1st Edition

Forensic Art and Illustration

By Karen T. Taylor Copyright 2000

    As the number of stranger-on-stranger crimes increases, solving these crimes becomes more challenging. Forensic illustration has become increasingly important as a tool in identifying both perpetrators and victims. Now a leading forensic artist, who has taught this subject at law enforcement academies, schools, and universities internationally, offers readers the benefit of her extensive knowledge and experience. Forensic Art and Illustration is the first book to provide complete coverage of all aspects of the field, and includes much previously unavailable information.

    Beginning with the first-ever in-depth documentation of the history of forensic art, this book proceeds logically through explanations of facial anatomy, practical methodologies and techniques, case examples, and a glossary of terms. More than 700 illustrations and photographs depict art methods used in identifying and locating crime victims and criminal offenders. Numerous successful examples, taken from actual solved cases, demonstrate applications of the methods and techniques presented. Ideal for both forensic artists who want to improve their skills and those who work with them in law enforcement, Forensic Art and Illustration is a practical guide as well as a complete look at the state of the art of forensic illustration today.

    The Foundation
    Introduction to Forensic Art and Illustration
    A History of Forensic Art
    The Human Face
    Drawing the Human Face

    Finding and Identifying the Living
    The Interview
    Composite Imagery
    Age Progression: Growth
    Age Progression: Aging
    Image Assessment and Modification

    Identifying the Dead
    Postmortem Drawing
    Skull Protection and Preparation for Reconstruction
    Two-Dimensional Facial Reconstruction from the Skull
    Three-Dimensional Facial Reconstruction on the Skull
    Methods of Superimposition

    Additional Responsibilities
    Professional Ethics and Conduct
    Printing and Graphics Reproduction
    Dealing with the News Media
    The Forensic Artist in Court


    Karen T. Taylor is a freelance portrait artist who worked for 18 years as a forensic artist at the Texas Department of Public Safety in Austin, Texas. She attended the School of Fine Arts at the University of Texas and the Chelsea School of Fine Art in London, where she was also a freelance portrait sculptor for Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum. Her crime-fighting artwork for law enforcement agencies and FOX Television’s “America’s Most Wanted” has involved a variety of art services to aid in the apprehension and conviction of criminal offenders or to promote the identification of unknown deceased persons. The success of her forensic art led to Ms. Taylor being named one of the “Texas Women of the Century.” A forensic art instructor for many years at the FBI Academy and other law enforcement academies, universities, and medical schools in the U.S. and Canada, Ms. Taylor now also trains fine artists. Her specialty is highly realistic and expressive portraits in bronze. She accepts both forensic art and fine art commissions through her studio, Facial Images, in Austin. She is currently working on a book entitled Understanding the Human Face.

    "For anyone interested in forensic related art, facial reconstruction and identification, this book is a wealth of knowledge. … Certainly, it is a major work that merits serious attention and consideration. Importantly, the language and style of writing is most conducive to a quick grasp of the intended meaning. Finally, noting that the author gave named recognition to other contributors, it speaks well that the book was written for the right reasons."

    "This book is quite literally a vade mecum on the subjects it canvasses. … it is a manual, more than merely a primer, for the investigative uses of the subjects of forensic art and illustration. … would I stock my library with this book? I have two, one for my home study and one for my professional office. Need more be said in praise of this book?"
    -PROFESSOR JAMES E. STARRS, LLM, Professor of Law and Forensic Sciences, George Washington University, Law School, Washington, D.C., in Scientific Sleuthing Review

    "… a comprehensive text that examines forensic art and its role in criminal investigation … essential not only to law enforcement and criminal justice personnel but also to forensic and social anthropologists, police artists, and mental health care professionals who assist crime victims."
    -MICHAEL TAISTER, Forensic Artist, Forensic Science Communications, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Washington, D.C., in Forensic Science Communications

    "[a] multidisciplinary approach to many forensic art applications … an excellent publication … this is one of those books that defines a discipline and will be read and referred to for many years …"
    -ROY PASCHAL, Forensic Artist, South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, in Journal of Forensic Identification

    "Our viewers know we've worked with Karen on many cases. She's one of the best."
    -JOHN WALSH, Host of "America's Most Wanted," FOX Television

    "… a class act by a class author … a wonderful contribution to the area …"
    -DR. RONALD P. FISHER, Department of Psychology, Florida International University, Miami

    "As Vernon Geberth's Practical Homicide Investigation is the bible for homicide investigators, Karen Taylor's Forensic Art and Illustration will become the bible for forensic artists."
    -DETECTIVE CASEY JOHNSON, King County Sheriff's Office, Seattle, Washington

    "… superb. It provides an easy-to-read and practical guide to the esoteric science of forensic art."
    -DR. CLYDE SNOW, Forensic Anthropologist

    "Great for Television Writers … The book succeeds as both a useful research tool for the experienced analyst as well as being a fascinating, entertaining, easy to follow text for anyone who is new to the field of forensic art … We cannot say enough good things about this book."
    -JOSH BERMAN (Co-producer) and DAVID BERMAN (Researcher), "C.S.I.: Crime Scene Investigation", CBS Television

    "Karen Taylor, a renowned forensic artist, has created the definitive guide to the art and science of forensic illustration. In her lucidly written and gorgeously illustrated book, Forensic Art and Illustration, she provides an authoritative account of the history and practice of forensic illustration and offers her readers a fascinating glimpse into the world of crime victims and criminal offenders. Her book should become a classic reference text for those interested in forensic science and criminal justice, and an invaluable resource for those of us interested in the faces as researchers, artists, physicians, anthropologists, or simply as human beings."
    -NANCY ETCOFF, Ph.D., Psychologist and Neuropsychologist, Harvard Medical School
    Author of "Survival of the Prettiest"

    "This book should be in the library of every forensic artist and forensic anthropologist. Taylor has managed to produce a comprehensive reference text that is encyclopedic in scope, yet is as interesting as a mystery novel. The book is filled with well-illustrated case reports and step-by-step instructions on the use of techniques … Taylor's artistic talents, which have resulted in successful identification of countless suspects as well as victims, are now matched only by her talents as an author."
    -EMILY CRAIG, Ph.D, Forensic Anthropologist, Kentucky State Medical Examiner's Office

    "… more than worth the price … it covers simply everything, and even manages to do it in an interesting, extremely well-written manner. I actually found myself sitting down and reading it just for pleasure. A perfectly superb piece of work."
    -AARON ELKINS, Anthropologist and Edgar-award winning mystery writer, Washington

    "Karen Taylor's much anticipated text on forensic art happily lives up to the highest expectations. Karen is preeminent in the field and one of the few people practicing today who has professional experience in ALL aspects of forensic art … Chapters [which are] co-authored with Betty Pat. Gatliff (the 'Grand Dame' of forensic facial reconstruction) will be especially appreciated by the students of these two distinguished international teachers."
    -ROBERT GEORGE, Ph.D., Professor of Anatomy and Biology, Florida International University, Miami

    "Karen Taylor has done a thorough and painstaking job to make this technical arena both fascinating and accessible. … no one will come away without having learned an immense amount about how art aids in criminal investigation."
    -DR. KATHERINE RAMSLAND, Court TV/Crime Library

    "In addition to being a wonderful … 'how to do it', the book is enjoyable and interesting to read even for the lay reader. … I suspect that the very simple and straightforward approach conveyed in Forensic Art and Illustration only comes from those who feel the masters (or mistresses) of their field of expertise. I consider this book an essential part of every forensic anthropologist's and odontologist's library."
    -DR. JOHN G. CLEMENT, Professor of Oral Pathology and Forensic Odontology, University of Melbourne, Australia

    "Taylor has made a wonderful contribution for all future Forensic Investigation … a must read."
    -SUSAN KLINGER, D.O., Pathologist, Anchorage, Alaska

    "… the quintessential forensic art book that sets the standard for the discipline and for all future textbooks to come. Taylor's book has well over 500 pages of illustrations and information … meticulously researched, organized, referenced and indexed … great aid for criminal lawyers, police departments, colleges with criminal justice courses and … research psychologists."
    -DETECTIVE FRANK DOMINGO, Forensic Artist, New York City Police Department, Retired

    "Impressive … thorough coverage of all the diverse aspects of facial reconstruction … every work step and work background is described extensively, and detailed descriptions of specific cases are given … this book is a new standard!"
    -PROF. DR. FREIDRICH W. ROSING, Anthropologist, Institute for Human Genetics and Anthropology, Ulm, Germany

    "… an amazing contribution for portrait artists and teachers of art at high school and adult levels …"
    -DR. JUDY KULA, Professor of Art, Phoenix College, Arizona, USA

    "… an extraordinarily concise and helpful guide in my efforts to understand this field of research. … Taylor finds the exact balance of effective teaching … she is able to demystify the complexities of such work by a step by step approach based in common sense … I consider this book to be a prize possession and it no doubt will, as Ms. Taylor hoped, be dog-eared and worn from frequent use."
    -DONNA CLINE, M.A., Cline Medical Illustration, Sierra Madre, California

    "Finally, one of the most accomplished Sketch Artists of our time has brought the discipline of Forensic Art into focus …"
    -GIL ZAMORA, Forensic Artist and Instructor, San Jose, California

    "… this book reads as though you are sitting next to Ms. Taylor and she has decided to reveal the secrets of the forensic art universe over a cup of tea … no artist will be able to claim he or she is properly trained without having studied with Karen or from her book."
    -KAREN HARE, Crime Scene Investigator, Midland, Texas

    "… an invaluable aid for any practitioner in this field."
    -JANET RICHARDSON, Forensic Artist, United Kingdom

    "… a gift to all who toil in the trenches of police investigations."
    -KAREN WISNIEWSKI, Police Officer, Fingerprint Examiner, Composite Artist, Dearborn, Michigan

    "… Karen has handed down to us a career's worth of precious and priceless knowledge …"
    -LT. LISA SHEPPARD, Texas Department of Public Safety, Corpus Christi

    "… the most comprehensive, detailed, methodical, insightful and visual presentation of the profession …"
    -DETECTIVE KEVIN RICHLIN, San Jose, California

    "… the definitive book on artists who use their talents to help law enforcement catch criminals …"
    -LOIS GIBSON, Forensic Artist, Houston Police Department, Texas

    "This is a classic portrait drawing book. Karen Taylor's book deserves 5 stars … There is nothing like it … fascinating reading."
    -JAMES L. FERRY, Art Instructor, Sacramento, California

    "… THE ONLY complete source on the subject of forensic illustration available today. … It is a must for every potential police sketch artist and every law enforcement agency!"
    -DOROTHY NALLS, Forensic Artist, Carpinteria, California

    "… will no doubt be the bible of forensic artists for many, many years to come."
    -CHARLES T. JACKSON, Forensic Artist, Haddon Township, New Jersey

    "… I'm certain that the excellent presentation of material, coupled with the easy-to-follow information will keep the novice reader and professional artist involved from cover to cover. And it should hold a proud spot on everyone's shelf as a learning resource for years to come."
    -LORI FRANZ, Continuing Education Staff, University of Texas, Austin

    "… Her book has been a tremendous guide for me in understanding the interview process of victims/witnesses, and her examples of her own drawings have been an aide to me that is unsurpassed."
    -CORPORAL WALTER SIEGEL, Police Officer, Shaker Heights, Ohio

    "… a must for all forensic artists."
    -ROBER T. EXTER, Forensic Artist, Reddind, California

    "The clearly described detail makes this book a must as a reference/resource for all professional personnel involved in forensic identification."
    - RONN TAYLOR, Forensic Sculptor, Victorian Institute of Medicine and School of Dental Science, The University of Melbourne, Australia

    "… a MUST tool for any forensic artist! …"
    -STEVEN L. JOHNSON, Forensic Artist, Davenport, Iowa

    "an excellent resource manual for us to keep nearby when consulting and working on active cases"
    -MICHAEL STREED, Detective, Orange County, Calfornia

    "For any artist who desires to understand the human head, this book is a must."
    - DETECTIVE BOB POWERS, Chief Forensic Artist, Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff's Office, USA

    "Forensic Art and Illustration is the perfect synthesis of art and science applied to forensics... An outstanding landmark in the field, Forensic Art and Illustration is the one book for anyone interested in the application of art and illustration to forensic investigations."
    -Science & Justice 2001; vol. 41;4 (November)

    "...In a highly interesting and fascinating presentation, leading forensic artist Karen T. Taylor explains how we can use art for administration of law and justice...."
    Anil Aggrawal's Internet Journal of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology, Volume 3, Number 1, January - June 2002

    For established forensic artists, it would prove to be an excellent text for recapitulation or even for familiarization of new facts. People in other sub disciplines of forensic science (e.g. forensic pathologists like this reviewer) would find this book immensely interesting, if only to know what this new and exciting branch is all about.
    —Anil Aggrawal's Internet Journal of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology