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How To Write A Visual Analysis Essay?

Some students may not have heard of visual analysis essays. Yes, the term itself is complicated. In simple words, a visual analysis essay explains the image and discuss the ways of its integration. For this reason, visual analysis essays are common in subjects like History, Art History, or English Literature courses. If you are given the task of crafting a visual analysis essay, don’t panic. Keep calm and try to know the requirements. Interpretation of the image for the artist isn’t easy if you aren’t aware of its historical context. This is not the end. You also need to scrutinize the relevance of the image for today. 

Here You Can also Read About Rhetorical Analysis Essay

What is Visual Analysis?

There is a certain meaning behind all images. However, only a few succeed in understanding that. Those who succeed begin few steps ahead when it comes to crafting a visual analysis essay. Generally, advertisements make these claims openly and urge you to the claim in the text. Instances are there when works of art are more subtle, but apparently, they persuade the viewers to believe in something. If you want to craft an effective visual analysis essay, you need to consider the following aspects:

  1. Why did the artist draw this image?
  2. The audience
  3. How was the image composed?
  4. The historical context when the image was created and when it is viewed.

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How Can You Start the Paper?

  1. Claims: Look for the claims that the image makes. Also, determine the type of claim, i.e., whether it is a fact claim, definition claim, course claim, value claim, or policy claim.
  2. Visual composition: Next, you have to probe into the image pattern. Try to answer these questions:
  • How is the image composed or arranged?
  • Examine the aspects of composition like layout, balance, colour, key figures, symbols, stereotypes, and exclusions that make the claim
  1. Genre:You also need to assess the genre of the image. Movies, advertisements, fine arts, graphic art, news photograph, etc., are some of the examples of image genre.
  2. Text: Analyze the effectiveness of any text or caption to provide meaning to the visual.
  3. Appeal: In this phase, you should answer the following questions:
  • How does the image appeal to the audience?
  • Are the appeals driven by logic/emotion/character/authority? Are any of these appeals deceiving?
  1. Selling:Does the claim highlights a sales pitch? Does it use a common cultural symbol in a manner that exploits that picture?
  2. Story:Does the image convey any story? If yes, what? How does this story appeal to the audience?

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Sample outline of visual rhetorical analysis essay

  • Introduction: Here, you should state the basic art facts. View the image citation for this reason. Your job will be to keep the readers hooked into the content by implementing one of the following strategies:
  1. Describe the image vividly so that the audience can view it from your description.
  2. State the process of image creation.
  3. Explain the artist’s purpose for creating this image.
  4. Include interesting facts about the art and artist.
  5. Bring a debatable issue about the art to the table.
  • Thesis:Craft the thesis in a manner so that it conveys the meaning of the image.
  • Body:Now, support your thesis statement with four or five main ideas. However, those ideas must be aligned to the meaning of the creative piece. You can also use questions in the pre-writing sections for new ideas.
  • Conclusion:Most writers try to conclude by repeating the thesis statement. However, it’s a wrong approach completely. Rather, you should make efforts to incorporate a final interesting fact or try one of the following methods:
  1. Compare the painting reception by the audience who viewed it with their own ideas initially. You can also look for ways people today may decipher the picture.
  2. Speculate on the thinking of the artist in a manner his/her image has been viewed over time.
  3. Compare this picture to other similar images.
  4. You have to suggest how this art piece fits into an artist’s work or the advertisement campaign of an organization.

How can You Describe Images Effectively?

The student who is assigned the task of a visual essay analysis may not have an art background. If you are one of those, don’t worry. Always believe in your knowledge more than you realize.

  • Everyone can decipher the significance of images:Even if you don’t have an idea about analyzing an art piece, you must be acquainted with the tricks that artists often use to generate a reaction in the readers’ minds. For example, an artist makes the most critical elements larger and light, while the unimportant ones are in the background or fading darker. Recognizing symbolic colours is easy, such as red means blood or danger or emergency. Anything green signifies close to nature, and blue reveals cool and relaxation.
  • Closely look at the image:When you are writing a visual analysis paper, you have to give a vivid description of the image coupled with an assessment of the visual composition of the image to explain how the creator integrated the image to generate meaning.
  • Trust your own eyes:It’s important to study the image before researching the history of the picture. In this way, you can write out your thoughts without getting influenced by others.

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Analyzing the meaning of visual images

Some typical ways to scrutinize images for deciphering their meaning are listed below:

  1. Assessing the image significance for the artist and its relevance in his/her time.
  2. Analyzing the significance of the picture for you and the present context.
  3. Scrutinizing the modifications in the meaning of an image over time.
  4. Assessing the audience reaction to the image.

Visual analysis essay examples

Some of the visual essay examples are listed below:

  1. Political cartoon analysis essay
  2. Photo analysis essay
  3. A rhetorical analysis of Hayward’s “How to think about oil spills?”
  4. “Born of Fire” visual analysis
  5. A rhetorical analysis of “The Right Stuff.”
  6. The Great Influenza: Rhetorical Analysis
  7. A formal analysis of Warhol’s “Statue of Liberty.”

While writing a visual analysis essay, your approach needs to be different from conventional essay types. If you are aware of the requisites, things become simplified undoubtedly, but what’s most important is the aesthetic element in your thinking prowess. Your visual essay will go in the right direction only if the interpretation is correct. Everybody can write, but what’s needed is the artistic frame of mind with insights.

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