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To illustrate simply means demonstrating something or a concept in detail. So, when you write an illustrative essay, you will simply be attempting to explain or support an idea through the use of visual language. The goal of any illustrative essay is to use different types of examples to prove an existing phenomenon.

Argumentative essays and illustrative essays are not to be confused with each other even though the two are quite similar. Argumentative essays use examples just as illustration essays do. However, these types of essays are designed to convince the reader by taking on a stance on a subject. Illustrative essays, on the other hand, do everything they can to avoid taking sides Instead, most are objective and examples are only used for purposes of illustrating.

Illustration essay topics and prompts

  1. Discuss various famous dictators in the world from current times or from history. Illustrate steps that could have been taken to prevent them from acquiring positions of power in the first place.
  2. Has social media contributed to the breakdown of communication as we understand it?
  3. Visit a local art gallery and explain your experience at length.
  4. Are there things that individuals can do to avoid procrastination?
  5. Is alcohol really addictive? Why do people drink it excessively?
  6. It is a well agreed upon fact that cigarette smoking is harmful to your health. What is your opinion on e-cigarettes?
  7. Are there ways to tell is a piece of artwork is good or not?
  8. How can bullying be stopped today?
  9. Expound on the ways in which social media has worsened the state of bullying in our school?
  10. Will cybercrime worsen or improve in future?
  11. How extensive should government involvement be when it comes to planning and implementing the school policy and curriculum?
  12. Expound on the role of technology in today’s university admissions
  13. Illustrate how religion and science have impacted society altogether
  14. What does it really take to become a successful athlete?
  15. Do you condone animal testing for human products? If so, provide sufficient examples
  16. Talk about the impact that social media on contemporary relationships
  17. Have human beings become too dependent on technology?
  18. Should stem cell research be halted altogether?
  19. stem cell research is vital for ensuring the future of human beings. Do you agree or disagree with this statement?
  20. Should marijuana be criminalized? Give illustrations why.
  21. What criteria should students use when picking which of the numerous colleges available to attend?
  22. Expound on the role of women in society.
  23. What role do women play in the success of business?
  24. How can individuals cope with mental illness?
  25. How does social media contribute to the increased number of depression cases today?
  26. Why are businesses increasing their reliance on social networks in business?
  27. Has political violence increased around the world? Provide examples.
  28. How can individuals effectively utilize their free time?
  29. How has fashion impacted youth behavior?
  30. Are college sports essential for the local economy?
  31. How do sports affect individual behavior?
  32. Are recreational sports in colleges important to students? Why?
  33. Are there repercussions for stem cell research?
  34. What are some of the effects of the digital era on Print as we knew it?
  35. How has the rise of technology negatively affected society?
  36. What are the most effective teaching methods for contemporary students?
  37. How has the rise of technology negatively affected the business of print?
  38. Are gender roles in today’s society changing
  39. What role does modern fashion play in how women perceive themselves?
  40. Should capital punishment be implemented
  41. Do you agree with the statement that violence begets more violence?
  42. How does religion development affect student behavior?
  43. Can domestic violence be put to a stop?
  44. what role has technology played in global terrorism?
  45. How can immigration problems be stopped?
  46. Can alcoholism be cured?
  47. What role do school lunches play in childhood obesity?
  48. Are there instances when lying should be permitted
  49. Why is stem cell research such a hot-button issue?
  50. Do you think organizational culture plays a role in business success?
  51. What are the differences between reality and superstitions?

How to pick a topic for your illustration essay

Brainstorm some examples

You are going to need a great topic that can help you catch the attention of your instructor. Therefore, be sure to use a prompt that will have a fair number of examples to help you support your thesis. Obviously, the longer your illustrative essay is, the more examples you are going to need.

Pick a memorable topic

Remember, illustration topics are quite different from argumentative essay topics. As such, you should stay away from topics that require subjectivity. Such topics include murder, abortion, decriminalization of drugs, and so on.

Review already written works

If you are still struggling to find an essay topic to write on, why not consider reviewing other existing works that have already been written. Sometimes picking an essay topic can be as simple as exploring what others have done before.

Be realistic

When settling on your preferred essay question, it is vital that you remain realistic about the amount of work that needs to go into your topic, as well as the sources available. Of course, it does not make sense to settle on a prompt for your essay if it only has limited sources. If you do, it will against you instead of for you.

Read widely

If you are still struggling to come up with a question, then you might need to go back into your books. It may simply be that you lack a firm understanding of the subject matter to come up with a quality essay question.


These essay topics that we have suggested for you will definitely go a long way in helping to stimulate your imagination. If all else fails, simply contact your tutor or instructor and maybe he or she can shed more light into the situation. You lecturer may not hand you the topic on a silver platter but they should be able to guide you in the right direction.


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