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Forensic Art and Illustration [Hardcover]

by Karen T. Taylor
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (113 customer reviews)

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Book Description

September 15, 2000 0849381185 978-0849381188 1
As the number of stranger-on-stranger crimes increases, solving these crimes becomes more challenging. Forensic illustration has become increasingly important as a tool in identifying both perpetrators and victims. Now a leading forensic artist, who has taught this subject at law enforcement academies, schools, and universities internationally, offers readers the benefit of her extensive knowledge and experience. Forensic Art and Illustration is the first book to provide complete coverage of all aspects of the field, and includes much previously unavailable information.

Beginning with the first-ever in-depth documentation of the history of forensic art, this book proceeds logically through explanations of facial anatomy, practical methodologies and techniques, case examples, and a glossary of terms. More than 700 illustrations and photographs depict art methods used in identifying and locating crime victims and criminal offenders. Numerous successful examples, taken from actual solved cases, demonstrate applications of the methods and techniques presented. Ideal for both forensic artists who want to improve their skills and those who work with them in law enforcement, Forensic Art and Illustration is a practical guide as well as a complete look at the state of the art of forensic illustration today.

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Forensic Art and Illustration + Facial Geometry: Graphic Facial Analysis for Forensic Artists + Forensic Facial Reconstruction
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Editorial Reviews


"For anyone interested in forensic related art, facial reconstruction and identification, this book is a wealth of knowledge. … Certainly, it is a major work that merits serious attention and consideration. Importantly, the language and style of writing is most conducive to a quick grasp of the intended meaning. Finally, noting that the author gave named recognition to other contributors, it speaks well that the book was written for the right reasons."

"This book is quite literally a vade mecum on the subjects it canvasses. … it is a manual, more than merely a primer, for the investigative uses of the subjects of forensic art and illustration. … would I stock my library with this book? I have two, one for my home study and one for my professional office. Need more be said in praise of this book?"
-PROFESSOR JAMES E. STARRS, LLM, Professor of Law and Forensic Sciences, George Washington University, Law School, Washington, D.C., in Scientific Sleuthing Review

"… a comprehensive text that examines forensic art and its role in criminal investigation … essential not only to law enforcement and criminal justice personnel but also to forensic and social anthropologists, police artists, and mental health care professionals who assist crime victims."
-MICHAEL TAISTER, Forensic Artist, Forensic Science Communications, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Washington, D.C., in Forensic Science Communications

"[a] multidisciplinary approach to many forensic art applications … an excellent publication … this is one of those books that defines a discipline and will be read and referred to for many years …"
-ROY PASCHAL, Forensic Artist, South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, in Journal of Forensic Identification

"Our viewers know we've worked with Karen on many cases. She's one of the best."
-JOHN WALSH, Host of "America's Most Wanted," FOX Television

"… a class act by a class author … a wonderful contribution to the area …"
-DR. RONALD P. FISHER, Department of Psychology, Florida International University, Miami

"As Vernon Geberth's Practical Homicide Investigation is the bible for homicide investigators, Karen Taylor's Forensic Art and Illustration will become the bible for forensic artists."
-DETECTIVE CASEY JOHNSON, King County Sheriff's Office, Seattle, Washington

"… superb. It provides an easy-to-read and practical guide to the esoteric science of forensic art."
-DR. CLYDE SNOW, Forensic Anthropologist

"Great for Television Writers … The book succeeds as both a useful research tool for the experienced analyst as well as being a fascinating, entertaining, easy to follow text for anyone who is new to the field of forensic art … We cannot say enough good things about this book."
-JOSH BERMAN (Co-producer) and DAVID BERMAN (Researcher), "C.S.I.: Crime Scene Investigation", CBS Television

"Karen Taylor, a renowned forensic artist, has created the definitive guide to the art and science of forensic illustration. In her lucidly written and gorgeously illustrated book, Forensic Art and Illustration, she provides an authoritative account of the history and practice of forensic illustration and offers her readers a fascinating glimpse into the world of crime victims and criminal offenders. Her book should become a classic reference text for those interested in forensic science and criminal justice, and an invaluable resource for those of us interested in the faces as researchers, artists, physicians, anthropologists, or simply as human beings."
-NANCY ETCOFF, Ph.D., Psychologist and Neuropsychologist, Harvard Medical School
Author of "Survival of the Prettiest"

"This book should be in the library of every forensic artist and forensic anthropologist. Taylor has managed to produce a comprehensive reference text that is encyclopedic in scope, yet is as interesting as a mystery novel. The book is filled with well-illustrated case reports and step-by-step instructions on the use of techniques … Taylor's artistic talents, which have resulted in successful identification of countless suspects as well as victims, are now matched only by her talents as an author."
-EMILY CRAIG, Ph.D, Forensic Anthropologist, Kentucky State Medical Examiner's Office

"… more than worth the price … it covers simply everything, and even manages to do it in an interesting, extremely well-written manner. I actually found myself sitting down and reading it just for pleasure. A perfectly superb piece of work."
-AARON ELKINS, Anthropologist and Edgar-award winning mystery writer, Washington

"Karen Taylor's much anticipated text on forensic art happily lives up to the highest expectations. Karen is preeminent in the field and one of the few people practicing today who has professional experience in ALL aspects of forensic art … Chapters [which are] co-authored with Betty Pat. Gatliff (the 'Grand Dame' of forensic facial reconstruction) will be especially appreciated by the students of these two distinguished international teachers."
-ROBERT GEORGE, Ph.D., Professor of Anatomy and Biology, Florida International University, Miami

"Karen Taylor has done a thorough and painstaking job to make this technical arena both fascinating and accessible. … no one will come away without having learned an immense amount about how art aids in criminal investigation."

"In addition to being a wonderful … 'how to do it', the book is enjoyable and interesting to read even for the lay reader. … I suspect that the very simple and straightforward approach conveyed in Forensic Art and Illustration only comes from those who feel the masters (or mistresses) of their field of expertise. I consider this book an essential part of every forensic anthropologist's and odontologist's library."
-DR. JOHN G. CLEMENT, Professor of Oral Pathology and Forensic Odontology, University of Melbourne, Australia

"Taylor has made a wonderful contribution for all future Forensic Investigation … a must read."
-SUSAN KLINGER, D.O., Pathologist, Anchorage, Alaska

"… the quintessential forensic art book that sets the standard for the discipline and for all future textbooks to come. Taylor's book has well over 500 pages of illustrations and information … meticulously researched, organized, referenced and indexed … great aid for criminal lawyers, police departments, colleges with criminal justice courses and … research psychologists."
-DETECTIVE FRANK DOMINGO, Forensic Artist, New York City Police Department, Retired

"Impressive … thorough coverage of all the diverse aspects of facial reconstruction … every work step and work background is described extensively, and detailed descriptions of specific cases are given … this book is a new standard!"
-PROF. DR. FREIDRICH W. ROSING, Anthropologist, Institute for Human Genetics and Anthropology, Ulm, Germany

"… an amazing contribution for portrait artists and teachers of art at high school and adult levels …"
-DR. JUDY KULA, Professor of Art, Phoenix College, Arizona, USA

"… an extraordinarily concise and helpful guide in my efforts to understand this field of research. … Taylor finds the exact balance of effective teaching … she is able to demystify the complexities of such work by a step by step approach based in common sense … I consider this book to be a prize possession and it no doubt will, as Ms. Taylor hoped, be dog-eared and worn from frequent use."
-DONNA CLINE, M.A., Cline Medical Illustration, Sierra Madre, California

"Finally, one of the most accomplished Sketch Artists of our time has brought the discipline of Forensic Art into focus …"
-GIL ZAMORA, Forensic Artist and Instructor, San Jose, California

"… this book reads as though you are sitting next to Ms. Taylor and she has decided to reveal the secrets of the forensic art universe over a cup of tea … no artist will be able to claim he or she is properly trained without having studied with Karen or from her book."
-KAREN HARE, Crime Scene Investigator, Midland, Texas

"… an invaluable aid for any practitioner in this field."
-JANET RICHARDSON, Forensic Artist, United Kingdom

"… a gift to all who toil in the trenches of police investigations."
-KAREN WISNIEWSKI, Police Officer, Fingerprint Examiner, Composite Artist, Dearborn, Michigan

"… Karen has handed down to us a career's worth of precious and priceless knowledge …"
-LT. LISA SHEPPARD, Texas Department of Public Safety, Corpus Christi

"… the most comprehensive, detailed, methodical, insightful and visual presentation of the profession …"

"… the definitive book on artists who use their talents to help law enforcement catch criminals …"
-LOIS GIBSON, Forensic Artist, Houston Police Department, Texas

"This is a classic portrait drawing book. Karen Taylor's book deserves 5 stars … There is nothing like it … fascinating reading."
-JAMES L. FERRY, Art Instructor, Sacramento, California

"… THE ONLY complete source on the subject of forensic illustration available today. … It is a must for every potential police sketch artist and every law enforcement agency!"
-DOROTHY NALLS, Forensic Artist, Carpinteria, California

"… will no doubt be the bible of forensic artists for many, many years to come."
-CHARLES T. JACKSON, Forensic Artist, Haddon Township, New Jersey

"… I'm certain that the excellent presentation of material, coupled with the easy-to-follow information will keep the novice reader and professional artist involved from cover to cover. And it should hold a proud spot on everyone's shelf as a learning resource for years to come."
-LORI FRANZ, Continuing Education Staff, University of Texas, Austin

"… Her book has been a tremendous guide for me in understanding the interview process of victims/witnesses, and her examples of her own drawings have been an aide to ...

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 608 pages
  • Publisher: CRC Press; 1 edition (September 15, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0849381185
  • ISBN-13: 978-0849381188
  • Product Dimensions: 2.8 x 4 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (113 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #810,390 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Karen T. Taylor has always been passionate about faces and all their reflections. After studying art at the University of Texas and in London, she worked at Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum as a portrait sculptor. The native Texan then returned home to embark on a career she would never have dreamed of in her youth. The next quarter century was spent using her artistic skills to help resolve prominent criminal cases for law enforcement agencies throughout the world.

As an instructor for over twenty years at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia, Taylor shared knowledge learned in the trenches with the next generation of artistic crime fighters. Credited with coining the term "forensic art" in the early 1980s, her cases have involved a wide variety of challenges and innovative techniques. Her expertise includes composite drawing, child and adult age progression, postmortem imagery and forensic facial reconstruction. Taylor pioneered the method of two-dimensional facial reconstruction by drawing facial features over front and profile skull photographs using anthropological data. Her textbook, Forensic Art and Illustration, is the widely-acknowledged standard for the field.

A long term contributor to America's Most Wanted, she has often been profiled on Forensic Files and other reality-based programs. Fiction and true crime authors and television writers regularly seek her input on plot and script scenarios regarding faces and forensic art. CBS crime drama CSI: created a character based on Taylor and her hands and artwork have appeared on the show.

Taylor considers herself a life-long crime victims' advocate and forensic artist, but now also uses her skills in other applications. She creates skull-based faces of the long dead for historical projects for museums, the Discovery Channel and the History Channel. Her greatest passion these days is a portrait sculpture project honoring the "Good Guys". After years of depicting the "Bad Guys" and their victims, she enthusiastically commemorates in bronze individuals who have made a significant contribution to society...those she calls the "Good Guys".

A well-established specialist in the human face, Karen is currently working on a new textbook called Understanding the Human Face for Watson-Guptill. A nuts and bolts reference resource meant to benefit all those who deal with faces, it will enhance the artistic reader's ability to capture likeness in any two-or three-dimensional medium.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Priceless Knowledge January 11, 2001
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
As an officer with the Texas Department of Public Safety's Special Crimes Service, I have seen firsthand how a competent, professional, forensic artist can make the difference between success or failure in an investigation. Karen Taylor, in particular, has been instrumental in putting countless violent criminals behind bars. Numerous police agenices, communities, investigators and crime victims owe Karen Taylor a tremendous debt of gratitude for her contributions to law enforcement; many other individuals as well, because swift apprehension of predators meant they never had to experience the pain of becoming a crime victim. Unfortunately, I have also seen the wasted time and effort and the counterproductive confusion that accompanies substandard or marginal forensic art attempts. Forensic Art & Illustration should be "the reference" that sets the standard for forensic artists. It is also imperative that investigators, police administrators and prosecutors read and digest every word of this book. These professionals need to be able to evaluate the credibility of individual police artists and the techniques they employ to ensure that serious criminal investigations are not compromised. Thank you Karen for giving them the means to understanding. The intense labor and meticulous research that went into writing this book is apparent from start to finish. Karen Taylor has handed down to us a career's worth of precious and priceless knowledge. Her next project should be an anthology of case studies!!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't leave home without it... January 11, 2007
By Jerferd
Forensic Art and Illustration is completely indispensible to anyone serious about learning any aspect of forensic art, and also to the merely curious. I bought it because I had long been interested in facial reconstruction, and wanted to try it on my own. This book made the process remarkably easy, detailing how to build a stand to mount the skull on, lengths and locations of the tissue depth markers, and proper application of the clay, all accompanied by clear and easy-to-follow photos of Betty Pat. Gatliff's excellent work. There is also a very comprehensive section on two-dimensional facial reconstruction (largely Ms. Taylor's own innovation) that is worth the price of admission in itself.

The book is highly approachable, and accessible to anyone with even the vaguest interest in the subject. Every facet of forensic art (including its history) is covered in brilliant detail, so that the book serves as a truly practical manual as well as a fascinating read. Forensic Art and Illustration really is the gold standard in the field. Don't be caught without a copy in your forensic library.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Practical, Logical, Methodical, Clarity, .... July 6, 2001
I had thought that this book deserve a look... and I was right!!
The information is practical and essential to anyone dealing with forensics, especially dealing with skulls and reconstructing a close approximate illustration of the dead. It gives very useful, clear explanation with essential illustrations to bring the ideas to the reader.
I have bought the book and find it useful and interesting. ALL the other reviewers before me gave it a rating of 5 stars. Yes, it is truly a top-notch book and I have no doubt that it deserve such a rating.
If you want to get a good book on Forensic Art and Illustration, this book is a good one.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best and Only Forensic Art Text November 10, 2000
9Nov2000 Really exceptional, textbook quality but novel read! This book was used during a recent class by Betty Pat. Gatliff the famous Forensic Sculptor (chapters 11 and 13). Details of forensic portrait art and illustration from history to actual instruction with emphasis on identification of missing persons in drawing , sculpture, or composite from artifact facial bones or by other postmortem methods to reproduce the likeness including aging and other image modification. There are multiple case histories outlined and discussed. Karen T. Taylor has made a wonderful contribution for all future Forensic Investigation. I predict this text will be a "must-read" for lawyers/law enforcement, all artists, writers and also physicians such as myself in Forensic Pathology.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great research aid February 27, 2006
I recently completed a research paper regarding facial reconstruction. This book by Karen Taylor was by far the best and most helpful resource I found when doing research. The book contains excellent pictures detailing the work of Karen Taylor and of Betty Pat Gatliff. The pictures demonstrated a step-by-step illustration of the process of facial reconstruction. The book covered every aspect of forensic art and facial reconstruction including the history as well as a discussion of ethical considerations. The book was also understandable to a non-science major. I highly recommend this comprehensive book for anyone researching forensic art whether for academic, work, or personal reasons. By far the most detailed and interesting book on the subject matter.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A remarkable book from a remarkable woman! June 19, 2005
I have been a freelance sculptor for over 16 years with a majority of my work being in special prosthetic make-up effects for the Hollywood film industry. I am now currently working as an Anaplastolgist. I am always looking for new things to learn to better my skills. I purchased Karen's book about two years ago and was immediately hooked. Being a sculptor, I first tried to do a reconstruction on my own using the book as a guideline. I had the opportunity to show my attempt to Betty Pat. Gatliff when I attended her two week course in Oklahoma. Although I had a few errors in my process, the book had guided me very well. I then had the great opportunity to learn forensic drawing techniques from Karen herself in Arizona this year. Her techniques which are clearly layed out in the book transformed this sculptor's drawing abilities. The book is very easy to read, contains loads of photos and examples, and lots of step by step instruction that will have you surprising yourself with your results. My book is so worn out, and covered with clay and graphite, that I may have to get another one to keep front and center on my shelf with all my favourite books. You better buy two!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Take the stress out of learning something new
Forensic Art and Illustration is informative, concise and an easy read. Karen Taylor covers all important aspects of this topic and guides the reader through the process with an... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Gail Sage Damazo
5.0 out of 5 stars Liked it
As a college student, I look at many, many, textbooks. I can confidently say that, overall, this is a really excellent book. Read more
Published 13 months ago by toastwarrior
5.0 out of 5 stars I was very for
This content, which was very easy to understand, made ​​for.
To their work in the future, is one that can be utilized. Read more
Published 15 months ago by sumiko jukuhara
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Good
Am interested in the field of forensic art. Had checked out a few books from the library (had to request them) to see what I wanted to purchase. This was one of them.
Published 17 months ago by Jessica Morton
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Have
This book covers every aspect of forensic art from the history of forensic art to modern day. The information and diagrams is beneficial to anyone involved in forensic art. Read more
Published on May 20, 2011 by Jane
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and Comprehensive
This book should be in every forensic/police artist's library and is also a fascinating read for anyone wondering how art can help catch the bad guys.
Published on April 29, 2011 by Alice Bendig
4.0 out of 5 stars Forensic Art
This book gives the complete history of forensic art. It also provides technical advice for the aspiring composite artist or forensic sculptor. Read more
Published on April 3, 2011 by Mimi
5.0 out of 5 stars An essential text
Review Forensic Art by Karen Taylor

Forensic Art and Illustration by Karen Taylor has brought together a wealth of resources in a single text. Read more
Published on June 20, 2010 by J. M. Szten
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!
As an artist and someone who is very interested in the field of forensics, especially as a composite artist. Read more
Published on May 17, 2010 by The Beauty of Yarn
5.0 out of 5 stars Unique
I have had the great privilege of attending 2 Forensic Art and Illustration courses with Karen T. Taylor. Read more
Published on May 14, 2010 by Susan Fleischer
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