A professional provides step-by-step techniques, anecdotes from the field and other information related to forensic art.
Bailey, a forensic artist who has served as an instructor in the FBI’s Forensic Facial Imaging course, wrote this book in response to many questions from the public and from law enforcement. At first, she tried to handle these queries on her website, askaforensicartist.com, but Bailey “realized that there was only so much I could do with a website, and a book would be the best way to explain what I consider the most unusual, fascinating, and misunderstood job in law enforcement.” To that end, this volume discusses a wide variety of myths and realities in forensic art: working with eyewitnesses; sketching and sculpting by hand and computer; age progression; working with physical remains; methods of facial approximation; forensic art as a career; and personal stories from several forensic artists. Numerous black-and-white photos and drawings capably illustrate Bailey’s concepts. Her approach is practical and blunt, advising readers to talk to professionals and see whether forensic art is “something you’re willing to work years for, sell your house for, move for, adjust your entire lifestyle for. Because that’s what it may take.” She stresses the police aspects of the work, including the artist’s responsibility to victims or worried families, as well as the practicalities of working within limited law enforcement budgets. As both an introduction and handbook, the book doesn’t always go into detail. For example, Bailey provides much helpful information on how to hold a skull and how to align it properly for accurate photographs and so on, but she skims over how to attach one bone to another, beyond using “hot glue.” And while Bailey provides many helpful examples and anecdotes, she omits one of the best-known cases involving forensic art: fugitive John List, who murdered his family of five, was located nearly two decades later with the help of an age-progressed clay bust made by a forensic artist.
Packed with information and examples, this fascinating book will make a valuable addition to the library of anyone interested in the forensic arts.