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Writing Tips for an Illustration Essay

An illustration essay is a piece of writing that illustrates a point, object or situation in such a detailed manner that the reader can see what the writer is talking about just through his writing. A lot of times, an illustration essay tries to prove that something exists by painting a picture through words for the audience. An illustration essay goes beyond describing something. If the essay is composed correctly, the audience will understand the writer’s subject in as much detail as the writer himself.


In the school setting, the teacher often chooses a topic for an illustration essay for students. However, if it is not already given to you, choose a topic that you are passionate and know a lot about. For example, if you decided to write an essay about how dog breed discrimination occurs in your town, make sure that you know enough about this topic to prove your point.

Give Examples

Don’t just tell your reader about your subject. Sticking with the dog breed discrimination example, don’t just describe what it is. Instead give detailed examples of situations that you feel illustrate the discrimination. Perhaps landlords don’t allow certain breeds of dogs on their properties. Give the audience lots of detail so that there is no doubt in their mind that a certain situation or thing exists. The more examples you can write in your essay, the easier it will be to illustrate that something exists.

Vary Example Types

Not every reader will respond to the same examples. By including different types of examples in your essay, you can better illustrate your topic to more people. Give examples from your own experiences with the topic as well as examples that anyone may come across. These may overlap or your experience with a certain topic may vary substantially from the normal experience with a topic.

Don’t Analyze

Analyzing a situation should be left for an analysis essay, which seeks to prove why something exists rather than just proving that it does exist. Illustration essays should stick to illustrating your point. In longer, more complex writing assignments — like ones assigned in college — students might have the chance to combine these two types of essays. However, in lower grade levels, combining these essay types may result in a lower grade for not fulfilling the assignment properly.

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