Photo by bridgesward from Pixabay
Let’s face the truth: when you decided to sign for an art history class, you thought it would be like a speaking club, where all that the members need to do is look at pretty pictures and share opinions. And now you are staring at an “art history essay for Tuesday” note at your study planner and have no idea what to write in it. Though there’s no way to make an essay appear in your head for you to write it down, there are definitely some cool ways of making the process easier and less painful.
Step One: Identify the Problem
Not counting the critical situations, most people have only several major problems with essay writing, and if you identify your enemies, it will be easier to battle them. Here is the list of the most popular obstacles students face while writing art history essays. Note: if you are a little uncomfortable with a certain activity, it doesn’t automatically make it a problem—look instead for something you can’t stand doing or don’t understand the principle completely.
1) Describing the visual effects.
If this is your first art history essay, you will face one of the most dazzling problems students face when they start an art course: how should you describe the work you are writing about? Should you attach a replica of an artwork, outline all the parts you will talk about and put numbers next to them? Or maybe it’s better to describe everything in your own words, but where to find the necessary ones if you have never talked about art like a professional? And you don’t want your description to look like this: “To the left, somewhere near a little weird yellow thing we can see…”
Is this your case? Don’t worry, we know how to get you out of this predicament.
2) Planning your paper.
This is the part most students are terrible at, especially when it comes to writing about something abstract. Don’t worry, nailing your art history essay is way easier than it seems to be once you start working on it. Don’t be confused by the fact that you are writing about a piece of art which has a structure that is difficult to express by words, to say so. If this is your problem with art history essays, grab a fancy notebook, make yourself a cup of energizing tea and get ready to learn how to plan!
3) You are not an “essay person.”
If you don’t like the subject, or writing essays, or both, the most effective way to figure out the situation is the “consequences motivator.” What will happen if you don’t hand in your art history essay on the due date? Nothing dramatic, okay. But you will still have to do it, and let us make a small prediction. Imagine yourself sitting in the middle of the night with red eyes like a monster from a horror movie, your eye bags nearly lying on your cheekbones, and an army of empty coffee cups surround your workplace. What are you doing in such horrible circumstances? Of course, writing all the essays you decided to postpone!
Been there, seen that.
Step Two: Fight the Problem
Now that you know what your biggest obstacle is, it’s time to face the problem and fight it. Here are a couple of strategies regarding the popular problems with art history essays mentioned above:
1) Build up your art vocabulary.
This is a useful thing to do even if you don’t need to write art essays, and if you do, it’s crucial. How can you do that? Consider these steps:
Read articles about art, starting from beginner level and gradually proceeding to advanced. The more you read, the more art-related terms and descriptions you will remember.
Talk to a real artist. Thanks to the Internet, you can find anyone from any part of the world and ask any questions you want to. So use this opportunity to enhance your knowledge and make new friends instead of cyberstalking your crush on social media.
Implement your knowledge. If you just read and listen to other people talking about art, you will never be able to create a great essay using your newly gained fancy vocabulary. Start writing short descriptions, or at least thinking about art works you see every day as if you were an art critic judging a world-class painter.
2) «We have a strategic plan. It’s called “Doing things.”»
You shouldn’t think that every academic paper is failed because you hate planning. Actually, many creative people are a total mess—that is what helps them stay creative and full of ideas. Use these simple tips to bring your creativity onto the right track and nail every art essay you have to write:
Lure your mind into planning by buying some really cool stationery. This may sound ineffective, but once you open your brand new notebook and write on the top of the sheet “Art Essay Plan,” you will be mesmerized by the process.
Keep it short and simple. We bet you don’t like planning because you end up writing an actual essay instead of a short outline, especially if you have to show the plan to your teacher (yep, this way of torture exists). Forget about long outlines! Set yourself a limit of words, which should be considerably smaller than your essay word limit, and fit your plan into it. This method does wonders.
3) Accept the reality of being a student.
Unfortunately, we can’t give you any other piece of advice than just to summon your will and write that art history essay. Before you start, remember one thing: if you are not really into essay writing and art history, don’t expect a perfect score. While setting the bar high can work as a powerful motivator and make you work hard, it can also make you feel stressed and demotivated. Just accept the fact that you have to write the paper and try to enjoy the process as much as you can!
Let us know what life hacks you use while writing art history essays in the comment section below and help your fellow students deal with essays easier!