Visual Study


1. What is a study?

2. How do artists show first-hand engagement with subject matter?

4. What does it mean for an artist to show exploration of composition, visual elements, and design principles?

MASTERY OBJECTIVE(S):  The student will…

demonstrate his/her understanding of the Elements of Art, Principles of Design, composition and different mediums + techniques to create a two-page visual study.


  1. 2 page spread
  2. any medium(s) and technique(s) of your choice that push the ‘ideas’ of your VISUAL STUDY
  3. a thorough VISUAL STUDY of a theme, subject, or object(s)
  4. majority of 2 page spread MUST be observational drawing
  5. even though this is a visual study, COMPOSITION and layout of the ‘ideas’ are still important
  6. ***read through the link below from the student art guide for clarification!




1. LINK to my PINTEREST board – art: ap sketchbooks & mindmaps.

2. Excerpt from Student Art Guide

The excerpt and examples below are from this link: All words and images were copied. (They are only copied for the ease of relaying the specific information to my students – educational purposes ONLY!)

***Click on this link and READ through the web page for clarification! – this is a requirement for this assignment!

Examples of great art sketchbooks: Our Online Collection

The following sketchbook pages are almost all by high school art students (and one or two university students) from around the world. These exemplars cover a wide range of presentation techniques and layout styles. It is worth remembering that these represent only a fraction of what is possible. These pages are shared so that current students may learn from those who have previously excelled.

Some of these sketchbook pages (and many more) are part of our upcoming book: High School Art Sketchbooks: 100+ Outstanding Examples. This book has high-resolution images, so that fine details and annotation are clear, making it an excellent resource for students and schools. All images within this publication (and within our online collection below) achieved outstanding grades, with many awarded full marks (100%).

Our online collection is continually updated. Please bookmark this page so that you can return to it when needed. If you would like submit your own sketchbook page for inclusion, please contact us.

Painting / Fine Art sketchbooks

These examples have been collected specifically for students who specialize in Drawing, Painting and Related Media or Fine Art courses.

Visual Study Sample B.jpg

These International GCSE Art sketchbook pages were created by Nikau Hindin, while at ACG Parnell College, Auckland, New Zealand. This page includes first-hand observational drawings of a still life arrangement and a handmade flax (harakeke) flower, made by the student. You may wish to view Nikau’s full A* IGCSE Coursework project (98%) or her AS Coursework project (awarded full marks).

Visual Study Sample C

This A* sketchbook was completed by Emilya Swan, while studying A Level Fine Art at Godalming College, Surrey, England. The left-hand page includes a copy of work by Leonard Baskin; the right-hand page contains experimentation with a wide range of media, including pencil on tracing paper and old book pages, Quink ink and bleach, spirit markers, ink and pen, fineliner and oil pastel.

Visual Study Sample D

This sketchbook page was completed by Annie Loh, while studying Edexcel GCSE Art and Design at Sha Tin College, Hong Kong. This page references the work of artist Stephen Conroy. Annie gained 100% (A*) for this qualification.

Visual Study Sample E

These graphite paper drawings were part of a sketchbook exercise completed by Jenny Ha, while studying AS Level Graphic Design (A*) at ACG Parnell College, Auckland, New Zealand.

Visual Study Sample F

This A Level Art sketchbook page contains drawings of visual analysis of a sculpture by Bernard Meadows. This project was completed by William GovoniBedford School, England. More of William’s artwork can be viewed in our guide to preparing an art portfolio for college or university.

Visual Study Sample G

These two International GCSE Art sketchbook pages by Rhea Maheshwari, ACG Parnell College, Auckland, New Zealand, analyzing the work of Jim Dine. Rhea achieved an A* grade.
Visual Study Sample H
These A* A Level Art sketchbook pages were created by Nettle Grellier who gained St. Edward’s School, Oxford, England. Nettle currently runs workshops for art students while travelling around Europe in her studio on wheels Boonrig.

Visual Study Sample IVisual Study Sample I 2

These sketchbook pages are from an 100% AQA A Level Fine Art project by Claire Lynn, Carmel Sixth Form Catholic College, Merseyside, England. These pages analyze the artwork of several artists, including Owen SmithJenny Saville and Shawn Barber. You may wish to view more of Claire’s A2 painting project, which explores distortion of form.

Visual Study Sample J

Sketchbook pages completed as part of a VCE Studio Arts folio by Australian high school student Heesu Kim. Heesu writes about the project: “I want to create a narrative-like line of work that illustrates the process of birth and innocence to slow corruption and finally death of soul. For me, the ‘death of soul’ is when our minds are shaped to fit the norms of society and cut to think only in the values that it presents. This process both starts and finishes at high school. Ultimately the conclusion is thousands of machine-like individuals, fresh and ready to become slaves to the system. I talk to my friends and see peers that conclude their whole lives and future based on how high their ATAR score is, who adopt dreams that their parents decide for them, dreams that make more money, instead of following their real passion. I’m aware of it but accept it myself as there is no other choice but to. So subtle and complete is the control over us that we embrace it, actively acknowledge to it, and at the same time still suffer emotionally under it.”

Visual Study Sample K.jpg

This Francis Bacon study was completed by Stefan Iyapah, while studying A Level Art at Beal High School, Redbridge, England. In his own words, Stefan “broke out of a timid and controlled way of working and became heavily influenced by the emotion-filled paintings of Francis Bacon which encouraged me to use color experimentally and loosely”.
Visual Study Sample L.jpg
This A Level Art sketchbook page was completed by John Hui, while attending St John’s College, Portsmouth, England. The page includes detailed investigation of eyeballs, mouth infections and diseases, working from a combination of first and second-hand images.