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How To Find Good Visual Essay Topics: Guidelines And Examples

A basic set of guidelines to help in the production and development of visual essays

What are visual essays?

The utilization of images, illustrations and other forms of image representation in addition to textual expressions in the form of words to posit an expression of thought or opinion is called a visual paper writing.

What can be achieved by the use of visual writing papers?

Visual essays can be used to recollect some events, make an argument or a claim, explain a certain issue or topics, illustrate some problematic situation, or even tell a personal anecdote.

Often times visual papers are finally represented in the form of slides or videos, but they can also be in the form of posters.

What purpose is served via visual essays?

Visual papers are usually more interesting and attractive when compared to ordinary textual papers. The addition of music, illustrations, videos, impactful quotes and strong pictures catch the attention of the audience in a more powerful manner than the ordinary papers.

What could be the constituents of visual papers?

A strong visual paper will be attractive as well as informative. This combination can be achieved by a dynamic utilization of some or all of the following elements:

What will the process of creating a visual essay entail?

The entire process will be a series of basic steps that in coalesce produce a compelling work product.

Firstly, brainstorming gets the process going, consequent planning and research follow.

Secondly, amassing images and videos from various sources so as to give the paper an interactive outlook is followed.

Thirdly, a good publishing or editing software should be used to put together the various items that you have collected.

Lastly, a good and interactive presentation of the paper is the most critical step. You may have a killer visual paper, but if you cannot present it well when you upload it on YouTube, or show it in class, then it will almost invariably fail to impress.

What must one do to start the process?

The determination of the topic and the scope of the essay will cut short your work significantly. A topic is any broad issue or theme about just about anything. Within a topic there are multiple scopes or aspects or factors that are in play. You must decide which is the particular aspect about which you want to talk.

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The official poster for the movie “Step Up” is the piece of work that we carry out its visual analysis in this paper. This poster is appropriate and effectively used to represent the contents of the movie. The most outstanding image in the poster is that of a handsome man and a beautiful woman which covers almost half space of the poster. The man and the woman have their foreheads in contact to each other with the man slightly bending his head downwards whereas the woman’s head tilted upwards. The man as seen in the poster is physically strong which is clearly brought out by his masculine right hand. According to the poster, the man appears to be slightly taller than the woman. Also, the woman is seen to have long hair which go down to her back which complements the man’s medium sized hair and scattered facial hair. The woman is dressed in with a tight trouser and a scant top in a manner that leaves her waist upwards to close to her chest nude. Moreover, the poster of the giant image places the man and the woman so close to each other with the man touching the neck of the woman who in turn is seen to touch the man slightly above the waistline in such a romantic gesture. The poster shows the upper bodies of both of them which is slightly above their thighs. In addition, the man is seen to be looking at the woman who in turn seems to be overwhelmed by emotions as indicated by her closed eyes. The up close posture clearly shows that they feel each other’s breathe.

Furthermore, the poster has an image of a guy in the background of the giant image. The image is of a guy who seems to be dancing and is big enough to cover the background of the image of a man and woman. Below the giant images are images of several individuals who are seen in a dancing mood. The images suggest a large crowd in a dancing mood whereby all the dancing styles are exposed by the different images. The background of the entire poster is a mix of black and blue colors. The phrases “Step Up 3D” and “Take the biggest step of all in 3D” are written on the poster in white and red colors respectively. There are other letters that are not clearly visible.

The giant image of the man and a woman who are close together suggest that the movie has characters in love. The posture of the man and woman in the image indicate that the affair is so deep with romantic involvement. The man holding the neck of a woman is a strong sense of romance which puts the woman at a great pleasure since research has indicated that the neck is usually sexually sensitive. Therefore the outstanding image of the man and woman passes a clear message that the movie has romantic involvement from the onset. When we go further into our analysis, we discuss the background image of a dancing guy behind both the man and the woman. The image suggests a person dancing which clearly depicts that the activity in the movie is dancing. The fact that this image is behind both the man and woman is symbolic to suggest that it is actually dancing that brings the two lovers together. This suggests that dancing ignites love between characters and can be clearly seen in the movie as it just appears on the poster.

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In addition, this posture where a man and woman are close and in front of a dancing guy could be taken to mean that the two are actually the main dancing partners in the movie. The woman posture indicates that she is flexible as observed in her slight bend towards the man and closing the gap at the waistline. This depicts that the two partners are dancing together closely in the movie while displaying their characteristic romantic moves. The masculine characteristic of the male counterpart indicate the strength needed for the purposes of dancing which may involve lifting of the woman while displaying different dancing styles. The flexibility of the woman suggests that it is possible for her to move in several styles with the support of the strength of the male counterpart as seen in the poster.

The images of several persons dancing on the bottom of the poster suggest that actually there are several dancers involved in the movie. They are not outstanding in the poster which implies that they are only support characters to the main dancers. The images are seen to be of several characters with different dancing styles ranging from standing, jumping and even others dancing upside down. These images capture the expected styles to be seen in the movie as used by the characters. The fact that they are below the giant image of the two key characters indicate that they are actually under the guidance of two dancers. In addition, the several images suggest that those involved in the dancing are a mixture of both men and women who are vigorous and excited. This indicates that the dancing used in the movie is characterized by quick and vigorous moves accompanied by cheering characters which creates an exciting dancing environment in the movie.

The background colors of black and blue which blend well indicates that the movie is being cast may be at night or at enclosed area with the use of background disco lights. This is a characteristic feature of any dancing event. Furthermore, the phrases written on the poster are very important in giving the name of the movie. It could be difficult to understand the pictures without any words. The name of the movie is conspicuously larger than all other phrases and is designed to catch attention of the observer without any difficulty in reading. Therefore anyone can easily see the images on the poster and connect with the phrase “Step Up 3D” to understand that it’s a poster that advertises a dancing in a movie. The second visible phrase is inscribed in red to catch attention of the viewer of the poster. The other phrases which are not visible at a glance suggest that there are more facts about the movie that can only be understood by taking a closer look of the poster. This implies that you actually need to watch the movie so that you can understand hidden features in which all could not be expressed in the poster.

The entire image in the poster is effective in passing the idea of the movie. The movie actually involves a street dancer Tyler Gage who met with Nora Clark at Maryland School of Arts. The two were brought together by dancing when Nora noticed Taylor dancing at the parking area while serving community service at the school. They met at the time when Nora wanted a dancing partner at the time when her partner Andrew had a strain. The two newly found dancers realized that they were a perfect match and began to have feeling for each other both on and off the stage. They become lovers dancing to fame attracting a lot of attention as they lead a group of several dancers. The problem could arise when Andrew returned to good form which leaves Tyler at a choice whether to go back to miserable life or proof that he can stay on through the deciding performance (, Inc., 2010)). This is clearly portrayed in the poster making it effective enough for the purposes of giving a visual impression of the movie. The overall presentation captures across the movie except on the part of Andrew who had a strain. It is not clear on the poster that there was a guy being replaced by Tyler for the purpose of dancing.

In conclusion, this movie poster is directly related to the events occurring in the movie making it an appropriate representation. The physical description matches that of the characters in the movie. The rhetorical analysis of the same shows how different images represent a feature of the movie. Therefore it is a poster which is appropriately and effectively used to represent the movie details. This movie poster can be rated at seven out of ten and has room for further improvements.

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20 Outstanding Topic Ideas For Your Next Visual Essay

Do you need to create a virtual essay? Perhaps you don’t even know what one is, let alone know what subject you should choose. Maybe you’re feeling like the world expects too much of you and you can’t deal with the amount of pressure! Well, chill and know that there’s always help available! Not only that, but a visual essay can be a lot of fun as well! After all, you may be somewhat bored or tired from writing all those other lengthy assignments, so here’s your chance to present an essay in a different format; which therefore requires alternative thinking. So…

What is it?

This type of project, as you might have guessed, is heavily reliant on images. Most visual essays are created as slideshows or videos, though sometimes other formats are required or acceptable. It will often include words as well as pictures. Be sure to check the requirements for the particular project you’ve been set.

What are they about?

These sorts of assignments can focus on a whole range of subjects. They can tell a personal story, make an argument or pinpoint a social problem, for instance.

Illustrate your work with images from personal or known sources and create soundtracks of music and spoken word- there’s a lot you can be creative with here! Choose a theme that is close to your heart and you can’t go wrong.

Have a good think about the sort of title you might choose yourself. Here are my twenty helpful suggestions to help you on your way.

  • Everyday life in Palestine.
  • A photographic essay on the Taj Mahal.
  • Constructing Mount Rushmore.
  • Celebrating Gay Pride in London.
  • The horses on my grandfather’s ranch.
  • A brief history of Kung Fu masters.
  • The main themes of William Blake.
  • Summer camp: the year I stopped bullying others.
  • The global economy needs restructuring.
  • Tea Parties should be abolished.
  • Why do we ignore the destruction of the rainforest?
  • My brother’s band: ‘Dead Meat’- a documentary.
  • John Milton’s Paradise Lost – its main themes explored in paintings and drawings.
  • Don’t forget how revolutionary Cubism was to the art world at the time!
  • My two weeks as a military cadet.
  • My bedroom diary.
  • An animation in favour of equality for the poor.
  • The war on drugs in music, pictures and voices.
  • The threat of ISIS.
  • The world’s not real: a quantum physics perspective on the nature of reality and who we are.

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The Visual Essay

Visual Essay

What Does Creating a Visual Essay Imply?

To begin with, a visual essay appears to stand out of the crowd. Actually, it is a totally different assignment from a classic essay. The point is that while covering this written task, you shouldn’t write anything at all except for some short informative statements!

In fact, this academic assignment requires expressing your thoughts on this or that topic using:

Moreover, to present your point of view on the required topic you may combine all above-mentioned means with some short informative statements related to the theme.

Handling Visual Assignments

Clearly, the most difficult and challenging step while fulfilling this task is finding really suitable and gripping visuals, pictures and images to use. Obviously, it presumes using creative approach and skills. In other words, ability to generate fresh ideas seems to be a determinant factor on your road to success.

Recommendations on Composing a Visual Essay

Are there any clear effective hints, which can help you to create your visual paper with ease? Of course, there are! And you shouldn’t seek for them, because they are posted below:

  • Surf the web and use camera to collect the data for your essay.
  • Incorporate thought provoking visuals, images and pictures in your paper.
  • To make your presentation more griping feel free to use graphs, various charts and bars.
  • All the data you want to use should be up-to-date and relevant.
  • Don’t forget about numerous visuals aids while defending your paper.
  • Show your paper to your relatives of friends before submitting it. They may give you favorable advice as well.

Competent Help with Visual Essays

Still feel a little bit frustrated because of these academic assignments? Don’t fall into despair! There is always a way out from any tough situation! Visual papers are not an exception.

How to Write a Visual Essay

By Marlene Inglis, eHow Contributor

Visual essays tell a story either by using text or props.

A visual essay can be a group of pictures depicting or exploring a topic without any text or it can be a combination of visuals or images plus text. Your essay can be a commentary on ideas ranging from gardening to social uprisings and can focus on political or environmental issues. Pictures used in your essay can be current pictures or ones collected over a period of time and the essay can be presented either as a word document or as a .jpeg image file format with some accompanying text.

  1. Create your visual essay by deciding which format you will be using for your essay. Remember that the purpose of your essay is to inform, persuade or enlighten your reader. Create an essay that is factual but not boring, lots of images or pictures but not enough to overwhelm, thought provoking but not thoughtless.
  2. Use charts, bars or graphs to tell your story. Select a subject such as statistical processing control (SPC), a process used in the manufacturing industry to monitor product quality, and create graphic charts, bars and graphs. Use vivid colors in your presentation so your audience can observe and compare the variations in manufacturing the product over certain times of the year. Create comparative charts and graphs to show the current year’s product quality compared to previous years. Using the appropriate visuals for your subject matter is paramount in keeping your audience interested and informed.
  3. Write your essay on a topic such as “uprisings” and use current pictures or images of an uprising in a country. Collect dozens of pictures pertinent to your subject matter and save them in a .jpeg format. Select pictures that can tell your story such as individuals looting and hauling store merchandise across their backs, people of all ages being unceremoniously dragged across roads, tanks lumbering through city streets while people run for cover and cars and buildings ablaze. Accompany the pictures with suitable background music and your visual essay would not need much text since the pictures by themselves will speak to your audience.
  4. Use visual aids or props. Purchase various fast foods such as hamburgers, fries, nachos, coke, etc. for your essay on “The obesity epidemic”. Research the fat content, the amount of sugar, salt and other ingredients contained in each food item. Prepare a power point presentation with text to accompany your visual essay and include information on the normal amount of fat, salt, sugar etc. each body requires per day compared to the amount that these items provide. Include some pictures of people in various body sizes. Your presentation should be informative but not preachy. Let your audience make their own decision.

How to Write a Picture Analysis Essay

By Tom Becker, eHow Contributor

A picture is always more than the sum of its parts.

Art moves us. Whether it makes us feel joy, sorrow or revulsion, art has the power to affect us and express ideas that transcend rational thought and language. Art communicates these primal experiences not just through an artist’s inspiration, but also through very clear, recognizable visual communication techniques. Writing a picture analysis essay requires a basic understanding of essay structure and these visual communication techniques. Excellent picture analysis essays combine both these elements while addressing the more ephemeral ideas and experiences communicated by a picture.

  1. Note how the picture makes you feel. Do this before you make any intellectual analysis of the picture. Immediate, unprepared and unguarded observation will often tell you more about the content communicated by the painting than rigorous analysis.
  2. Address the age of the picture. Take note of the period from which it comes, what styles dominated that era, what techniques artists used and who commissioned the work. Consider the current events going on at the time of the picture’s creation and what social or cultural elements or changes may have affected its content.
  3. Find out the dimensions of the picture. A large picture communicates very differently from a small one. Generate reasons why the picture communicates well or poorly due to its size.
  4. Look for the composition of the picture. Composition refers to the way the elements are oriented in relationship to one another. Observe if the objects seem crowded or sparse, symmetrical or asymmetrical. Consider why the objects in the picture have their specific orientation.
  5. Take note of how the picture is cropped. Cropping refers to images that only partially appear in the picture, as if someone “cropped” them out of the picture. Address how cropping focuses the viewer on certain aspects of the picture and what ideas the cropping may help communicate.
  6. Observe the levels of light in the picture. Take note of the visible and obscured objects and where the picture draws the viewer’s eye. Think of the role light and darkness play in communicating feelings or ideas in the picture.
  7. Look for color. Observe the way the picture utilizes color or lack of color. Address the effect different colors in the painting have on the ideas it communicates.
  8. Observe the form of the images in the picture. Whether an image has clearly defined lines and boundaries representing a real object, or has no defined shape can communicate very different ideas and emotions. Address the reasons why the image has or does not have a clearly defined shape.
  9. Look for texture. Pictures with completely flat surfaces may communicate differently than pictures with highly textured surfaces. Address how the texture or lack of texture conveys ideas and emotions in the picture.
  10. Take note of your gut reaction to the painting after your thorough analysis. Address how the various elements came together to help form your initial impressions and how analysis either strengthened or weakened your initial impressions.
  1. Choose a thesis. A thesis represents the main idea of your essay, the point you wish to communicate. Use your thorough analysis of the picture to make a list of opinions you wish to assert about the picture. Choose the strongest idea that most clearly communicates and unifies your assertions as your thesis.
  2. Introduce the first assertion of your essay with a topic sentence stating that assertion.
  3. Develop the assertion in the next few paragraphs by citing specific examples that back up your assertion.
  4. Conclude each assertion by restating the assertion and briefly summarizing the manner in which you have proved your assertion.
  5. Introduce your next assertion with a topic sentence and continue in this fashion until you have made all the assertions backing up your thesis.
  6. Conclude the essay with a restatement of your thesis statement, briefly restate your assertions and finish with a sentence or two stating what you have proved with the essay.

How to Start a Reflection Essay on Art

By Isaiah David, eHow Contributor

Because a reflection essay on art is your chance to go back and take an informal look at a substantial project you have completed, many people incorrectly assume that it will be the easiest part. In reality, it takes a mature perspective, a developed voice, and the ability to be simultaneously informal and articulate to write a good reflection essay on art. In this article, I assume that you are writing a reflective essay on art you have made yourself, but the instructions can be easily adapted to help you reflect on an art history unit or a report you did on an art exhibit.

  • Consult the rubric. Generally, your teacher will provide a list of points you are expected to address. Jot down a few notes on each point. Don’t try to be comprehensive – keep it light and flowing at this stage. Think of the first things that come to your mind.
  • Look at your art project. What does it make you think about? Do you like it? Hate it? Take a closer look at the details. Was there some part that you had to struggle to complete? Was there something that came easy or hit like a burst of inspiration? Write down as much or as little as you are inspired to.
  • Think about the project as a whole. Find a moment that encapsulated the whole process of creating, refining, and finishing your work of art. It could be the first moment where you really felt engaged in the project, or it could be an obstacle that nearly stopped you dead in your tracks and that you had to overcome. That is where you should start your reflective essay.
  • Use the drama of the moment you just thought of to begin your essay. You want your essay as a whole to tell the story of your project, and your first paragraph to tell a story within that story to draw the reader in. Use vivid descriptive to make the reader feel what you felt.
  • Leave the reader hanging. Don’t tell the whole story of whatever moment you chose in your introductory paragraph – leave something for the ending. Then, you can keep the reader interested in the story within the story even as you lead them through the entire process.
  • Step back to tell the rest of the story. For example, if you start with a description of a last minute problem you had to solve in your art project, you might start the next paragraph with something like “By that point, of course, I had been working on the project for 6 weeks.” This will take you right back to the beginning of the project, allowing you to reflect on each stage in order.
  • 7 As you go through, use the details you thought about in step 2. If there are some aspects of your work that you are especially proud of, tell the reader how they came about. If there are other aspects that you don’t like, tell the reader why you don’t like them. Don’t just list them, but put them in at whatever stage of your project they occurred.
  • Make sure to hit every detail on the rubric. Try to keep it in the back of your mind as you go through. Tat way, you can integrate it into the flow of your essay and make it sound more natural.
  • For your conclusion, come back to the mini story and relate it to the project as a whole. If you found you had to trust your intuition to complete one aspect of your piece, explain what the project as a whole has taught you about intuition in art. If you had to scrap it all and start over at some stressful point, you might talk about what you learned about the need to plan, or the willingness to admit to yourself when you are wrong. Be humble. Show that there is something you had to learned, and that you learned it.

How to Write an Art Essay

By Melanie Novak, eHow Contributor

Writing an essay about a piece of art is best approached by considering two things:

  1. What did the artist set out to accomplish?
  2. How well did that artist achieve her goal?

This criterion is useful in a few ways. It’s relatively fair (you won’t be holding the work to unrealistic standards), it clearly sets up the basis for your critique, and looking at a work this way avoids a thumbs-up or thumbs-down review. You can use this approach to write about a book, movie, theatrical performance, painting, piece of music or any other creative work. The bulk of the work of writing about art is actually the time it takes to analyze the work and write the outline. There are some challenging steps in the first parts of this how-to, but if you have a strong, solid outline, the writing will be easy.

Analyzing the work

  1. Write what you think the artist was trying to achieve with this work of art. The famous Mona Lisa, painted by Leonardo da Vinci in the 16th century, is a notoriously inscrutable painting. You cannot, obviously, know exactly what da Vinci intended by painting this portrait. Many accomplished art historians have written extensively about this painting. So what can there be for you to say? Plenty. In this example, an essay on the well-known painting the Mona Lisa, you might conclude that the artist was trying to paint a portrait that told a story about a particular woman. This may seem obvious, but remember that goal is quite different from, say, an instructional painting with an obvious religious allegory or an abstract modern painting, and so the evaluation of this particular work will accordingly be different.
  2. Write what you know or feel as a result of the creative work. For instance, what do you know about the woman from looking at how she was painted by da Vinci? These needn’t be facts about her identity, but rather impressions that you have of her. Be as honest and specific about your reactions as you can. Do not worry about your own authority. You don’t need to be a professional art critic or have painted an Italian masterpiece yourself to be able to write an effective essay about the Mona Lisa.
  3. Compare your answer in Step 2 to the artist’s goal in Step 1. Is your reaction what the artist intended—is the work of art successful? Remember that it doesn’t matter whether or not you “like” whatever you are writing about. Rather you are using your own responses to write an analysis of the work itself. Remember that you can write an essay that examines how the work was unsuccessful using the same method as when writing an essay on a successful work.
  4. List the variables—all the decisions the artist or artists had to make—that went into creating the work. In the example of the Mona Lisa, the variables would be subject, composition, materials (paint and surface), color palette, brush strokes and level of detail.
  5. Write next to each variable a short description. For instance, for the Mona Lisa, you would write “subject–woman,” “composition–close-up of face, centered in the frame,” “color palette–muted,” etc.

The thesis statement and finalizing the outline

  1. Write a rough thesis statement based on all the steps above. Don’t use first person, even though your own responses have informed your thinking so far. A rough thesis statement might be “Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa is a visually beautiful painting using Renaissance painting techniques, but its subject remains mysterious.” Your thesis statement should not be “The Mona Lisa is good.”
  2. Organize the variables in a way that supports your thesis statement. You don’t need to include every variable you listed. You may want to write one paragraph for each variable.
  3. Note how each variable contributed to the overall success (or lack of success) of the creative work.

Writing the essay

  1. Write as specifically as possible when you are describing the variables and your responses to them. It is often the description that will convince your readers of your point.
  2. Write an engaging introduction and satisfying conclusion.

The Visual Essay— collated research material

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