Thursday 29 March 2007

Courtroom sketching revisited: "It's tantamount to having a telephone and using a carrier pigeon instead."

Having a personal interest in the much overlooked craft of courtroom sketching, I was stimulated to see a fellow sketcher get the front page (March 28), presumably all around the world. The name of the artist is not given in my local rag, but a quick google shows it to be the work of illustrator Janet Hamlin (google image search shows some book illustration) for the AP. There could have been some other courtroom examples around the net, but they all appear to have been removed. There's an article written by her here, PAD & CHARCOAL -- Sketchbook: Guantanamo Bay By JANET HAMLIN Thursday, April 27, 2006
"Guantanamo Bay is a world within a world. You have beautiful views of Cuba -- open and a bit hilly, with flowers, cacti, the ocean. But look around at the fences, towers and squat military buildings, and you realize you're in a vast enclosure, the residents all in uniform. The AP sent me to Gitmo, as it's called, as a courtroom artist to draw what's going on at the military tribunals. While I was there, I sketched whenever possible. I wanted to warm up my drawing skills and visually gather what I could... " But the short piece is an intro to a showing of sketches which are no longer showing.

From the Toronto Star, March 24: Drawn to the law. Courtroom artist Verna Sadock posts recent drawings in the courthouse in Chicago, Monday, March 19, 2007.
"Court artists say everyone cares about how they're portrayed. Conrad Black wants fewer frown lines," Rick Westhead writes. "What does Conrad Black have in common with Michael Jackson? Both have come under the scrutinizing gaze of sketch artist Verna Sadock... (who) is one of four artists who have spent the past week in U.S. federal court in Chicago drawing Black, Judge Amy St. Eve, the dozen-plus jurors and even reporters scrambling to jot down Black's every scratch, twitch and itch. It's fast-paced work. Using pastel pencils, charcoal and markers, Sadock and other artists finish some drawings in as little as 15 minutes.
Cheryl Cook, who has worked as a sketch artist in Chicago the past 12 years, and other artists typically charge news outlets as much as $400 (U.S.) a day and sometimes make more money selling other pictures to lawyers. Ed Genson, one of Black's lawyers, has been a customer, Sadock said.
"It's a very old fashioned holdover from a time when we lacked technology," said Paula Todd, who hosts a legal affairs show on CTV and is among Cook's customers. "It's tantamount to having a telephone and using a carrier pigeon instead. I think we should be allowing cameras in – all the public is entitled to see."

I remember enjoying an article at Westchester Weekly where Artist Dick Rockwell discussed his career as a court sketcher, but all that remains of it is this image which mark Evanier lifted from it for his obituary of the artist in april last year. Rockwell's earlier career had been as assistant artist on Milt Caniff's Steve Canyon for some 30 years.

Here's an old one: Federal judge ejects sketch artist from court11/30/1993
"A federal judge in Muskogee, Okla., ejected a Texas television station's sketch artist from a courtroom in mid- November, claiming his work disrupted the court proceedings.
Doug Latta, sketch artist for KXII-TV in Sherman, Texas, entered U.S. District Judge Frank Seay's courtroom for a federal $90 million racketeering trial carrying his standard equipment: a sketch pad and an art supply box. He sat three rows from the front with the reporter from the TV station.
Thirty minutes into the hearing, Judge Seay stopped the proceedings and asked the jury to leave briefly. He then asked the bailiff to escort Latta out of the courtroom, saying in open court that he finds sketch artists as disruptive as camera operators, which are not permitted in the court.
The reporter from KXII approached Judge Seay and suggested that removal of the artist raised First Amendment issues. The judge responded that the reporter might have to write in the hall the next day because the judge found note-taking to be distracting, the reporter said."

It reminds of the time Judge Shanahan had me turfed out. I knew it was his policy to allow reporters only in the upstairs gallery. However, as I could only get a view of the top of the accused's bonce from up there I intermingled with his legal people in the hope nobody would notice. I got away with it for about four minutes, which was all I needed. However I told reporter Sharon Marshall it was going to start costing more if such intrigues became the norm. I think that may have been the time our parish priest was in the dock.

Richard Horsman in comments yesterday drew my attention to this. BBC Radio 4 produced an adaptation of Life In London with Greg Wise and Mark Gatiss as Tom and Jerry. It was last year. We missed it. But the page linked to has a glossary of slang terms. Check it out! (excerpt, with a couple of words used in yesterday's extract)
Daffy - gin. Also known as blue ruin, Old Tom, max, flash of lightning, jackey.
Dipper - a pickpocket.
Duce - two-pence.
Dunagen - a privy.
(re the last: they still say 'dunny' in australia for a toilet, obviously from the same source (unknown... My pal White thinks maybe after the proper name of a manufacturer of the porcelain))

In other news.
Authors lose appeal over Da Vinci Code plagiarism-- Guardian, March 28
"Two authors who claimed Dan Brown's blockbuster novel The Da Vinci Code was largely copied from their earlier book today lost an appeal over the case.
Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh, two of the three authors of The Holy Blood And The Holy Grail, who appealed against the original high court ruling in April last year, now face legal bills of around £3m."

That'll larn them.

Publishers Weekly, March 27:
Rodolphe Topffer: The Complete Comic Strips
"is not only the first English-language collection of Topffer’s work but the first collection of Topffer’s complete comics oeuvre to be published in any language. The copious notes in Kunzle’s appendixes elucidate Topffer’s satiric commentary on the manners, politics and culture of his time."
Sign me up!!



Blogger Christopher Moonlight said...

I think at this point I'd take up court sketching, if it twernt for the wee one.
Also, as I was teaching, one of my students (a little girl) was overheard to be saying that Elvis died on "the dumper." The whole class had a laugh over that one, they did.

29 March 2007 at 01:54:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Jack Ruttan said...

Maybe he was going scritchy-scratchy, or spreading his paint box and pastels everywhere. Maybe people were crowding around him to see what he was doing.

I was at least a classroom sketch artist.

29 March 2007 at 07:15:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Hayley Campbell said...

Or maybe he was very Campbellian about it all and brought his pencils along in a biscuit tin. The judge was just pissed off no one offered him a custard cream.

29 March 2007 at 07:23:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Richard said...

I'm actually on the trail of a copy of that Life in London radio series (particularly since the book is unobtainable to one on my budget (stop it Campbell, stop it!)). I'll let you know if anything develops.

29 March 2007 at 12:41:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Eddie Campbell said...

that book and a couple of others were my gift to myself in the frothy aftermath of the success of the collected From Hell. Frankly I'd have been happy with a modern printing, but there are some books that just aint ever going to get reprinted and one is left with no choice
Let me know how you go with the radio prog.


29 March 2007 at 16:51:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Eddie Campbell said...

oh, and Christopher.
my own wee'uns Callum and Erin were reminiscing last night about the time I got the call and had to drag them along and leave them in the courthouse canteen with pencils and paper for the better part of an hour (Erin would have been school age... must have been summer holidays or something). they drew pictures of the judge and what they thought was going on inside.
they had me sent down for ten years before I got back to them.

29 March 2007 at 16:56:00 GMT-5  
Blogger drjon said...

I must admit, I did think about your own tales when I saw Hicks' scraggly bonce on the front pages.

31 March 2007 at 04:32:00 GMT-5  
Anonymous London escorts said...

As I've heard pigeons can spread some dangerous diseases. But phones are harmful for our health too. So what to chose ? :)

17 October 2009 at 07:49:00 GMT-5  
Blogger M. T. Tompson said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

13 November 2009 at 10:28:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Unknown said...



13 November 2009 at 10:35:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Unknown said...

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2 February 2010 at 04:59:00 GMT-5  
Blogger mr ed said...

Just stumbled across this ages after it was hatched.
If you aren't aware of the great (and I mean great) Howard Brodie, I would imagine it might be love at first sight.

Patrick Ford

30 November 2011 at 23:34:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Eddie Campbell said...

You may be interested : I wrote about Brodie recently

1 December 2011 at 01:17:00 GMT-5  

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