materials and processes.  As an art and design student, you will need to write about your work, to express personal, creative ideas and produce final outcomes using a range of approaches and methods.  

Fine Art is about expressing yourself personally, creatively and practically to the highest level. The course is about developing skills, becoming more creative, having fun, learning and achieving success.  You will explore new techniques of drawing and painting, explore varied media and materials, develop work from your own expressive photographs, produce work from a range of varied subjects of your choice. Usually you will work from broad themes and produce sequences of related works, which lead towards large-scale and ambitious final pieces. 

Contemporary art is often used as a stimulus to develop new and challenging approaches to art, and we encourage students to participate in the creation of installations in the College, murals, competitions and other extension activities.

Students have access to acrylic, watercolour and oil paints, printmaking facilities including a printing press, large scale display boards, and support for digital art, including 5 x Ipad Pro and Apple Pencils that can be borrowed from the department. 

There are points during the year when students can stay later to work on with their projects, and workshops to support students who need a little extra help.  You will produce ambitious and exciting final pieces based on your development work.  Fine Art has a particularly well-developed set of digital visual resources.

Fine Art involves a wide variety of approaches and ways of creating art, often targeted to your individual skills and interests.  You will be producing practical artwork in lessons, presenting the outcomes on boards. You will discuss your art with your subject tutor on a regular basis, exchanging ideas and sharing thoughts about ways forward, looking at the work of fellow students, developing your own practical and decision making skills, producing annotations and notes and developing your work in a range of materials and approaches.

You will have the opportunity to visit galleries and exhibitions to help you engage with artist's work and understand how professional artists work, as well as gaining an understanding and appreciation of a professional context. In the course of your projects, you will research artists, find out about their success within the subject and discover what they have achieved.

This is a new-style linear A level course.  You will NOT take an external AS exam at the end of the first year.  In the second year of the course, you will take external exams that assess content covered in the first and second year.  These exams (along with portfolio work) will determine your A level grade.

The A level components will be assessed through a personal investigation and an externally set assignment.

You can choose to do fine art with a wide range of other subjects.  It fits well with other creative subjects and with the humanities.  It also works well with maths and physics for students interested in architecture.

The fine art course can lead down a variety of pathways, such as architecture, art journalism, illustration, interior design, set design, concept design, working in galleries/museums, computer game design, jewellery design, fashion and textile design, media industry and art education.  Those who complete the course are equipped with transferable skills and attitudes that are applicable to other industries such as business, advertising, marketing and IT.

Many students progress onto prestigious foundation and degree courses locally and nationally.  A major requirement of any advanced art course is a good portfolio of practical work.

Please see below for careers and labour market information for fine art - use the refresh buttons to find out about different courses and careers, and use the left and right arrows to view more detailed information.

You can find the prep work for this course at

Q: What is the difference between fine art and other art subjects? 
A: Fine art is a very open course, where various different disciplines can be studied, but predominantly most fine art students will focus on drawing and painting disciplines.  Printmaking, collage, photography, digital art, installation art are just some of the other disciplines that students can choose to try, but are not required to do so. 
Q: How is the course structured?
A: At the beginning of Year 1, you will spend 5-6 weeks focusing on learning new techniques and processes.  Following this, you will produce a project featuring artist research, taking your own photos and working from these, developing these in an artistic journey towards a final outcome.  You will create 2 projects in Year 1, and Year 2 will feature a longer project split into different sections, including an essay, and multiple final pieces. 

Q: What facilities are on site?
A: A wide range of artistic materials are available to students, for example, access to watercolour, acrylic and oil paints.  We have specialised studios for students to use and we have easels, a printing press and other printmaking facilities, a laser cutter, several iPad Pro devices with Apple pencils for students to borrow, lightboxes and projectors. 
Q: What HE/FE courses can students study after college?
A: Students who choose to follow an art and design pathway can progress in different ways.  Many choose to go on and study art at Foundation level, which is designed to help students prepare for HE art and design courses, and we have links with UCA in Farnham for direct progression, should students choose this.  Many students also choose to go directly to HE, progressing to diverse subjects, such as animation, architecture, illustration, interior design, art history, as well as fine art.  In recent years, we have had students progress to study at University of Arts London, Cardiff University, Ravensbourne University, Glasgow School of Art, amongst many others. 
Q: What careers can follow on from doing fine art?
A: A wide range of careers in the following areas are just some of those possible from studying fine art:
  • Animation
  • Architecture
  • Art Therapy
  • Advertising 
  • Art Consultant  
  • Art Curation
  • Art Dealer
  • Art History
  • Commercial Artist
  • Concept Artist
  • Courtroom Artist
  • Decorator
  • Education
  • Film director
  • Framer
  • Illustrator
  • Interior Design
  • Museum Curation
  • Set Design
  • Tattoo Design
  • Video Game Design

Exam Board

AQA Learn More

Entry Requirements

  • Ideally a grade 4 or above in an Art or Design subject at GCSE (Art & Design, Fine Art, Photography, Graphic Design, Textiles or similar).
  • Students who did not achieve the entry requirements (or did not study any Art or Design subject) must be prepared to show evidence of creative work at enrolment. This could be sketches, paintings, animation, digital illustration, textiles or any other creative projects.
  • Ideally you should have a grade 4 or above in GCSE English language.
  • There is no specific GCSE maths requirement to study this course.

Employability Skills

  • An ability to critique own and other's work
  • Self confidence and awareness
  • Exhibition and portfolio preparation skills
  • Problem solving and time management skills
  • Creative thinking
  • Independent working and working under time limits
  • Self motivation and decisiveness
  • The ability to communicate ideas

Course Resources

Starter Pack - £15 from the College shop (this is not essential, but can be helpful).

Mount boards (to present work) -  £2 per board in the College shop.  You will need roughly 4-6 boards across the year.

A1 folder (to store work) - £20 in the College shop (this is not essential, but can be helpful).