Reading the Skull : Advanced 2D Reconstruction book cover
1st Edition

Reading the Skull
Advanced 2D Reconstruction

  • Available for pre-order on August 11, 2023. Item will ship after September 1, 2023
ISBN 9781032259109
September 1, 2023 Forthcoming by CRC Press
168 Pages 194 Color & 5 B/W Illustrations

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USD $170.00

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Book Description

While there are a handful of introductory texts and resources on 2D drawing for facial identification and reconstruction, most often they don’t go beyond this cursory presentation of the subject. There is need for an advanced text available for artists who wish to learn more about reading and understanding the skull to inform more accurate and detailed 2D craniofacial reconstruction work.

Reading the Skull: Advanced 2D Reconstruction fills this need by providing instruction on how to identify basic features, as well as indicators and anomalies in bone structures, to help in illustrating more specific and unique details in facial structure and features. Since artists are most frequently visual learners, the book presents comparative photos of skulls with life photos to help better identify and decipher distinguishing facial characteristics. Because many forensic artists perform few reconstructions each year—and have very little exposure to skulls—the author has written this text to show examples of distinct elements in the skull for artists to see, compare, and learn. In doing so, it provides those who do not regularly work with skulls more exposure to them and allows readers the ability to apply such information and better extrapolate features for the purpose of more accurately rendering an individual’s unique facial features.

When examining the skull closely, each feature can be more detailed based on what the bone is indicating, and the work can be more accurate to that specific skull. Characteristics such as the ears, facial harmony and symmetry, shape of eye and brow, nose and mouth, the aging process, sex and ancestral background—among others—are all singular to that skull and adds to the gestalt of that face to make more identifiable as an individual. 

Reading the Skull is a ground-breaking collection of the author’s personal study and research, other published works from the literature on facial features, as well as numerous examples from donors to forensic anthropology centers in the US. Work presented draws upon new information from anthropologists and others in related fields and disciplines who continue to study facial features determinations based on the skull. As such, it provides a fresh perspective, summarizing several studies and work together in a single book.

Table of Contents

    1. Introduction  2. Photographing the skull  3. The face and ears  4. Casework  5. The eye and brow  6. The nose  7. The mouth  8. Facial reconstruction in the UK  9. Traumatic injury and anomalies  10. Facial comparison

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    Natalie Murry is a freelance forensic artist currently based in Austin, Texas. She began her forensic art career while working as a police officer in Kent Washington. She does reconstructions and postmortem drawings for the King County Medical Examiner’s Office in Seattle Washington, and the Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office in Everett Washington. She has taught forensic artists to draw digitally at workshops at police departments from Washington to New Jersey as well as at Scottsdale Artists School and at the Forensic Anthropology Center at Texas State University. Natalie is on the forensic art subcommittee for the International Association for Identification, and is an IAI certified forensic artist. She has had two articles published in the Journal of Forensic Identification: in September/October 2015 entitled "Rotating the Anterior View of a Skull into the Frankfort Horizontal Plane for Postmortem Drawings" and in April/June 2021 entitled "Skull to Photo Comparison for Identification Purposes." She has been a beta tester for Corel Painter since the 2016 build. Her work can be seen on her website,, on Instagram as @NatalieMurryForensicArt, and on Facebook as NatalieMurryForensicArt.