How to Start an Illustration Essay

Illustration essays require great examples.

An illustration essay, also known as an example essay, includes various examples that illustrate the paper's thesis. If you were writing a paper on driving and cell phones, for instance, you would include examples that illustrate the dangers of driving and talking, driving and dialing or driving and texting. The crisper your examples, the better; an illustration essay shows more than it tells.

Select a great topic. The more you are interested in your topic, the more you will enjoy researching and writing your essay. Likewise, that interest and enthusiasm will also show to anyone who reads the paper, including the teacher who will likely be grading it.

Develop a thesis. Your thesis is your main point that you will be proving through your use of great examples. It could be "daily exercise is beneficial for young adults," or "dogs are the best pet," or anything else that you can provide opinion and examples for.

Create an outline. Before you start writing your essay, it is important to have an organized outline. Your outline will ensure you have at least three quality examples and will keep you on track as you begin writing.

Craft examples, or illustrations, that are specific and relevant. If you were to say that, "68 percent of Americans prefer dogs to cats," it would be more meaningful than, "a lot of people think dogs are great," for example. Likewise, your examples should be long enough to make a point, but not so long that you repeat that point over and over and lose your reader.

Begin writing your essay! With your outline, thesis and examples in hand, you are ready to write.

  • It's okay to pick a topic that you don't know much about, but make sure there are ample research materials available on that subject.
  • The more organized you are ahead of time, the easier the essay will be to write.

Megan Peterson Morrow is a professional writer, editor, marketer, and publicist. She's covered topics including small business, health, music, finance, nonprofits and more. She holds a Bachelor's degree in journalism from Northwestern University and a Master's in English from the University of South Dakota..