Tips And Tricks For Creating A Good Visual Analysis Essay

A visual analysis essay can be tricky to write. It involves technical writing skills, but these must be used to create a piece that is subjective and more personal than other types of formal writing. This is why many good writers stumble when they’re asked to analyze images or other artworks. You may need a few pointers to help you with this kind of coursework.

5 Tips for Creating a Good Visual Analysis Essay

  • Understand the assignment. It often happens that a visual analysis piece only needs to center on your personal interpretation of an artwork. At other times, you may have to make a formal analysis of the elements of a painting or photograph. Make sure you know which approach is required for the class you are taking.
  • Take time to observe the subject of your analysis. Start by noting how the artwork makes you feel when you look at it, then pay attention to details, such as the use of lighting and the heaviness of brushstrokes or chisel marks. Carefully record your first impressions as these will be useful later on.
  • Consider the history and context of the artwork. Even if you only need to write a reflection on a sculpture or painting, you can add depth to your assignment by drawing on the artwork’s origins and the artist’s motives for creating it.
  • Describe the artwork and come up with a main thesis statement. This will serve as the introduction of your assignment, and it may take up one or two paragraphs. Use simple, vivid language when you write about the artwork’s appearance, and confidently present the claim or thesis statement you have to make regarding it.
  • Identify visual details that support your claim. The body of your assignment will be devoted to pointing out the elements of the artwork that support your thesis statement. For example, contrasting areas of light and dark can be said to heighten the drama in an image, while softer, blurred lines can contribute to a gentle, dreamlike quality. If you have a limited word count, focus on only 2 or 3 details, and summarize these in your concluding paragraph.

If you have time, it will also be helpful if you read books, periodicals or blogs that are dedicated to art. All of these involve some form of visual analysis, and familiarizing yourself with the techniques and language they use will help you write a better essay.