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Writing a pictorial essay


A pictorial essay is a type of educational article that aims to provide both textual and visual portrayals of a topical issue. It usually consists of a short unstructured abstract, brief introduction, subheadings to organise the material and a summary. The number of references is limited to a few key articles, typically, eight to 15, or fewer. The text is usually short, often approximately 1,000 to 2,000 words in length, with much of the message contained in the figure legends. This type of article allows for a large number of figures, typically up to 20 figures or 30 figure parts. The main criteria for publication are currency, educational value and high quality of illustrations.

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What is a Pictorial Essay? How to Write It Effectively?

What is a Pictorial Essay? How to Write It Effectively?

Post By Nick Cooper On 25, Aug

Penned down by an experienced essay writer in our team, this article defines a pictorial essay and gives a complete guide to writing a pictorial essay:

What is a Pictorial Essay?

A pictorial essay is a creative and unique way to convey your message. It is unique in the sense that pictures are incorporated into the content to disseminate the message. You may have heard the phrase that a picture is worth thousands of words. It is a befitting depiction in the case of the pictorial essay. Traditionally, you write to convey your sentiments, events, ideas, and thoughts to others by choosing the best possible words. However, you can also use pictures in your traditional essays, but it will not be a pictorial essay. It will be a kind of illustration to support your writing.

In contrast, the pictorial essay is a set of organized images to make your point across. Furthermore, here the role of writing is reversed, and it is used to support and describe pictures. The most intriguing moment of the pictorial essay is that it offers the visualization that a written text can never provide. In the meanwhile, images remain the fundamental tool for writers. Now. It’s time to look at the nitty-gritty of the pictorial essay.

Some Tips To Write A Perfect Pictorial Essay:

The best achievers in your team have shared a few simple tips that you must at least review to write an essay of pictorial type that can amaze your audience.

Understand Your Topic:

Firstly, you have to get a firm grip on your topic of discussion. To write an excellent pictorial or traditional essay, it is crucial to know the nitty-gritty of the subject. Yes, writing down the words to express your thoughts is the last step in writing; however, knowing your purpose for writing and brainstorming ideas to get started are some of the preliminary steps. Though sometimes you cannot understand some concepts in the way they are, getting assistance from experts immediately is the most effective solution to this problem as well. Shortly, only after understanding the topic, the best pictures portraying the exact situation can be selected.

Target Your Audience:

The identification of the audience has been a vital part of the pictorial essay. It would be better if you knew the audience of your topic. For instance, if the audience of your pictorial essay is children, then it won’t be good to talk about common societal problems. A case in point is to portray a political issue would be futile for the children. They will immediately lose interest. Therefore, you need to make your presentation more colourful and joyful by incorporating the relevant elements into your essay. It would be best if you chose the difficulty level according to the targeted audience of your pictorial essay as well .

Define The Purpose Of Your Pictorial Essay:

It would be best if you define the purpose of your essay. You have to decide whether your essay will be persuasive, descriptive, narrative, or expository. For example, if you are persuading the audience to take specific courses of action, you have to select the pictures accordingly. You have to interlink elements to fulfil your unitary message. It also indicated that your essay must be comprised of unity. Similarly, your pictures must reflect your outlined purpose. The relevant images can only deliver your intended message. Therefore it also makes it a little bit more difficult than traditional essays. You cannot use long sentences to further explain your point of view though it can be reflected through images.

Take Some Extra Photos:

It is always a good idea to take some extra photos for your pictorial paper. It will allow you to have a broader range of options to add photos to your paper. A quarter of your photos are better than none at all. Even though some images may seem helpful while you’re preparing and collecting material, they may not be your best bet once you’ve completed the bulk of your essay. Therefore, having more photos will help you replace the bad ones with better ones. To avoid this, don’t be afraid to take a lot of photos before. If you have a hundred images, take your time and select a few dozen of them. Having as many images as possible increases the likelihood that your essay will be interesting and diverse to be appreciated by your audience.

Organize Your Photos To Structure The Paper:

The structure of any paper has paramount importance in increasing its readability. You need to arrange your photos in an organized way to make a storyline for your pictorial essay. You can use tools like word processing to prepare a presentation of your essay. It will be succinct and engaging for the audience.

Add Your Photos With Required Description:

Initiate the process by adding pictures to your site, and then immediately add descriptions and necessary ones to explain it. Keep in mind that the text should only be used to help the reader understand your view. Text description will basically come in handy if you see that some images are unlikely to reveal your background story.

Relate Your Pictures With The Topic:

One of the common mistakes is that people start writing the text part first. It leads to divergences and transgression of the topic. Therefore, you need to focus more on images than the written text. You have to identify the most relevant pictures to your topic to describe your general ideas. Furthermore, each photo must depict the concise and relevant point of your primary topic. Here, relevancy is the profound factor in the process of writing a pictorial essay. The factors like coherence and relevance also need to be taken into account at this stage.

Write Text To Support And Explain Images:

You need to ensure that the written text is supporting and explains images. So you have to write descriptions according to each picture of your pictorial essay. For instance, if some image is hilarious, you have to highlight what is hilarious about it by writing a text. Furthermore, you have to ensure a consistent tone and tenor throughout your essay, just like traditional essays. It is essential to make your essay coherent and focused on the topic.

Read This Also:  Role of E-Learning

How Long Is A Pictorial Essay?

The main formula for drafting a pictorial essay is to use images rather than words. However, both images and text (though brief) are important to be added in such essays. But it often does not exceed more than 1000 to 2000 words; rather, some of the messages are confined to the figure legends. In contrast to traditional essay writing tasks, where you have to write even 20,000 words with no more than 10 to 20 pictures, pictorial essays contain at least 20-30 pictures along with only 1000 words. Taking into account this requirement, it would not be wrong to say that pictorial essays require writers to pay more attention to graphics than words.

What Are The Types Of Pictorial Essays?

Adding pictures to explain your point of view is worth doing to help the audience easily digest even the most difficult or complex idea, but the same task can be completed in two different ways. Yes, pictorial essays are usually classified into two types, namely, thematic or narrative. Thematic essays help to design or collect photos that speak about a common point in one way or another. However, the narrative essay arranges photos that tell the story on its own.

What Is The Pictorial Format?

If you only have to add pictures to your essay, then it is quite obvious that the quality of your essay will be marked by the quality of all photos. Remember, only the best-quality pictures can evoke emotions and allow viewers to delve into the process. Usually, photos in any format can be added in pictorial essays, but JPG or JPEG means Joint Photographic Experts Group is the most recommended format.

What Is The Shortest Way To Pictorial Writing?

The very basic trick to deal with such tasks is to let your photos speak. However, detailed preparation is required to speak only by pictures. First, review the photo and know what it is trying to portray. Second, try to fix your ideas within the frame of the picture. Third, write short sentences or picture legends to clear the viewers’ doubts, if any. Keep following the same trick to end up with an exciting story.

The Bottom Line:

In short, you can convey a message creatively and effectively with the help of a pictorial essay. It also helps in removing the tedious factors by incorporating strong images or pictures into the essay. Furthermore, it is extremely important even for the layperson to understand your scholarly view due to the presence of graphics into it or a pictorial view. Likely, it can lead to more organic traffic to your essays as compared to traditional ones. You can deliver a more extensive and profound message in style. Therefore, you can also use the steps mentioned above to deliver your message effectively by appealing to the audience via pictures.

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How to Write a Pictorial Essay

Publication Date: 01 Mar 2018

Pictorial Essay

Most essays are aimed to depict events, objects, emotions and ideas through writing. Photo essays are quite different from such papers because they consist of many images sorted by a topic. You can use images in traditional essays as well, but they will serve rather as illustrations, while the text will perform all main functions. In case of pictorial essays, these roles are reversed: text elements are used only to support and describe images, which are the backbone of this essay type. Usually, a written text just describes details that can’t be seen in pictures. At the same time, images remain the main writer’s tool.

Now let’s take a look at the writing process in more detail. First of all, you have to clearly understand your task. Check all prompts and talk to your instructor if necessary. Familiarize yourself with criteria of your work, and think how you can get good images related to your topic. For example, maybe there is an upcoming event where you can take a lot of photos? If so, don’t miss your chance and arrange your work. You have to pay special attention to the background of your photo shoot, since pictures will be the crucial part of your essay. Think about the location and setting.

After you clarified all necessary details of the photo shoot, think of your audience. Who will read your essay? Will it be your teacher or your classmates? Don’t forget that you must choose your writing methods depending on the type of audience. Make sure that the information will easily reach your target audience. For example, if your essay is oriented towards children, you have to add more things that reflect their interests; you may also include some elements of play and use bright colors.

Before you start working on your essay, you have to define its purpose. All the elements used in the essay must serve this purpose. For example, if it’s aimed towards persuading your readers to take certain actions or to support a certain idea, you have to select your images carefully, making sure that they reflect your goal. Photo essays are somewhat more difficult than other essay types because your ideas must be expressed through pictures so you are unable to provide the detailed explanation of the purpose of the paper using long sentences.

Take More Pictures

You may be sure that you need, say, 20 photos for your essay. In this case, we suggest taking more photos. The point is that you have to take as many photos as you can to have something to choose from. It’s better to use only a quarter of photos in your essay than suddenly realize that you don’t have enough material. Some photos may seem quite useful while you’re preparing and collecting the material, but as soon as the major part of your essay is done, they may turn out to be not the best choice regarding the general context. In this case, it’s good for you to have more photos so that you’ll be able to replace these images with the better ones. Thus, don’t be afraid to take too many photos before you print them. Take your time and select a couple dozen best images from among a hundred. The more images you have, the more likely your essay will be interesting, diverse and coherent.

After you collected enough photos, you have to organize them to prepare for writing and plan the structure of your paper. You have to define your story and arrange photos in a certain order. We suggest using special word-processing programs along with programs that present series of photos as a slideshow.

Start with adding photos and write necessary descriptions or notes immediately for each one of them. Remember that the text must only expand the information expressed through the photographs. If you see that some images are unlikely to reveal your background story, text descriptions will help you a lot.

Don’t start writing your essay from the text parts. You don’t have to focus on the text more than on the images. Determine the general idea of your essay, and then select photos to illustrate your idea. Make sure that all your images are directly related to the topic of your essay , serving its informational and rhetorical purposes.

The written part of the essay must support and explain images. Thus, you have to write your descriptions and notes according to the message of each particular illustration. For example, if some image is funny, you have to point out what is funny about it, in the text. At the same time, make sure that the tone of your paper doesn’t change throughout the text. Just like any other essay type , this one implies writing a coherent and logically complete paper which is tied to the main topic and focused on the general idea.

Make Your Essay Structure Rock-Solid with These Tips

Lindsay Kramer

So you’ve been assigned an essay. Or, probably more realistically, two, three, or four essays  . . . and they’re all due the same week. 

We’ve all been there: overwhelmed, staring down that blank screen, and not sure which essay to start with or how to get it started. 

In high school and college, it’s not enough to just write strong essays. One of the most important skills to develop is writing strong essays efficiently . And the foundation of that skill is knowing how to structure an essay. With a template for the basic essay structure in hand, you can focus on what really matters when you’re writing essays: your arguments and the evidence you’re using to support them. Take a look at the basic essay structure below and see how the parts of an essay work together to present a coherent, well-reasoned position, no matter what topic you’re writing about. 

Make your essays shine. Polish your writing with Grammarly Write with Grammarly

Basic essay structure: the 3 main parts of an essay

Almost every single essay that’s ever been written follows the same basic structure: 


Body paragraphs.

This structure has stood the test of time for one simple reason: It works. It clearly presents the writer’s position, supports that position with relevant examples, and neatly ties their supporting arguments together in a way that makes their position evident. 

It all starts here. This is where you introduce the topic you’re discussing in your essay and briefly summarize the points you’ll make in the paragraphs that follow. 

This is also where you state your thesis. Your thesis is the most important part of your essay because it’s the point you’re making . It needs to take a clear stance and shouldn’t include hedging language that undermines that stance like “seems to” or “possibly could.”

Here are a few examples of thesis statements:

An easy way to write your thesis statement is to think of it as a summary of your essay. Your thesis makes and supports your essay’s point in one concise sentence. 

When you proofread your finished essay, make sure your thesis is clearly stated in your introduction paragraph. If it’s not clear, go back and write a definitive thesis statement. 

>>Read More: How to Write a Persuasive Essay

Your essay’s body paragraphs are where you support your thesis statement with facts and evidence. Each body paragraph should focus on one supporting argument for your thesis by discussing related data, content, or events. 

If you’re not sure whether you should include a specific point or detail in your body paragraphs, refer back to your thesis statement. If the detail supports your thesis, it should be in your essay. If it doesn’t, leave it out. Your thesis statement is the core of your basic essay structure, so everything else in the essay needs to relate to it in some way. 

In your essay’s conclusion paragraph , you summarize the points you made and bring your argument to its logical conclusion. Because your reader is now familiar with your thesis, the summary in your conclusion paragraph can be more direct and conclusive than the one in your intro paragraph.

>>Read More: 7 Writing Tips from Professors to Help you Crush your First Essays

How many paragraphs are in an essay?

There’s no hard-and-fast requirement for college essays. In high school, you were probably taught to write five-paragraph essays. This is a solid essay structure to work with, but in college, you generally have more flexibility with assignment lengths and formats. 

Now, consider five the minimum—not the standard—number of paragraphs you should include in your essays. 

Essay structure examples

There are a few different ways to present information in an essay. Often, your assignment will tell you what kind of essay to write, such as a chronological, compare and contrast, or problems-methods-solution essay. If you’re not sure which is best for your assignment, ask your instructor. 


A chronological essay guides the reader through a series of events. This essay structure is ideal if you’re writing about:

With this kind of essay, you first introduce your topic and summarize the series of events in your introduction paragraph. Then, each body paragraph takes the reader through a key stage in that series, which might be a decisive battle in history, a pivotal scene in a novel, or a critical stage in a judicial process. In your conclusion, you present the end result of the series you discussed, underscoring your thesis with this result. 

Compare and contrast

A compare-and-contrast essay has a structure that discusses multiple subjects, like several novels, concepts, or essays you’ve been assigned to read.

There are a few different ways to structure a compare-and-contrast essay. The most obvious is to spend one paragraph discussing the similarities between the topics you’re covering (comparing), then one paragraph detailing their differences (contrasting), followed by a paragraph that explores whether they’re more alike or more different from each other. 

Another method is to only compare, where each of your body paragraphs discusses a similarity between the topics at hand. Or you can go the only-contrast route, where your body paragraphs explore the differences. Whichever you decide on, make sure each paragraph is focused on one topic sentence . Every new comparison or contrast should occupy its own paragraph.


As its name implies, this kind of essay structure presents the writer’s position in three segments:

This kind of essay works great if you’re discussing methods for resolving a problem, like knowing how to distinguish between credible and non-credible sources when you’re doing research for assignments. It can also work when you’re tasked with explaining why certain solutions haven’t worked to fix the problems they were created for. 

With this kind of essay, begin by introducing the problem at hand. In the subsequent body paragraphs, cover possible methods for resolving the problem, discussing how each is suited to fixing the problem, and potential challenges that can arise with each. You can certainly state which you think is the best choice—that could even be your thesis statement. In your conclusion paragraph, summarize the problem again and the desired resolution, endorsing your method of choice (if you have one). 

In this kind of essay, you can also include a call to action in your final paragraph. A call to action is a direct order for the reader to take a specific action, like “call your congressperson today and tell them to vote no” or “visit grammarly.com today to add Grammarly browser extension for free.”

>>Read More: How to Write Better Essays: 5 Concepts you Must Master

With the basic essay structure down, you can get to writing

For a lot of students, getting started is the hardest part of writing an essay. Knowing how to structure an essay can get you past this seemingly insurmountable first step because it gives you a clear skeleton upon which to flesh out your thoughts. With that step conquered, you’re on your way to crushing your assignment.

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    A pictorial essay is a creative and unique way to convey your message. It is unique in the sense that pictures are incorporated into the content to disseminate the message. You may have heard the phrase that a picture is worth thousands of words. It is a befitting depiction in the case of the pictorial essay.

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