Shells, Fish & Sea: An Exceptional International GCSE Art Sketchbook

Last Updated on April 2, 2023

This exquisite, finely-detailed A* International GCSE Art sketchbook was completed by Hania Cho in 2002, while studying IGCSE Art and Design (CIE 0400) at ACG Strathallan College, Auckland, New Zealand. This was part of Hania’s Coursework project, for which she submitted an A4 sketchbook and a final painting (A2) based on a ‘Coastal Environment’ theme. Her work explored natural forms such as shells, fish, flax and landscapes as well as man-made items, such as anchors buried in sand.

shells and natural forms - gcse art sketchbook
The first two pages in Hania’s International GCSE Art sketchbook explored natural shell forms. Hania drew from first hand observation, using graphite and coloured pencil, then exploring shell forms in terms of line: hatching; cross-contour drawings and blind drawings etc.
igcse art and design - sketchbook pages
Both these sketchbook pages were drawn from direct observation â- something that is highly encouraged within CIE IGCSE Art and Design curriculum. Objects were buried in sand (in a tray in the classroom). The second sketchbook page depicts a black and white drawing of a cow skull on brown paper, using skulls that were borrowed from the school Science Department.
drawing of rope and anchor - sketchbook page
The first sketchbook page shown above contains drawings of a rope, anchor and metal pulleys, drawn with black and white charcoal on grey paper. These items gave students some variety in a course that focused primarily on organic, natural forms. The pencil drawings on the second sketchbook page are of a dried fish skeleton, also drawn from observation. This fish skeleton also photocopied amazingly well – producing some stunning black-and-white images which students were able to work from at home.
gcse art sketchbook - mock exam
Part of the preparatory material for the mock-exam, this GCSE Art sketchbook page includes pencil drawings that plan the composition of the final mock exam work. The beautiful graphite drawing of a flax flower (harakeke) was the final piece in Hania’s mock exam. One of the most beautiful observational drawings by a Year 11 student that I have seen.
gcse art sketchbook pages showing fish and weaving
This page illustrates a range of great GCSE Art sketchbook ideas, such as the mixed media (textured wallpaper cuttings) that have been used in the fish drawings. The second sketchbook page depicts drawings of small flax items that the students made using traditional Maori weaving methods. This allowed the integration of a hands-on sculptural task, which gave extra variety to the course.

The ten sketchbook pages above are just a sample from the comprehensive 43 page sketchbook that Hania produced for her Coursework project (note that in 2002 the CIE IGCSE Art & Design Coursework requirement was for a final project plus sketchbook, rather than the A2 portfolio of 4 sheets (8 sides) that is the maximum requirement today).

More of Hania’s sketchbook is visible in the YouTube clip below:

A highly talented and dedicated student, Hania also produced beautiful projects that achieved marks in the 90s at both AS and A2 Level. The Student Art Guide will bring you more articles about her work soon!


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