Wishing you an Egg-ceptional Month
As we wrap up the first quarter of what was once ‘the new year’, we prepare for the religious holiday of Easter. It’s a great time to reflect upon the last couple of years as we spend valuable time with family. As the pandemic proved, work will wait. During that time it corrects itself and evolves while it awaits our return. Family – they’re the ones that will be there for us once our careers are finished and we transition to those that are new and exciting.
In the spirit of that, I’m going to jump off my soapbox and share the final part of my interview with Wacom Technologies.
As a brief reminder, my career as a forensic artist/forensic facial imaging expert developed concurrent to my police career.
When I completed my last shift on Saturday night July 8th 2008. On Monday morning I was settling into my new role as a forensic facial imaging expert/consultant.
There is much more that goes into what I do. This interview with Wacom provides a glimpse of my career as it continues to evolve and develop.
So, without further delay…
What are your favorite reference books or materials to help you through your process?
My favorite resource is Gary Faigin’s book – Facial Expression. Although we try as forensic artists to neutralize a suspect’s facial expression, people rarely walk around ‘stone-faced’ Gary’s book helps artists understand facial anatomy and expression, particularly the role it plays in displaying emotion.
When did you start creating digital composites and what was your first Wacom tool?
My first pen tablet was a 1990’s era Wacom Graphire. My full conversion to digital composites came in 2015 when I acquired a Wacom Cintiq Companion for field use and a Wacom 22 HD for studio use.
Both units are used exclusively for creating composite sketches and other forensic art projects.
What is your favorite program to sketch in and why?
Corel Painter is my ‘go-to’ software program for creating composite sketches. I enjoy its range and versatility. I use it in combination with Adobe Photoshop CC. Both programs have specific functions that complement one another and fit well into my workflow.
Is there an advantage to drawing digitally in your field?
I believe using digital tools and software make me a better artist. Wacom products and select software programs help increase my speed and expand my artistic range. I can customize express keys and create libraries of commonly sketched elements.
How long does it usually take to finish a composite?
I sketch quickly, so It typically takes me 60-90 minutes complete a sketch. It’s my opinion that composite sketches are quick sketch character studies, like the process used by those who create movie monsters. The only difference is – the monsters I create are real!
What is it like to see your drawings in comparison to a suspect?
When my sketch resembles a suspect, it’s the best feeling ever. After all these years, I’m still amazed. But it’s a team effort and I will always credit the eyewitness. Without them, my work would not be possible.
What are your top 3 tips for creating accurate portraits without reference?
To create accurate portraits without reference, I recommend you:
- Be an active listener
- Have a good understanding of human anatomy
- Be a patient ‘people person’
What piece of advice would you give to someone interested in forensic facial imaging?
Your best opportunity for success is to become employed by a law enforcement agency.
Although some of the most successful forensic artists began their careers as civilian, freelance artists; it would have been a road more easily travelled if they were already on the ‘team’ in another capacity.
I hope you enjoyed the interview. If you have further questions or commend, drop me a line at: Contact@SketchCop.com.
May’s newsletter could wind up being a surprise for all of us. If you have any suggestions, let me know.
In the meantime, stay safe and be well and of course…keep on sketching!