Tagged Forensic Files

From My Sketchbook – Forensic Art?

Second "blind" "forensic" Berstein sketch by Joana Miranda

I was away from home these past two weeks playing with the New York City Ballet up in Saratoga, NY.  With 3 rehearsals and seven shows per week, there was not a whole lot of time for sketching or cartooning.  Being in a hotel and having maid service and the chance to watch late night TV in bed was a nice perk, though.  In addition to lots of Food Network shows, my husband and I watched quite a few episodes of Forensic Files.  The latter got me thinking about what it takes to be a forensic artist, and if it is something I would ever be interested in doing (or could do.)  After digging a little online, I was surprised to learn that there are only about 30 full-time forensic artists working in the US.  The field is obviously tiny and highly specialized.  According to this article, becoming a forensic artist is usually somewhat of a round-about process which almost always involves working for law enforcement in a different capacity.  I was also intrigued to read about Lois Gibson, one of the most famous and successful forensic artists in the business today.  The importance of having people skills – forensic artists need to be highly empathetic listeners – combined with having artistic know-how would certainly be an interesting challenge.

For fun (and since I only did ONE cartoon sketch last week, tsk tsk), I asked my husband if he would participate in an experiment with me.  I asked him to think of someone, take a quick look at a picture of them, and then describe their face to me from memory.  I did all of the questioning and tried not to ask leading questions (i.e. instead of “Were their eyes brown?”, I asked “Do you recall the color of their eyes?”)

My first sketch (done in pen since that’s what I usually use for my quick sketches) resulted in this image:

My husband then told me that the nose was too high, the jaw-line should be thinner, the hairline lower and the hair “more wild.”  The second “blind” sketch resulted in this:

After he told me that he had been thinking of Leonard Berstein, we checked my sketch against photos of Berstein.  I think there is a bit of a likeness.  For sure, the exercise was thought-provoking and fun all around!

From My Sketchbook – Ripped from the News

Just a few of the faces I sketched last night as we channel-surfed!

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