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Citing and Writing MLA 9: Writing

Information on style guides, specifically MLA (9th edition), example citations, and other resources for citing and writing.

Featured books

book cover for Line Color Form


book cover for How to Write About Contemporary Art


book cover for Artist Scholar

Recommended reading for writing about art

Recommended reading for writing about art:

Line Color Form: The Language of Art and Design by Jesse Day – a brief primer for visual learners in design theory and terminology with hundreds of illustrations and minimal text as well as section on formal analysis, focusing on how to express observations in writing. An excellent source for students and ESL artists.

A Short Guide to Writing About Art – 9th edition by Sylvan Barnet – classic guide to student guide to “seeing and saying”.  

How to Write About Contemporary Art by Gilda Williams – a comprehensive guide to writing about contemporary art aimed at student and arts professionals, this How-To covers styles and content with practical tips (from academic essays to press releases and wall labels) and snappy titles like “Fear is the root of bad writing” and “The road to hell is paved with adverbs”. 

Inspiring writing in Art and Design: Taking a Line for a Write (also available as an eBook) by Pat Francis – Inspired by the studio and using ideas from creative writing practice, this book explores principles of writing in art and design, but mostly offers practical exercises and examples to support those who may have less experience in writing.  A play on Paul Klee’s words to “take a line for a walk” this book hopes to help students loosen up their writing and have a bit of fun.   

Social Medium: artists writing 2000-2015 edited by Jennifer Liese – Highlighting “artists writing”, NOT artists’ writings, the work in this anthology has been chosen to represent those who have substantial practices in both art and writing and offer “surprising insight, sharp analysis, formal play, historical import ethical urgency, quixotic sensibility provocation or revelation”. 

Artist Scholar: Reflections on Writing and Research (also available as an eBook) by G. James Daichendt – With a focus on MFA students, this history and guide for artists discusses ways to improve work through critical writing. 


More resources for writing

More resources for writing about art


Purdue Online Writing Lab offers writing resources, including vidcasts, on general and subject-specific writing and job search writing.

The Writing Center at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill offers a comprehensive range of Tips & Tools handouts on writing papers, citation, writing for specific assignments and fields as well as special guides for Art History and English as a Second Language (ESL) students.

Emily Carr University of Art & Design Writing Centre (ECUAD) offers printable handouts for using sources, types of writing, and professional practice (Artist CV, Artist Statement, grant proposals, grad school applications).

Ontario College of Art and Design Writing & Learning Centre offers booklets like Forty-four Ways to Write: creative methods for making text, handouts on annotated bibliographies and writing art reviews.

Contact for one-on-one assistance for all your writing needs. You can also directly book appointments with tutors through their online booking system.