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How to Cite Illustrations in APA Format


In an academic paper, an illustration is any visual element that isn't composed entirely of text. Photographs, charts and graphs, pieces of clip art, and reproductions of famous paintings can be illustrations. You don't need to formally cite original illustrations that you made, but you do need to cite illustrations that contain another person's work. The way you create an APA citation for an illustration depends on the work's location and original medium.

Location

Writers following APA style must include locations when citing illustrations. The term “location” is broad -- it might refer to the geographic location of the original work or your source for the image. To determine whether you should cite the geographic location of the original or simply your source, such as a book or website, use the “museum test.” If the original work is in a museum or a similarly prominent location, such as the White House or Buckingham Palace, cite the physical location of the original. Otherwise, state your source when you make the location entry in your citation.

Attribution

When you cite a reproduction of a noteworthy work of art, attribute the illustration to the original artist. For example, if you scan a copy of the Mona Lisa from a textbook, attribute the image to Leonardo da Vinci not the textbook editors. Likewise, if you use a photograph of Auguste Rodin’s sculpture The Thinker in your paper, and the illustration serves only to display the statue, attribute the work to Rodin.

Reproduction of Art on Display

Type the creator’s last name to begin the citation. Insert a comma and leave a space. Add his first initial followed by a period. Make an open parenthesis. Enter the year of creation then a close parenthesis and a period. Type the name of the artwork in sentence case: Only capitalize the first letters of the first word, first word after a colon (if any) and proper nouns. Italicize the name. Leave a space, and make an open bracket. Note the medium of the original work. For example, if you are citing a painting by Picasso, type “Painting” (without the quotation marks) followed by a close bracket and a period. Note the work’s location: Type the city followed by a comma and a space. Then, add the two-letter abbreviation for the state. If the work is not on display in the United States, add the full country name instead of a state abbreviation. Insert a colon after the state or country. Leave a space, then enter the name the institution that displays the work followed by a period. For example: Sargent, John Singer. (1888). Madame X [Painting]. New York, NY: Metropolitan Museum of Art. (Ref 1)

Original Imagery

For original imagery, type the creator’s last name followed by a comma, a space, his first initial and a period. If an organization created the image, enter the organization’s name instead of a single author’s name. Make an open parenthesis. Enter the year of creation then a close parenthesis and a period. Type the name of the illustration in italicized sentence case. Leave a space and make an open bracket. Note the medium of the original work. For example, if you are citing a computer-generated image, such as an icon or vector, type “Digital illustration” followed by a close bracket and a period. Enter the phrase “Retrieved from” (without the quotation marks) then note your source for the illustration. For example: Designer, G. (2013). Map of literary Manhattan [Map]. Retrieved from http://graphicdesigncartography.com/literarymanhattan/ (Ref 3: page 311)

About the Author

Grace Riley has been a writer and photographer since 2005, with work appearing in magazines and newspapers such as the "Arkansas Democrat-Gazette." She has also worked as a school teacher and in public relations and polling analysis for political campaigns. Riley holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in American studies, political science and history, all from the University of Arkansas.

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