Exploring your Theme

When we are working creatively it is important that we don't rush straight to a final idea because if we do so we may miss opportunities for better ideas along the way. It is important to follow the creative process as much as possible. This is particularly important for your GCSE projects as would limit your opportunities to show 'development' or the 'journey' of your ideas. 

Throwing the Net Wide

Instead of jumping straight into a seemingly great final idea we want to 'throw the net wide' and explore as many ideas as possible. During this process, we treat every possible idea as equal. As you explore potential ideas throughout your project you will 'reel in the net' and gradually narrow down your ideas into one central idea.

Showing Development

One of the most important things you must demonstrate you can do within your project is showing ‘development’ within your work. You are aiming to show the ‘story’ of your ideas. This must show how you got from your first ideas and areas of research to your final outcome by documenting all the thoughts, ideas and decisions you have made along the way.

Ways to Explore a Theme


The simplest way to explore your ideas is to write a list of every possible idea. It's not the most interesting way to explore your ideas though. 


A Mindmap is a list that has been organised to make it easier to understand how ideas are connected.


Drawing out a few opening ideas can be a great way to get started. These initial ideas should not be treated as final.


Collecting inspirational images, market research and colour palettes can be a helpful resource to inspire you later with your ideas.

"any visually pleasing representation of ideas"

How to Mindmap Effectively 

When your teacher asks you to begin to explore ideas (or even specifically to create a mindmap) they are almost always going to be happy with any visually pleasing representation of ideas - whether it is a mindmap, spider diagram, list or moodboard. So long you have made a thorough record of a range of ideas and possibilities.

If you're stuck, a reliable way to start is to write (or draw) the name of your theme in the centre of the page and then draw some main branches outwards. Each of these branches should represent a key aspect of your theme. Then draw smaller branches off the main ones to break down each aspect into smaller ideas, using single words or images to represent individual ideas.

Advice for Mindmaps

When mindmapping for high school art projects, follow the following  advice to help set yourself up for success: