Secrets police sketch artists won't tell you

Smells as inspiration -
Smell triggers memory recall, which will help the person being questioned give a better description.

Smells as inspiration -
According to freelance forensic artist Melissa Cooper, this can take the witness back to the scene and “it’s a perfect state to be in.”

They might just have a skull as a reference - Sometimes forensic artists have to recreate facial features based on the skull of a deceased person.

They might just have a skull as a reference - “The skull says so much. It can tell you where the eyes angled, where the nostrils went, where the eyebrows were. 

Sketches might get a smile -
If there is anything off or unique about the person’s teeth, then the sketch should reflect that. So sometimes people are depicted with a smile or a grin.

Ears can be a tough nut to crack - Most people will recall facial features such as the eyes, nose, mouth, or chin, but will have trouble recalling ears.

Ears can be a tough nut to crack - Some sketch artists use catalogs of images they show witnesses, so that they might assist identify a certain feature.

They might use technology -
Artists often use software to manipulate sketches before they’re released to the public.

They might use technology -
Editing includes opening the eyes, closing the mouth, adjusting the jaw, or realigning the head, among other things.

They might sketch someone the police already know - Forensic artists sometimes do a sketch based on a suspect the police already have on file.

They might sketch someone the police already know - They usually do this to see if a witness matches the image with their own description.

Sketches are signed by witnesses - Once a sketch is completed, it’s considered police evidence. The witness is required to sign it.

Sketches are signed by witnesses - Witnesses do so usually on the back of the sketch, to avoid their signatures being recognized if the sketch goes public.

Most forensic artists don’t work full-time - Most forensic artists work as freelance consultants and are called in by law enforcement agencies when needed.

Most sketch artists won’t do other work - Although some artists do occasional gigs outside law enforcement, the majority stick to their jobs.

Luck plays a role -
They might draw the best sketch, but people must see it so it can do its job.

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