Why experiment?

Student carnival-themed drawings using different media
Experimenting with different materials is a good way to develop different visual elements in your project and to try out different effects

Understanding the properties of different materials and how they might be used can help you make effective choices in art and design work.

Be open-minded when experimenting. Don’t be afraid to try things. Even if something is unsuccessful, you will have shown that you have tried and learned valuable lessons.

Choice of materials and technique will affect the style of your work. Try different materials to find out which you enjoy working with, and which produce effects you are interested in.

Where to start

If you are already confident with some materials, try using them in different ways.

If there is a technique you like using with one material, try using a different material in a similar way.

Remember that you can experiment with the materials that form your background or structure. Try using different colours, textures, shapes and forms of background.

Look at the work of artists you find inspiring and find out about how they work. Copying an example of their technique may help you to develop the style you are trying to achieve.

Recording your experiments

It is important to record your experiments with materials and techniques.

Concentrate on those that worked well - these can be useful later on when presenting and evaluating your work.

Keep a reference to the unsuccessful experiments too - these can be useful to look back on and reflect on your choices.