Forensic artists must overcome ingrained ideas of what the human face “should” look like in order to learn how to draw it realistically. Ironically, those ingrained images and perceptions tucked away in our minds present the biggest obstacles to realism. As a teacher of a forensic art class in anthropology at Northern Arizona University, I encounter students of varying degrees of artistic ability and background. I do not require that students have pre-requisite courses in art before taking my course because I believe that any student can learn to draw faces more realistically if they apply some basic forensic art techniques used in composite sketching combined with an understanding of facial anatomy. This article is about teaching Northern Arizona University students forensic art drawing methods, but it is also about the lesser-known aspect of doing composite sketches, such as applying cultural understanding and sensitivity when interviewing traumatized witnesses and survivors of crime. The result is a very holistic approach to composite sketching rather than a purely technical one.

This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.