Curriculum Resources

The National Curriculum in England. Art and Design.

DfE Purpose of study

Art, craft and design embody some of the highest forms of human creativity. A high-quality art and design education should engage, inspire and challenge pupils, equipping them with the knowledge and skills to experiment invent and create their own works of art, craft and design. As pupils progress, they should be able to think critically and develop a more rigorous understanding of art and design. They should also know how art and design both reflect and shape our history, and contribute to the culture, creativity and wealth of our nation.

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DfE Aims

The national curriculum for art and design aims to ensure that all pupils:

Attainment Targets

By the end of each key stage pupils are expected to know, apply and understand the matters, skills and processes specified in the relevant programme of study.

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Subject Content

DfE Key Stage 1

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Pupils should be taught:

DfE Key Stage 2

Pupils should be taught to develop their techniques, including their control and their use of materials, with creativity, experimentation and an increasing awareness of different kinds of art, craft and design.

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Pupils should be taught:

DfE Key Stage 3

Pupils should be taught to develop their creativity and ideas, and increase proficiency in their execution. They should develop a critical understanding of artists, architects, and designers, expressing reasoned judgments that can inform their own work.

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Pupils should be taught:

  • to use a range of techniques to record their observations in sketchbooks, journals and other media as a basis for exploring their ideas
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  • to use a range of techniques and media, including painting
  • to increase their proficiency in the handling of different materials
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  • to analyze and evaluate their own work, and that of others, in order to strengthen the visual impact or applications of their work
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  • about the history of art, craft, design, film and architecture, including periods, styles and major movements from ancient times up to the present day.
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Abstract Art

A drawing, painting, print or sculpture that does not depict a recognizable picture, place, person or object in the real world. An abstract artist works with non figurative symbols and marks.

Acrylic paint

Acrylic paint is fast drying paint containing pigment suspension in acrylic polymer emulsion. Acrylic paints can be diluted with water, but become water-resistant when dry and can destroy paintbrushes and remain on clothing. Depending on how much the paint is diluted (with water) or modified with acrylic gels, media, or pastes, the finished acrylic painting can resemble a watercolour or an oil painting , or have its own unique characteristics not attainable with other media.
For health and safety guidance for paint see:


Glue based fixing agents used to bond materials together. For further information follow this link.


The method by which products, processes, services and works of art, craft and design are promoted to potential customers, audiences, clients and users. Advertising depends strongly on disciplines such as graphics and illustration.


A term used to explore and explain the look and sensual appeal of a work of art, craft or design. The term embraces aspects of beauty across all the senses; touch, taste, smell, sight and sound

Air drying clay

A type of modelling material that dries in fresh air and needs no firing. Once hard, more fresh clay can be successfully applied to whatever has been created. For further information follow the link:


Animation is the simulation of movement by the rapid display of a series of pictures or frames. Unlike video, which takes continuous movement and breaks it up into frames, animation starts with independent pictures and puts them together to create movement. Animation comes in a variety of practices, to include stop motion animation, 3D animation and cell animation


The profession of planning, designing and constructing buildings


People who are engaged in a broad spectrum of visually led ideas and activities aligned to the expressive arts

Artistic movement

A group of artists who have agreed to work together to a set of principles or who are perceived to be working collectively by curators, art historians and commentators. For example, Abstract Expressionism, Mannerism and Cubism

Artistic style

The visual outcome of an artistic movement, or an artist. For example, the style of Abstract Expressionism is manifest as large canvases with non figurative and often chaotic imagery and application. The mature style of Piet Mondrian is geometric, with a white background, a black grid formation and primary colours.

Art and design

Art and design is the subject in the school curriculum. It also includes craft within the subject content, but positioning craft within the subject title would require government legislation


Art refers to a diverse range of human intellectual and expressive activities and the outcomes of those activities. Within this context art is further defined as visual art and includes painting, drawing, sculpture, printmaking, photography and work made using digital media.

Art form

The type of art produced, such as sculpture, drawing or print


To gather items together in one place. Assemblage is an artistic process that usually refers to artists who make two or three dimensional art works out of found objects

Automata makers

An automaton is a toy that includes a mechanical movement, engineered in metal, wood, paper or card. An automata maker creates automata that may be suitable toys for children to play with, but more often as items to be viewed and bought within the context of a gallery as a piece of craft, or sculpture, or an adult toy or conversation piece

Basket making

Basket making or basket weaving is undergoing a revival of interest. Basket makers often grow or source their own natural materials, such as willow and reed, or recycle materials such as plastic and wire. As well as traditional basket makers there are many makers and artists working with basket making techniques in a contemporary context


A craft form that involves the threading, stitching and attaching of beads to one another and to cloth or another support by thread or wire. Beadwork can be decorative, as a part of clothing or jewellery, or as part of a wall hanging or sculpture


To combine or mix materials so they become indistinguishable from each other

Body adornment

The embellishment of the human body with temporary or permanent features, to include piercing, painting and decorating it with jewellery

Book designer

The profession of creating and developing a book to include selecting images and typography, liaising with the author and editor, working within a budget and delivering a finished product to a brief

Book binding

The process of physically assembling a book from materials such as cut paper, leather and card, bound with stitch or fixing agents and secured in a bookbinding press. Bookbinders restore old books, and many work to create or support artist's books and to create contemporary books that challenge preconceptions about what a book should be

Bookbinding press

A bookbinding press is the basic tool of bookbinding, most usually two flat metal plates that can be screwed together manually to ensure consistent heavy pressure on a book, or similar item

Career and vocational paths

Ways in which art, craft and design can signpost to careers as well as leisure opportunities. For further information follow this link:


A process by which a liquid is poured into a mould and allowed to solidify. The mould is then removed to reveal the cast object. Further information about casting can be found here:


The profession of handwriting on diverse surfaces and in a variety of different styles


The collective word for the discipline of working with and producing artworks and functional items with fired clay. For further information follow the links:


Wood that has been heated without oxygen and turned into a mixture of carbon and ash. It can be bought in chunks, sticks or powder, is used as a drawing tool, and requires fixative after use or it will smudge

Chalk Pastels

An art medium in the form of a stick of coloured pigment mixed with a binder, in this case chalk. Chalk pastels can come in a variety of soft or hard forms, and are dry and dusty to use. You will need to use fixative to preserve any images as they will continue to smudge


A brand of modelling material

Chemical processing and printing

The processing and printing of photographs by using chemically sensitized paper, a contact printer and enlarger most often in a dark room designed specifically for photography


Natural clay is a type of soil. Its characteristics include malleability and the ability to harden when subjected to intense heat, in an oven or kiln. Clay comes in different types, which when fired produce earthen ware, stone ware or porcelain. Clay products can be coloured with slips and glazes. For more information follow the link:

Cloth Wads

A bundle of cloths or cotton wool that can be used to wipe the surface of a print, produce textural marks if loaded with paint, or act as a stuffing agent for a toy or soft sculpture


The combination of a selection of distinct elements to work towards creating a whole image or form. The arrangement of shapes, colours, textures, marks and lines in a painting.


A practical approach to looking after resources, such as textiles, drawings and paintings. Conservationists believe that change and progression are necessary and will use contemporary methods to conserve an item. Preservation is more hands off and will seek to leave something alone rather than attempt to restore it.

Conté crayon

A hard stick or crayon made of clay and graphite. This often comes in black and brown and provides a very solid mark. It will need fixative to prevent it smudging and is dusty to use

Conceptual art

Conceptual art describes an art form where the ideas take a precedent over material and/or aesthetic concerns. Arguably anyone can make a piece of conceptual art by simply following the instructions of the artist


A printmaking process involving a variety of materials, such as twigs, fabrics or leaves that are glued onto a flat board. The board and collage are then covered with a thin layer of ink. A sheet of paper is placed over the inked collage, and then lifted off to reveal a print on the face down side.

Colour Mixing

The procedure for mixing colours together to effect changes of colour. Colour mixing can happen with pigment (paint, crayons pastels) or light. Colours can be initially categorised as primary: red, yellow and blue. Secondary: green, orange and purple. Mixing primary colours together will create secondary colours. Red and blue make purple. Blue and yellow make green. Red and yellow make orange


The profession of managing and making meaningful exhibitions, installations and interventions from a museum or gallery collections of paintings, sculptures, drawings, installations, objects or artefacts.


A technique of producing an artwork by gluing or fixing different, often found or discarded materials onto a 2 dimensional or 3 dimensional surface. The materials can include wrappers, cardboard, packaging, different papers and scraps of fabric, leaves, twigs and ribbons. The term collage comes from the French word ?coller' meaning to glue.


How an art work is practically put together. A life size clay sculpture may require an underlying armature of chicken wire and wood. A fabric hanging may require tailoring or padding to make it work

Creative Practitioner

A person who is an artist, designer or craftsperson, but who also has an experimental, open and often collaborative approach to aspects of life and behaviour beyond the making of artistic outcomes.

Contemporary Practitioner

An artist, crafts person or designer who is working and living in the 21st century and is availing themselves in new or up to date ideas, materials, processes and techniques


Craft can be defined as intelligent making. It is technically, materially and culturally informed. Craft is the designing and hand making of individual objects and artefacts, encouraging the development of intellectual, creative and practical skills, visual sensitivity and a working knowledge of tools, materials and systems. More about craft can be found here.


People who create one off or batches of handmade artefacts and objects, to include weavers, ceramicists, toy and automata makers, basket makers, furniture makers, knitters and blacksmiths. Craftspeople are often defined as sole traders, working as a 'creative industry of one'

Craft Form

The disciplines chosen by craftspeople, to include jewellery, basket making, knitting, weaving, tapestry, studio pottery, toy making, weaving, gold smithing, silver smithing and paper making

Cranked clay

A clay that includes grog, or ground up fired clay. Rough on the hands but particularly good for slabbing and hand building. For further information follow this link:

Creative Journal

A visual or written diary, altered book or document developed either in hard copy or virtually that records original thoughts, ideas and images that show a creative journey or series of plans and processes

Critical thinking

The ability to reason, ask questions, debate and challenge what is presented to you.


Creativity is a tendency to generate, make or recognise ideas, propositions and possibilities that bring into existence something new, innovative or different. Imaginative activity fashioned so as to produce outcomes that are both original and of value.

Creative process

The route to generating or encouraging new ideas and possibilities to emerge through iterative, chance, incremental, new or experimental activities

Creative industries

A range of economic activities concerned with the generation or exploitation of creative knowledge and information. The creative industries include advertising, architecture, radio and TV, publishing, the arts and antique markets, designer fashion, crafts, performing arts, design, film, software and computer services, music and computer games

Cultural industries

Often combined with the creative industries, the cultural industries can be defined as those which produce tangible or non tangible artistic and creative outputs and which have a potential for wealth creation through the exploitation of cultural assets. A museum, art gallery, concert hall or theatre can be considered a cultural industry


The behaviours, beliefs and activities of a social, geographical, age defined or ethnic group of people, to include their artistic and creative pursuits


Design shapes ideas to become practical solutions and propositions for customers and users. Design is all around us, everything man made has been designed. The majority of designers work in teams, following a design brief and a process towards realising a commercially driven product, building, system or service


People who are engaged in the production of functional products, services and systems


A product, painting or artefact that is ornamental rather than functional. Applying colour or additions to a product or art work that enhances the look rather than the function


A specific way, a set of procedures and techniques for a specific activity e.g. the discipline of drawing embraces perspective, figure and conceptual ways of working, each with their own specific attributes


To record or observe and make written, visual or digital notes from an event, performance or place

Digital Drawing

Drawing on or with digital technologies, creating images with pixels on tablets or computers

Digital installation

Digital art describes art works and practices that use digital technologies as part or all of the creative process and presentation. A digital installation can include video, laser light and film projections against walls, buildings and into the sky. Digital installations are often site specific

Digital processing and printing

Digital processing and printing, (laser and ink jet printing) is achieved when an image is sent directly to a printer using a digital file or PDF. Unlike offset printing there is no printing plate, nor printing press, and digital prints can be made very quickly

Digital recording

Digital recording is defined as recording audio or video directly onto a storage device as a stream of discrete numbers. Digital recording devices include voice, audio or video recorders,

2 dimensions

Two dimensional space is on the same plane, and is essentially flat, having two characteristics, length and width

3 dimensions

Three dimensional space is in the 'round', and has a combination of three characteristics from the following five terms; length, width, height, depth and breadth. We live in a three dimensional world


The art of representing object and forms on a surface chiefly with the use of line and with pencils, crayons, pens and a variety of mark making instruments. Drawing can be further defined to include figure or life drawing, perspective drawing, orthographical drawing and isometric drawing


To allow paint or ink to fall in drops


Art work, frequently sculptural that is linked to or made from elements of the landscape, to include water, stone, wood and soil. Earthworks are most likely to be seen and experienced in the place where they were made


A tool to remove marks made by pencils or crayons. Erasers, or rubbers, come in different sizes and materials, often plastic or rubber based. A traditional eraser was made from stale bread

Emotional intelligence

The ability to assess, identify, understand and control emotions; both your own and those of other people


An opaque or semitransparent glassy substance applied to metallic or other hard surfaces for ornament or as a protective coating


A printmaking process that uses an acid to bite into a metal surface to create an indentation that holds ink. After printing, the marks created by the acid create the finished image

Etching press

Etching presses come in different sizes, free standing, portable or bench mounted. An etching press will print from metal plates, and functions by slipping a press bed, supporting the metal plate and paper, between two rollers


Conveying thought and feeling

Exhibition designer

The profession of designing a framework or backdrop in a specific space to showcase products and art works


Tools and machinery needed to complete a task. For further information follow this link.


Things that are used or exist for a short time, frequently written or printed memorabilia

Emerging practitioner

A creative practitioner, artist, craftsperson or designer who is new to the profession


Cloth typically produced by knitting, weaving or felting fibres together

Fabric Collage

Using a range of fabrics with differing colours, shapes and textures to create an image by fixing the fabrics purposefully on a surface

Fashion Designers

Designers who work in the clothing and accessory industries with a specific focus on new and seasonal trends and styles

Fine liners

Felt pens using water based ink in a range of bright colours and with thin pointed nibs

Fine artist

An artist who focuses upon painting, sculpture, drawing and printmaking, and producing expressive and non functional outcomes

Film makers

The profession who create motion pictures

Found Images

Images made by somebody else and discovered and appropriated from books, gallery catalogues, magazines and newspapers

Found materials

Materials to include fabric, wood, metal, paper and card; leaves, twigs and stones; broken, recycled or discarded parts or scraps of objects. Materials that have not been bought or created for the purpose of making art, but have been collected from more random sources

Found textiles

Fabrics that have not been purposefully bought, but rather fabrics that have already been made and used, mended, re cycled, up cycled or discarded


The shape or visual appearance, structure or constitution of an object.


Bringing together parts to create a structure or object or image


The technique of placing a sheet of paper over an object, and rubbing the paper with crayon or pencil to create a textured surface from that object


The use or uses to which a product, artefact, service or system can be put.

Furniture maker

A craftsperson or designer who makes functional products for a domestic environment: often working by themselves or as part of a small team: working to commission or for a gallery or shop, frequently creating unique or small batches of products


Clothes, to include non fashion led clothing


A category of artistic composition that shares similarities in form, subject matter or style. Paintings that include views of the sea could be considered in the genre of seascapes


A glaze in ceramics means a coating of a substance applied to a ceramic piece before firing in a kiln. When fired, the gaze will provide a decorative, colourful and protective surface to the ceramic piece. In painting, a glaze means a thin transparent layer of colour spread over an opaque layer of colour to give the effect of glowing e.g. looking at a white wall through a sheet of coloured cellophane.


A water soluble paint that is characteristically opaque

Gum Strip

A brown tape with an adhesive side activated by water. Gum strip comes in a variety of sizes

Glue Gun

A hand tool for the application of adhesives

Glass maker

The profession of making glass objects, windows or art works by moulding or blowing glass

Graphite Stick

A length of carbon, harder than charcoal that can be sharpened into a stick, suitable for drawing

Graphic design

The art or skill of combining text and pictures in advertisements, magazines, or books


Writing or images that have been sprayed, stencilled, painted, scratched or drawn illicitly onto or within a public place or space. Graffiti can be perceived as a form of street art, or as vandalism

Heritage industry

The business of managing places that are important to the history of an area or an event, and encouraging people to visit them


Within a historic context the image of a holy figure: within a contemporary context a person or object who has symbolic significance

Interior Designer

The profession that designs the spaces inside a building


A discipline that seeks to explain a place, idea, product or object, or help to tell a story through figurative imagery

Image capture

An application that enables user to upload images from digital cameras or scanners which are either connected directly to the computer or the network

Intelligent textiles

The ?next generation' of fibres and fabrics that think for themselves through the inclusion of electronic devices or other smart materials to include thermal, magnetic and chemical sensors


Installation art describes an artistic genre of site-specific, three-dimensional works designed to transform the perception or shape of a space


A coloured fluid used for writing, drawing, printing, or duplicating.

Ink Pen

A tool that has an ink reservoir and a holder for different types of nibs to make different types of marks


A method of printmaking whereby the image is incised into the surface. The incision holds the ink and creates the mark or image. Intaglio is the direct opposite of relief printing

Interactive multi media work

Interactive media work can be defined as animation, computer games, photo imaging and publishing. It describes anything where the audience or client engages with the work, such as manipulating a photograph or directing a computer game

Invented mark making tools

A tool invented by the user to make a mark, such as a bamboo cane with charcoal taped on the end enabling the user to draw at a distance from the surface


Decorative items used to adorn parts of the body: jewellers work in many different metals, stones and fabrics, some seeking to create items that fit carefully to a finger or ear lobe, some challenging the conventions and norms of body adornment

Land art

A work of art that combines itself or is at one with the landscape, because it is made from the soil, rocks, wood and stone of the landscape in which it is viewed or experienced

Landscape artist

An artist who is inspired by the natural world and the countryside and makes works that express interest, interrogation, despair or enjoyment of these elements

Laser printing

Laser printing is fast, ink free and precise. It prints by utilising a laser beam on a drum. The light of the laser alters the electrical charge on the drum, which is then rolled through a reservoir of toner. The toner is picked up by the charged sections of the drum, then transferred onto the paper

Laser cutting

Laser cutting is a technology that uses a laser to cut materials. It was initially used by industrial manufacturers, but is now being adopted by schools, colleges and hobbyists

Laser etching

The practice of using lasers to engrave on or mark an object. The process uses neither tool heads nor inks


Single thicknesses or sheets of material placed on top of each other. Washes of paint placed over each other to makes changes in colour

Lens based media

Photography, animation, film, and video. Anything seen through a lens to include the virtual as well as physical lens. 3D animation can be created entirely virtually but the software takes on the metaphor or role of the lens

Letter press

The technique of relief printing using a printing press. Most commonly a printer would compose and move lockable type to create words, but letterpress also refers to other forms of relief printing, to include wood engraving

Letter Cutter

An artist, craftsperson or designer who cuts letters out of surfaces, to include gravestones, monuments and public sculpture, stone walls and surfaces to include metal and wood


The durable and flexible material created by the tanning and curing of animal skin


Lino for printmaking is essentially different from lino as flooring. Printmaking lino comes in soft sheets and can be cut into with a variety of special lino cutters. Once the image has been created, using the cutters as a pencil, the lino is inked up using a roller. After printing onto a sheet of paper, the uncarved areas hold the printing ink and the carved areas remain white

Light based media

Photography, animation, film and video. Anything using light as a medium to create an image or art work, to include the creative use of light boxes and photocopiers

Lifting an impression

Removing a sheet that has been applied to an inked and textured surface in order to create an image

Mark making

Making as wide a variety of dots and lines of differing size, shape and density as you can invent

Mix and apply paint

Combine different colours and thicknesses of paint to explore its tactile qualities and continue to explore it by spreading it on surfaces


A recurrent theme or shape or image or symbol in an art work

Masking tape

A tape that is gently adhesive on one side and can be stuck and unstuck onto surfaces several times before wearing out


Priorities and importance


The ability of a material to be hammered bent or reshaped to the needs or wishes of the artist, craftsperson or designer

Malleable structural materials

Materials that can be strengthened to make 3-dimensional works, such as felt rolled into tubes and balls and canvas soaked in PVA or plaster


The resources that artists, craftspeople and designers use to create work, to include thread, plastic, stone, wood, clay, paint and paper


Different materials used by artists, such as paint, charcoal, clay and thread.


A solid material, an element, alloy or compound that is typically hard and shiny, and features good electrical and thermal conductivity. Creative practitioners use metals because they are generally malleable: they can be hammered or pressed permanently out of shape without breaking or cracking. Fusible; able to be fused or melted, and ductile, able to be drawn out into a thin wire.
For health and safety guidance for a wide range of metals and related products see:
For a selection of craftspeople working in metal see:

Mixed media art works

Art works that can be contemporary or traditional and embrace combinations of materials in the same work to include paint, ink, chalk, pencil etc. Not the same as multi media works which refer to works that include sound art, dance, light and moving image


A method of creating a one off print by rolling ink onto a flat or textured surface and placing a sheet of paper over the surface. A drawing created on the paper will reveal a fuzzy impression on the reverse side when the paper is lifted away from the inked surface.


Representing something in 3 dimensions

Mod roc

Modroc is plaster of Paris in the form of a bandage. It can be cut into lengths and soaked in water then moulded into shape and sets hard when dry.
For health and safety guidance on ModRoc and plaster of Paris see:

Modelling clay

A type of clay that is especially malleable and good for building and sculpture


The technique of selecting, editing, and piecing together separate sections of film to form a continuous whole. Montage was a useful device for overcoming the drawbacks of silent film.


A picture or pattern produced by arranging small pieces of coloured hard metal, stone, clay or glass and fixing them onto a surface

Multi media art works

Contemporary art works embracing a wide range of media to communicate meaning, to include visual art, sound art, moving image, dance and light. Not the same as mixed media art works, which refer to works that include a combination of paint, chalk, glass, ink and pencil etc


A non drying reusable modelling material

Natural Dye

Dyes or colourants derived from plants, animals or minerals. For further information follow this link

Oil paint

A paste made with ground pigment and a drying oil such as linseed oil. A versatile paint that requires turpentine as a thinner and is non water soluble. For further information follow this link

Optical colour mixing

Colour perception that results from the combination of adjacent colour areas by the eye/brain. Pointillism is an example.

Observed sketches

Quick or informal drawings attempting to make a representation of something seen


Generally accepted practices, and the adherence to the disciplines within these practices e.g. sky is always blue, sketchbooks are only for pencil drawings

Oil pastel

Sticks of coloured pigment bound by oil. Oil pastels can be greasy and sticky to use and need fixing or they will smear


A coloured substance that can be thickened or thinned and spread over surfaces. Paint can be water soluble, oil or plastic based, and have opaque or transparent qualities. For further information please follow thus link


The process of creating a work of art on a surface using paint.


Paper comes in many different shapes, textures, weights colours and sizes.


A legal term and system used to protect an idea being copied without prior consent. You can register an idea at the Patent Office, and secure rights to the idea and sell the rights on if you don't realise the idea yourself.


A specific historic time and context of an art, craft or design form


A hands off approach to looking after resources, such as textiles and paintings. Conservationists believe that change and progression are necessary and will use contemporary methods to conserve an item. Preservation is more hands off and will seek to leave something alone rather than attempt to restore it.

Personal expression

Having feelings, thoughts and ideas meaningful to oneself


The relative sizes and shapes in an image or art work

Pattern making

The repletion of elements, shapes, images or symbols that will evolve into a regular, overall surface image

Plaster of paris

A material that begins as a dry power and can be mixed with water to form a paste which liberates heat and goes hard. It can be used for imprinting, casting and carving. For health and safety advice follow this link

Paper lamination

Lamination manufactures a material in layers, paper lamination can bind sheets of paper to each other, or reinforce sheets of paper with a plastic coating via a laminating machine

Papier maché

A modelling substance made from a mixture of torn paper and liquid glue that can be moulded and dried into a specific shape or object, to include sculpture and jewellery


The art of drawing solid objects on a two-dimensional surface so as to give the right impression of their height, width and depth. A picture drawn in such a way, appearing to enlarge or extend the actual space, or to give the effect of distance

Palette knives

A blunt tool used for mixing or applying paint, with a flexible steel blade. It is primarily used for mixing paint colours. The word ?palette' in the name is a reference to an artist's palette which is used for mixing oil paint and acrylic paints. Palette knives come in two types: a ?putty' knife with a round tip, suited for mixing paints on the palette and a painting knife with a pointed tip lowered like a trowel, suitable for painting on canvas

Portrait Artist

An artist who paints people, with an emphasis on the face, personality and attributes of the sitter


The process of making a work of art by making or taking the impression of one surface onto another


A synthetic resin used in varnishes and works as a painting medium. Its full name is polyvinyl acetate.


To nip and manipulate a material between finger and thumb.

Picture surface

The first layer of an image drawn or painted on a surface. The layer may be textured or smooth

Projected installation

An art work created out of light and sound and projected into a space and/or against a surface

Polymer clay

A type of modelling clay made out of PVC. It typically contains no clay minerals but like mineral clay a liquid is added to dry particles until it achieves gel-like working properties, and similarly, the part is put into an oven to harden, hence its colloquial designation as clay. Polymer clay is generally used for making arts and craft items, and is also used in commercial applications to make decorative parts. For more information follow this link.


A soft modelling material that does not harden. Suitable for young children


A craftsperson who focuses on making functional clay products, often throwing them on a purpose made wheel


An art form based on designed activities on film or confined to a time and place


The final, often hand made model of a product ready for consumer testing before going into mass production. Rapid prototyping can also be used, utilising CAM technologies to test the qualities and attributes of a product before manufacture


A series of actions, changes or operations performed in the making or creating of a product or outcomes

Product Designer

A broad term used to describe someone who designs for batch or mass production, usually following a design brief and process and working as part of a team within a company. The design will have been created as a one off and market and consumer tested before being submitted to a manufacturing process


Plastic comes in many shapes, forms and colours. A plastic is an organic polymer that is mouldable. More information about plastics can be found here.
The tern plastic can also be used as a noun to describe art forms that involve modelling or moulding, such as sculpture and ceramics, or art involving the representation of solid objects with three-dimensional effects.

3D printing

A printer that reproduces a solid form

Putty Rubber

A soft kneadable rubber that can be twisted into a point or wedge, and used as both an eraser and a drawing tool


Removing or lessening something


To give something another function

Relief printing

A printmaking technique where the surface of the block are incised or cut away to hold ink and make an image

Repeat printing

Repeating the same pattern or image over and over again to make a single surface design or image


To conclude or complete an art work


The process of creating a work of art that can be seen in the round or as a relief


A thin sheet of a material, card or plastic, with a design cut out from it. A stencil is placed on a sheet of paper or fabric. Paint is rolled or sprayed or dabbed over the stencil. When the stencil is lifted the paint will have marked the paper or fabric through the cut out areas. A stencil can be used over and over again to make a repeat pattern

Surface design

Textile/surface design is the art of changing the appearance of natural and synthetic surfaces by the application of traditional, stylized, digitized, and illusionary techniques to embellish a product. It's also the art of enhancing a surface's structure by applying three-dimensional techniques, such as weaving, knitting, embroidery, lace, devoré, beading, and embossing.


A rough, first, or quick drawing or painting to assist in exploring and planning a more finished art work. A means of information gathering


A vehicle for exploring and containing visual or written prompts ideas and sketches, a means of information gathering, traditionally in a specific book with blank sheets of paper. Sketchbooks can be virtual, they can be handmade, and creative works of art in their own right


The relative size of an object or art work in relation to its surroundings and to itself


To place one on top of another


Techniques and attributes acquired through learning, engagement and practice

Salt dough

A modelling material made out of salt, flour and water, often coloured with food colouring. Salt dough models can be baked in a domestic oven to harden off, and can be painted afterwards


The process of creating an object or work of art that can be seen in the round, or as a relief; often created by modelling, carving, chiselling or building up form by using a variety of materials, to include wood, clay, metal and stone


A form of glazing, using opaque paint over a painted surface that allows the paint underneath to show through. Scumbling can be done with a paint brush or rag to create layers of colour and texture.

Screen print

A printing technique that uses woven mesh in a frame to support an ink blocking stencil to create an image. A squeegee moves ink over the surface of the screen to press unblocked ink onto the paper or fabric on the other side

Site specific

An art work, most usually a sculpture that has been created to be positioned and remain in a specific place, for example the art works commissioned to go on the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square are site specific

Silicone rubber

An elastomer, or rubber like material composed of a polymer called silicone. Widely used in industry and by artists and designers it can be coloured and extruded into many different shapes and designs

Slip casting

A technique for the mass or batch production of pottery, especially for shapes that cannot be made or thrown on a wheel. Slip is liquid clay; the slip is poured into a plaster mould and allowed to form a layer which is dried, removed from the mould, and fired


To cover with spots or droplets, often by shaking or flicking a brush loaded with paint


Using a nozzle or spray bottle, scatter an even shower of droplets over a surface


A tool that has a broad, flat flexible blade to mix, spread or lift

Stone masons

Sculptors who create art works, or functional items such as gravestones and fireplaces out of blocks of stone

Structural armatures

An armature is a type of skeleton or rigid support system for an art work e.g. a large clay sculpture will collapse on itself if it does not have the underlying support system of an armature of wood and chicken wire for the clay to cling onto


To remove something, e.g. creating a clay sculpture by subtracting, rather than adding clay.

Structural textiles

Textiles that are created to function within 3 dimensions, to include soft furnishings such as braiding and tassels. Textiles that may have sculptural or self supporting qualities either in the way they are tailored or created by folding and bending, and by surface treatments such as laminating and heating


A stylist is concerned with the visual and ergonomic impact of a product, artefact or system


A set of interacting or interdependent components forming an integrated whole

Systems designers

A designer who develops a plan or a series of instructions and behaviours to enable people to interact with a product e.g. designing the type pad on a mobile device so it is user friendly


Practical or decorative items made out of cloth

Textile Designer

A designer who creates decorative, meaningful or functional items out of cloth

Technical Vocabulary

Words that describe the tools, processes, equipment and systems within certain activities


A procedure, formula or routine by which an outcome or art work is achieved, to include weaving thread into cloth with a darning needle, carving wood with a chisel and throwing clay on a wheel to make a pot


A water soluble creamy painting medium where pigment is mixed with a glutinous material such as size or egg yolk to create a medium that provides an opaque finish.


A physical item used to achieve a goal. A fashion designer might use a needle and tailors dummy, a jeweller might use a clamp and pliers. Many artists, craftspeople and designers make or invent their own tools for a particular task


A typographer is concerned with the selection and application of typefaces and their arrangement on the page.

Up cycle

A process of converting or repurposing waste products or useless items or materials into new, higher quality products with an enhanced environmental value.


The native dialect, the architecture local to a particular place e.g. the vernacular architecture of Hampshire includes flint and stone walls

Visual symbols

Images seen in everyday life that have an immediate and often shorthand meaning e.g the stick figures used to specify male and female WCs

Virtual Reality

Images developed by a computer that give an impression of reality, within the context of a game that can be explored as if you were really there, or to scrutinise a product in the round before making it out of real material.

Visually literate

The capability to interpret, negotiate, understand and make meanings from information presented as images and symbols.

Visually perceptive

The capability to interpret the surrounding environment, whether physical or virtual, by processing information presented as images and symbols

Virtual publishing

Publishing that is contained to a website, a blog or an online facility; virtual publishing can be distributed free or controlled by a pay wall.

Virtual and time based media

'Time-based media' refers to works of art which depend on technology and have duration as a dimension.

Water soluble paint

Paint that can be thinned and cleaned with water. For further information please follow the link


A painting technique in which a paintbrush is loaded with watery paint and passed loosely over a surface to make a continuous transparent area with little evidence of brushwork


A compound derived from plants, animals, petroleum or synthetically made, with special characteristics that make it ideal for fine and detailed modelling, it becomes very malleable at body temperature.

Wax crayons/markers

A stick of colour pigment bound with wax. Wax crayons are non toxic, don't smudge, and come in many colours. They make excellent crayons for young children as they come in different thicknesses


A craftsperson who had chosen to work in the medium of weave, using yarn, willow, string, paper and plastic, and with a variety of hand, table and freestanding looms


A process of fabric production whereby two distinct sets of yarns are interlocked at right angles to each other. The longitudinal yarn is known as warp and the lateral yarn is known as weft. The main tool for weaving is a loom.


Willow, as a harvested greenwood can be used to create sculptural forms and baskets. It can also be used as a growing product to create ?living sculptures.'


Wires made especially for craft work and sculpture can be obtained in strips or coils, in different colours, plastic coated, mesh, copper or silver and in a variety of gauges.

Wood carving

As a subset of work working, wood carving is reductive; carving removes, rather than adds form to a sculpture or relief. Carving has its own tools and techniques, to include chisels, awls and knives.


A place dedicated to making products or artefacts, containing the tools and materials relating to the development of the product, for example, the workshop of a weaver would contain yarns, needles and scissors and floor and table looms.

Wood working

The process of making products, sculptures and artefacts from wood, using specific tools such as chisels and saws and techniques such as carving, chiselling and planing, and working with specific procedures such as joints.


A long and continuous length of interlocking fibres, often wool or cotton, suitable for the creation of textiles to include knitting, weaving, crocheting and embroidery.


Any means to measure the success of a project, idea, or artwork.