When A Courtroom Sketch Artist Fails

Courtroom sketch artist Jane Rosenberg is the latest target of the internet’s ridicule thanks her unsuccessful drawing of NFL quarterback Tom Brady. As a courtroom sketch artist myself, I have a few thoughts to share.

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“I’ve Been Framed!” Claims Courtroom Sketch Artist

Denny Hecker Sentencing

My apologies for the horrible pun in the title of this post.

In addition to my normal illustration work, every once in a while I get requests from the local media to do a little courtroom sketching. My courtroom sketches have been purchased for broadcast by MSNBC, ESPN, 20/20, Good Morning America, the NFL Network, and the NNS. I’ve worked on court cases involving murder, kidnapping, wire fraud, drug trafficking, union battles, even a high school shooting.

Waseca, MN is a small town in southern Minnesota near where I grew up. A few months ago the Waseca Art Council contacted me and asked if they could host an exhibit of my courtroom sketches. I was very flattered and naturally said “yes”.

The exhibit is called “Artwork On Trial” and will run from Sept. 6 – Oct. 19, with an opening reception on Friday, Sept. 6 from 7:00-9:00pm. If you find yourself in Waseca sometime in the next few weeks with nothing better to do, feel free to stop in and have a look.

You can also view a few samples over at my courtroom sketch website, www.courtroomsketches.com.  If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be a courtroom sketch artist, here’s a blog post I wrote on the subject.

Courtroom Sketching: Amy Senser Trial, Day 7

Today was the final day of the trail. Both sides made their closing arguments and fate of Amy Senser is now in the hands of a jury. I was making my final trek down to the camera crew by lunch.  I knew this would be a short day so I drew extra fast.

Good Morning America has been including my sketches in some daily updates they’ve been running on the trials. So this story has officially gone national.

First, a sketch I forgot to include in yesterday’s upload…

courtroom sketch
The defense questions an expert on issues related to driving and night vision.

Today’s sketches:

courtroom sketch
The defense attorney asks permission to include some evidence that the court has ruled inadmissable.
courtroom sketch
The prosecuting attorney uses powerpoint to summarize her closing arguements for the jury.
courtroom sketch
The defense attorney summarizes his closing arguments for the jury.

Courtroom Sketching: Amy Senser Trial, Day 6

Today Amy Senser finally took that stand and got a chance to tell her side of the story. A very emotional day, and everyone in the courtroom seemed riveted as she spoke. Everything should wrap up tomorrow and then I’ll start getting busy catching up on other client work.

courtroom sketch
The defense attorney asks Amy Senser to explain what happened on the night of the fatal accident.
courtroom sketch
The prosecuting attorney asks Amy Senser some pointed questions in an effort to poke holes in her testimony.
courtroom sketch
Whenever slides were shown of the victim's body, Amy Senser would lower her head.

Courtroom Sketching: Amy Senser Trial, Day 2

Today was Day 2 of the Amy Senser hit-and-run trial, and once again I was hired by local station KSTP-5 to do some courtroom sketches. Several witnesses took the stand so I was drawing fast and furious. Courtroom sketching is always a balancing act. Do I focus on quantity or quality? A couple of really good sketches or several hurried ones? Here’s what I was able to bang out today.

While I have your attention, don’t forget about my Amazon book sale and the autographed Disney maquette-and-sketch combo I’m auctioning off on ebay. Only two days left to bid.

Amy Senser and her attorney
Amy Senser, seated next to her attorney, bows her head as she listens to 911 calls from the accident scene.
Amy Senser cries
Amy Senser dabs tears from her eyes as the medical examiner discusses the victim's injuries.
The courtroom
A witness dabs tears from her eyes as she listens to a tape of her 911 call from the crime scene.
courtroom sketch of victim's family member
A relative of the victim gives her testimony.
medical examiner
The medical examiner describes the damage to the victim's body.
Brittani Sensor
Amy Senser's stepdaughter Brittani Sensor testifies.

What It’s Like To Do Courtroom Sketching

A witness in the Gamboa meth trial, Fargo ND

Every once in a while I am hired by a local Minneapolis TV station to do courtroom sketches. Minnesota has a strict law forbidding cameras from all courtrooms so when big dramatic trials go down I often get a phone call.

I enjoy courtroom sketching but it has its challenges. Here’s some of the balls a courtroom artist needs to juggle:

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