John Taylor was trained to think and present what he saw from a traditional European perspective. His illustration is filled with intricate and exacting detail, presented with perspective and proportion and carefully arranged elements to direct the viewer's attention to the formal discussion taking place in the center of the picture. All the other elements of the picture help to frame and highlight that action.
Howling Wolf's portrayal is much less concerned with presenting a realistic image of the signing than with showing the general impression of the event and the variety of factors involved. Howling Wolf shows the location, on Medicine Lodge Creek. He depicts the teepees erected for the meeting, which stretched over some period of time. His use of color helps to differentiate varied groups of Indians present and brings out the Native American decorations on teepees and clothing. The area in which the meeting is taking place is obvious, but not all the attention is focused there - one soldier is fighting with his horse, other whites appear to be talking to persons in the background, and many Native Americans are seated much closer to their teepees than to the meeting place.