HSC Intensive Studio Practice

The NAS HSC Intensive Studio Practice program is endorsed by the NSW Education Standards Authority and has been offered by NAS to Year 11 Visual Arts students in all government and non-government high schools since 2000. 

This program is designed for students seeking to further their studies in Visual Arts for the HSC and beyond to tertiary level and who are considering a career in the Visual Arts.  Taught by practising artist lecturers, students have the opportunity to develop their art making skills and portfolio in professional studios. This unique program attracts passionate visual art students from around the state and provides an opportunity for them to establish new relationships with like-minded peers.

Applicants must be endorsed by their Visual Arts teacher, are achieving at the highest level of excellence in their Preliminary Visual Arts Course and demonstrate a mature attitude to their studies.

Applications for 2024 intake open January 2024.


Black & White Darkroom Photography

Students use the traditional fine art medium of black and white (silver gelatin) photography to explore photography’s specific visual language and concerns. Using 35mm SLR film cameras, they create negatives from which they print a series of black and white photographs in the darkroom. Students undertake sustained exploration of the fundamental expressive tools of composition, light, tone, subject matter and editing.


Students will explore a specific theme that encompasses the natural environment, working with clay and other raw materials to refine and translate their experiences and observations. Students will investigate and combine a range of ceramics processes to extend and enrich their knowledge and scope of the ceramic studio, as well as the possibilities of clay, glaze and firing, starting from the research and development of ideas through to the presentation of finished artwork for exhibition.

Digital Photography

Students will use the fine art medium of digitally-produced photography to explore specific visual language and concerns. In a sustained exploration of the fundamental expressive tools of composition, light, colour, subject matter and editing, students will examine the manipulative possibilities particular to digitally produced photography and the resulting ideas expressed.

Life Drawing

This course will focus on drawing the human figure and students will spend the entire program drawing from the undraped life model. Through intensive studio practice students will develop their observational drawing skills while studying the inherent structure of the form, proportional relationships and the role of perspective in foreshortening. Different methodologies of depicting form will be employed from quick gestural drawings to sustained exploration of the figure in a spatial context.


Students who have chosen this discipline will participate in the process of transcription: the analysis and appropriation of an historically significant image by research and practice. Through this process they will interpret the formal qualities and language of an historically significant painting by observation of surface, composition, planar and architectural space as well as cultural and conceptual concerns. In focussing on subjective analysis and research they will be encouraged to develop a personal response to the artistic language of the work with their new perspectives informing the medium.


Students will investigate and combine a range of printmaking processes to extend and enrich their knowledge and scope of the printmaking studio. They will focus on the use of etching in an exploration of contemporary technical, aesthetic and creative concerns. The course will promote independent research and foster the development of individual ideas to produce a folio of prints.


The aim of the course is the development of a set of 3D figurative concepts. In developing their art works within different methods of sculpture all students will undertake a sustained exploration of the human figure. Students will begin with a study in clay and progress to a further study of the human form. The final project entails producing a large scale figure using construction methods. An emphasis is placed on a reinterpretation of sculptural conventions and traditions.

Course Dates

The dates for the 2023 HSC program are:

Module 1: Tuesday 11 – Friday 14 July 2023 and

Module 2: Monday 25 – Friday 29 September 2023

The National Art School (NAS) reserves the right to review students after Module 1. Students will be invited to continue on to Module 2 if they have met the criteria of Module 1 and displayed excellence in their chosen media.

Course Fee

The fee for all students who are accepted into the NAS HSC Intensive Studio Practice is $450. All regional students who require boarding will be asked to pay an additional $450 ($900 total). This will be payable on acceptance to the course.

Boarding facilities are strictly limited and will be offered only to regional students who have no other accommodation alternatives. Boarding students will be offered share accommodation at a nearby hotel and will be supervised at all times by two teachers. Students living within the Sydney Metropolitan and Blue Mountains area, the Central Coast and Wollongong will not be offered boarding facilities and will need to commute.

In the event of the student needing financial assistance, a “NAS Regional Boarding Scholarship” may be applied for on the application form. This will cover full or partial fees. Eligible students are those who, due to financial restrictions and without the scholarship, would find it difficult or impossible to attend the program. A letter of support from the school should accompany the application outline the student’s eligibility.