Career As Forensic Sketch Artist

Forensic sketch artists have the ability to capture the human face by sketching it on paper or creating a digital image with amazing life-like detail. Individuals who work as forensic artists are often employed with investigative agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) or as police sketch artists.

Forensic Sketch Artist

What Does a Forensic Sketch Artist Do?

A forensic artist’s main responsibilities include creating an image of a missing person or a criminal who committed a crime. Some professionals work in forensic science labs to help forensic pathologists identify deceased victims who law enforcement has been unable to identify. This is done by making a forensic facial reconstruction model of the victim. Forensic artists often go to crime scene investigations to interview witnesses who may have seen the victim or the perpetrator.

Classes for Becoming a Forensic Sketch Artist

Without a doubt, the main requirement for becoming a forensic artist is a natural ability to draw realistic images of people with accurate detail. Even with a minimal amount of talent, however, students can take art classes to learn how to draw. After a person has taken basic art classes, the next step would be to enroll in forensic classes that relate to forensic drawing.

Composite art classes are part of the fundamentals for becoming a forensic artist. Students are taught how to draw a person’s face without seeing the person, but with details provided by a witness. This aids law enforcement officers when they need a composite to pass out to the public.

For sketch artists who want to advance their career, one of the forensic classes needed is facial reconstruction. A course in forensic facial reconstruction teaches students three-dimensional and two-dimensional techniques for facial reconstruction with forensic anthropology. Students learn how to use markers to indicate tissue depth on the victim’s skull, apply clay to fill in the face and use artificial features to estimate eyes and hair.

Forensic anthropology is also helpful to individuals interested in a position as a forensic sketch artist. This area of study analyzes victim’s bones to determine factors such as if the victim is male or female and cause of death. Forensic anthropologists have to figure out how long the victim’s body was in the location where it was found and if the body was moved from somewhere else. This is important to forensic sketch artists because often the artist may have to re-create an image from skeletal remains and a forensic anthropology class can give the artist more details about the victim.

Forensic Computer Training for Sketch Artists

Other training a forensic sketch artist should consider is learning computer programs that relate to forensic sketching. Some forensic computer art programs are computerized crime scene sketching, image enhancement and age progression.

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