These two new publications are aimed at GNVQ (Advanced) art students and their tutors although The Essential Guide to Art and Design deserves a much wider readership and will be of interest to anyone who wants solid factual information about art materials, processes and ways of working in one handy volume.
The Essential Guide is well written and easy to read. Packed full of detail ranging from technical advice on two and three dimensional visual language, it includes a superb chapter on historical and contemporary contexts. It is richly illustrated with students' work and historical examples drawn from the world of art, craft and design. Some of the illustrations are perhaps too small and it is unfortunate that the illustration of Picasso's "Guernica" has been printed the wrong way round.
Each chapter concludes with examples of stimulating practical projects. There is also useful advice on routes into higher education and careers in art and design.
Case Studies in Art and Design is a slightly different kind of publication. It takes the form of three highly detailed case studies which are set in realistic contexts so that they can serve as a focus for practical projects. One study concentrates on design for film, another on aspects of interior design and the third explores design from natural forms but linked to a Japanese theme. Supporting resource materials and suggestions for further study are included.
Learning outcomes are clearly identified and the projects are structured in such a way that students are encouraged to monitor their own progress.
Case Studies in Art and Design is produced in loose leaf format so that it is possible to add additional notes or illustrate material and thepublishers will allow most of the material to be photocopied.
Unfortunately poor quality black and white illustrations won't lend themselves to reproduction. Some page layouts are unnecessarily quirky and tend to detractfrom what is otherwise a useful and carefully structured resource.
Malcolm Lockey is director of Arts in Education Network