How to Write a Visual Analysis Essay: Tips, Structure

visual analysis

Any visual analysis essay that you might be confronted with is often required to describe a specific image or visual display. They aim to analyze an image, discuss it in details while explaining how its different components are put together. Typically such essays examine the subject matter of art and history. Their focal point can vary from a photograph, a visual demonstration or some everyday household item like a lamp. The means often used when explaining its purpose are various literary tools. We will further examine different means used to identify these visual effects used by the respective artist to gain a comprehensive understanding of their impact on society and whether this impact was what the creator had intended.

Let me do your task for you!
Hire an expert

The possible topics for any visual analysis essay often vary and come in different dimensions. However, the most common involve concepts such as paintings, drawings, sculptures or architecture. When required to analyze a complex image, it is possible to study for example the given sculpture from multiple angles. Nevertheless, the critical consideration for a well-structured paper is to understand the basic concepts in the various images before taking a position. There have also been cases where one may conduct such an analysis on videos to show their implications in the past and impact on the present. All in all, a visual representation doesn’t need prior contact since it only requires the viewer’s fair interpretation to make an educated claim regarding its context.

Tips When Trying To Analyse The Meaning Of Visual Images

A pig and a plate of bacon as an illustration of the process. Firstly we must accept that any image or artwork we will try to analyze projects some form of claims or ideas of the artist. Therefore, we must learn how to read between the lines when composing our visual analysis essay. Think of it as breaking down what is trying to be transmitted to us by the commercials on TV, nonetheless keep in mind that artwork advertises its hidden messages to us in a much more elusive and eloquent manner.

Some of the key areas we suggest investigating are the purpose of the artist when he made this respective piece, the audience that this was intended for regardless of time period, the methods used to create it and how it was viewed in its historical context as well as how it is described now.

In an attempt to help you save some money here are some free tips regarding visual composition tips that you might find very useful when confronted with writing any visual analysis essay. Initially one should examine how the image or art piece itself was composed and arranged. What is the message it is trying to send to us? One should also look at how the elements of the art piece support the initial thesis by studying the focal point, layout structure, symbolism, color usage, key figures, stereotypes and omissions.

The focal point is where the center of attention is, a composition in how the image puts together different elements, the image’s color, its possible meanings, texture, as well as the shape and form. The focal point requires you to find what is the center point of the piece and where is it located, e.g. is right in the center or placed in a particular way for a reason? Layout structure is used to go into more depth as to why the subject matter of the piece was structured in such a manner? Does this particular layout support the symbolism being used or does it try taking our attention away from it? These are all questions one should have in mind when examining all these elements for their visual analysis essay.

One of the best ways to keep the reader interested is by introducing him to the artwork and presenting some fun facts about the artist or the artwork. It should capture the reader’s attention by either describing the image, telling about its creation date and some events, highlighting its purpose or note a contradicting element. Most visual analysis essay writers prefer using controversial facts or strange misunderstandings regarding their assignments to keep the readers curious. Others have chosen to use comparison as their means to find common ground with the reader. Both options are worth exploring in our experience. Nonetheless, it is important to always remain relevant to the task at hand so that one may avoid getting side-tracked by adding too much information.

Ideally in order to describe artwork as accurately as possible one would require a background in art appreciation. However, as previously mentioned due to us being exposed to so much visual imagery and special effects due to the internet, action movies and all sort of advertisements on TV we are accustomed to breaking down the meaning of things including hidden background messages. Following this train of thought it is clear that everyone is capable of analysing images, however it will generally be done without a large majority of the technical terms. Despite that fact one should still be able to point out the motifs of the painting through the use or colors, tones, different brushstrokes, significance in the painting, positioning in the painting, etc. All these motifs and symbolisms are meant to generate a reaction out of this audience in this case you and implicitly your readers.

Citing the images used and those being assessed correctly is necessary as to avoid plagiarism while writing your visual analysis essay. No matter what topic is chosen it is vital to show us what you are going to talk about therefore letting the audience see what it is.

How To Structure Your Visual Analysis Essay

ABC content structure illustration. Writing a visual analysis paper is different in several ways from general evaluations mainly due to its structure and designated target audience of the essay. Before starting to write, it is crucial to analyze the various circumstances of your image. For instance, if the visual design has more than one item, there is a high probability that there are different and contradictory interpretations depending on the number of items. Similarly, the writer should understand his/her audience and adjust their use of language and content depending on their distinguished characteristics. Most importantly, there should be a thesis statement that gives the meaning of the image unlike in other circumstances where it highlights the components in an essay.

Introduction Methods

Introduce us to the artist explaining his relevancy and that of this particular work. Let the readers know what people thought of him or her and their artwork in their time period. Keep in mind not to over list facts and keep it interesting by using controversial interpretations and opinions regarding your work.

One of the best ways to start is to articulate a thesis statement about the object being analyzed. When defining your thesis we recommend you review the meaning of the image at the time for the artist as well as the audience, the meaning this artwork bears to you personally and to us as a modern society, examine the changes in public opinion this artwork has undergone throughout history, the explanations of why this particular artwork caused such reactions and lastly how well you think the image managed to portrayed what the artist intended it to portray.

The reason for doing so is that it is quite helpful to have a clear reference point while researching the topic. It inherently allows one to create much narrower and specific guidelines to help separate the useful information from unnecessary or repetitive observations.

Body I

For some it is best to express their personal opinion about a particular work first before researching it thoroughly as it will change their interpretation of the subject matter.

According to what suits you best we always recommend assessing the work subjectively in order to note one’s personal observations. Do not hesitate to explore observing the image from all angles as this will often reveal things that were hidden before. Art has always been used to point out its motifs strange ways hence it is vital to explore all possible angles in order to find various clues that the artist has left for us.

When it comes to paintings in particular do not forget to take note of the brushstrokes used within the respective work. They can belong to an extensive part of categories and often reflect something about the subject matter such as the class of a person in the painting due to the different brushstrokes used. That is why we continuously encourage revising all minute details to the bone as you can never know what you might discover.

Body II

Judging from the previous point we understand that you might be thinking: “What am I going to do? How will I recognize so many elements in such a short time?" Do not worry there are many art enthusiast courses that will provide you with most if not all the necessary knowledge to create a thrilling visual analysis essay. The aspects of any art work that most average miss are the components of the work that make it a piece of interest to the audience whether it be your professor, enthusiasts or even professionals. However, if you do not have the necessary time, funding or energy to go through such an ordeal we recommend using essay writing services for a premium essay at more than affordable prices. "Write me an essay" services will definitely make your life easier and full of free time for yourself.

After having understood your personal view of the subject matter it is crucial to analyse it and describe it in an objective manner in order to help discover the purpose the artist had in mind for it. Whether or not the work managed to create that impact is in part given by our original reaction to it since as the observers are part of the audience the masterpiece was intended for.

Body III

We strongly recommend that your visual analysis essay follow a structured cataloguing of the elements found in the respective work of art. More often than not this is one of the most tedious processes in the entire assignment as one must proceed chronologically to list the respective elements either from the subject matter onward, top to bottom or left to right. It is important to make a note of why you have chosen to analyse it in this particular manner as it might affect the way it is perceived.

Always use facts to support your observations regarding motifs. These are often found in the historical placing of the art piece as that will give lots of information about the symbolism being used and what it meant to people at the time. Explaining how we view this now compared to back then is often a good way to show how the interpretation of said artwork has evolved throughout time.


Do not be ashamed to be wrong. A visual analysis paper is meant to draw up a conclusion using the evidence you have gathered as well as your observations. If it happens that the information found and your observations indicate that your thesis is wrong summarize the reasons supported by your previous arguments as to why it ended up being so. Remember to avoid adding any new information about your respective topic as this will confuse the reader as to why this was not mention at all earlier and only now. Putting together all these pieces using this particular structure will always guarantee you the best possible grade.

Check out our another guide about painted essay at EssayHub blog.

Why Use Our Service?

Welcome to EssayHub where helping you become an A grade student at any academic level is not just a possibility, but a reality proven by pur essay writers. In order to help introduce new customers to our premium service, we provide various informational blogs on topics that interested you or have been heavily solicited by clients. This is just one of our many guides and blogs custom tailored to assist our customers in tackling their endeavors. We have helped thousands of students and professionals succeed in academia. We hope that you have found our visual analysis essay guide helpful and look forward to helping you with your next assignment. If you still need assistance, buy an essay from our pros now!

Write my paper
Place An Order Now And Get These Features For Free!
  • Plagiarism Report
  • Unlimited Revisions
  • 24/7 Support