How to Make a Shoe for GCSE Art Projects

The GCSE is the General Certificate of Secondary Education in the United Kingdom for students ages 15 to 18. Students who plan on applying for college need to qualify in one of the 40 academic and nine 'applied' subjects. GCSEs take two years for students to complete and include course work and projects or artwork assessments. For the Art and Design GCSE, a theme or topic is chosen for the students to create a final project. For a GCSE shoe project, students must relate shoes to their specific theme.

Consider the theme given to you by the GCSE exam board for your final shoe art project. For example, if the theme is "Natural and Man-made," and it must relate to shoes, use cultural and social references that you have learnt from the two years in your GCSE class. Perhaps a connection between shoes that connect men to the Earth or nature would be appropriate.

Paint a common sneaker in the middle of your composition on your prepared canvas. Observe a real sneaker still life, and paint it as well as you can. Forty per cent of your overall marks is dependent on this final art exam.

Paint a dividing line between your sneaker and the ground underneath. Conceptually, the shoe will be the border between the natural world and the man-made world, like the theme given by the exam board.

Add a realistic ankle and leg above your sneaker, or as much as the canvas size allows. Add the bottom of the trousers just above the ankle. Around the leg, paint man-made landscape of skyscrapers, oil refineries and smoke stacks on industrial looking buildings. The scale of these buildings should be the size of the line to the top of the canvas. This is not a realistic perspective, but it is an surreal play on the theme of man-made.

Under the ground of the sneaker, paint a natural landscape of green rainforests and pristine beaches. Add exotic animals like tree frogs and parrots. This area should be an imaginative portrayal of the natural world as opposed to the man-made world. Conceptually, the shoe keeps man out of the natural world or buffers man from the natural world.


Many ideas can be created from your given theme and shoes for your GCSE exam. Try to utilise all the skills you learnt during your two years to impress the exam board. There is not one right answer in an Art and Design GCSE project, but you must exhibit your craftsmanship and your ability to relate it to a given theme. Be sure to do all your reading and work during the course, so you are not scrambling at the end.


Avoid trying something completely new for your final exam. It may work against you if you decide to create a sculpture when you have been painting for two years.

Things You'll Need

  • GCSE theme
  • Paints
  • Brushes
  • Prepared canvas
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About the Author

Charong Chow has been writing professionally since 1995. Her work has appeared in magazines such as "Zing" and "Ocean Drive." Chow graduated from the University of Miami with a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy. She also received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the California Institute of the Arts.