What does ‘Annotation’ mean?
In this case, it simply means brief notes written next to a piece of art to explain more about it. For example, the techniques you have used and why or why not the work is successful.
Why do we annotate our work?
It is important to annotate your work so that you can constantly evaluate your progress, encouraging you to develop and improve your work, as well as reminding you how and why you did something. You can also gain extra marks at GCSE/AS/A2 by annotating your work using appropriate technical/artistic vocabulary.
Where will I annotate?
In your sketchbook. Some pieces will need just a line or two, whilst other work will require a more detailed explanation. Your writing needs to be neat and legible.
Don’t forget – just because you are writing doesn’t mean you can’t be creative with the look of your text! Be inventive with the layout of your sketchbook! In the past, people have written around the object they have drawn, whilst others have written on acetate and laid it over their images.
How do I annotate?
When writing annotation around your artwork, it is important to use plenty of artistic language (the vocabulary list below should help). You need to note the following when writing your annotation:
  •  What materials have you used and WHY? Were they appropriate for what you were trying to achieve?
  •  What (if it’s not obvious) have you drawn and WHY?
  •  What was the focus of your work (line, tone, texture, etc.)?
  •  What has worked well in the image?
  •  What could you do better next time?
  •  Does the image remind you of artwork by any other artist?
  •  How might you use the image in your work in the future?
  •  How could you now develop the work further (re-do in another media, reduce in size, scan in etc.).
  •  How well have you considered composition, scale, media and use of colour?
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When annotating you need to try and make your written work as creative as your drawings and present it in a way that is as visually stunning as your work. 
With your answers remember to be specific and expressive. You need to be articulate. Also try to avoid repeating yourself eg ……I like this and I like that……I really like the way and what I like most is……I get it, you like it……why? And finally only comment on things you see in your work eg…. don’t talk about colour if it’s black and white!!! 
Here are some key words and sentence starters to help you: 
  •  In this piece of work I find the shapes and forms to be………… 
  •  The Colour and tone of the work is……… 
  •  The surface pattern and texture looks and feels like………… 
  •  Other things I like about this piece are………… 
  •  Overall I am pleased/not pleased with this piece of work because………… 
  •  If I spent a little more time, or could do it again, I might do things differently. I would change……… 
  •  What I find interesting about this piece is…………… 
  •  I have used pencil/pen/charcoal etc in this piece I feel it is appropriate because………… 
Key words to help: 
  •  Media – dry (pencil, charcoal, chalk etc) or wet (paint, ink etc) 
  •  Formal elements – Pattern, shape, tone, texture, colour, line. 
  •  Form, space, area, scale, proportion, perspective 
  •  Blending, shading, harmonising, balance, rhythm, motion, composition. 
  •  Mark making, cross hatching, etching, sketching, drawing 
Other useful words: 
Create, analyse, evaluate, explore. Experiment, investigate, develop, compare, refine, adapt, consider, interpret, convey, apply, and combine, express. 
Key vocabulary:
Abstract
Acrylic Paint
Oil Pastel
Coloured Pencil
Watercolour
Ink
Bleach
Fineliner
Tone
Line
Shape
Pattern
Colour
Perspective
Charcoal
Chiaroscuro
Collage
Composition
Content
Form
Media
Montage
Paint
Colour Scheme
Pastiche
Primary Colour
Complementary Colour
Relief
Scale
Sculpture
S’graffito
Still Life
Primary Sources
Secondary Sources
Texture
Viewfinder
Reduce
Enlarge
Printmaking
Monoprint
Linoprint
Repeat Pattern
Organic
Bright
Bold
Movement
Observation
Accuracy
Detail
Biro
Analysing Images