How to Write the Perfect Visual Analysis Essay

What is a visual analysis essay? A visual analysis essay may seem a little complicated at first, but it’s really just a way of analyzing a visual piece (usually in art or art history) and discussing a piece’s components, including colors, forms, concepts, shapes, etc. Using a visual analysis essay example, many students can generally ascertain that a thesis must be formed and defended with evidence and examples taken from the piece and outside resources – much like an argumentative essay.

How to Write a Visual Analysis Essay

  • The Introduction

    The introduction to this kind of writing doesn’t need to be particularly long. The main purpose is simply to introduce the piece you are discussing (for example, visual analysis essay advertisement from the 1950s) by providing relevant background information and stating your position in a concise thesis statement.

    Like other academic pieces, it’s recommended that you start with a strong hook to capture the reader’s attention and compel him or her to keep going. There are several tried and true techniques, including incorporating a quote, a question, and an anecdote. There is a place and a time to use each of these and a student should try out different techniques and options until the best one sticks out.

  • The Body Paragraphs

    The body paragraphs make up the core of your argument. Each paragraph should bring up a single point that supports your thesis statement. It’s generally recommended that you write the body paragraphs before the introduction and conclusion using an outline to guide your writing.

    Each of these paragraphs should have a single topic followed by evidence or example and then a couple of sentences in which you explain how the evidence or example proves your main point. Each paragraph should end with a strong transitional statement, which fluidly moves to the next paragraph. The main purpose of the essay and the body paragraphs is to provide your analysis of the subject. Make sure you don’t stray from this and revise the content accordingly.

  • The Conclusion

    The final paragraph should be written after the body paragraphs and introduction has taken shape. This is because you need a strong close that summarizes and synthesizes all of the main points brought up in the body in support of the thesis. You should restate the thesis or main points word for word but you should tie everything together and use a final closing statement that impacts the reader in a positive way.

Final Thoughts and Further Help

The three major components of this type of essay are similar to those you are already familiar with in argumentative writing. A five-paragraph form is adequate when writing at the high school or college-levels. Obviously, a piece that is written for publication may be longer but the components are the same: the introduction, the body paragraphs, and the conclusion. Reading a few visual analysis essay examples will give students a better idea of what needs to be covered. Examples are available online for free on academic writing sites or they can be custom-written by professionals to fit the exact requirements of any assignment.

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