Marlene Steele

Court Room Sketch

My courtroom drawing experiences

By Marlene Steele

Working within the courtroom drama is a unique application of drawing and portrait skills. The styling of the images borders on a combination of characterization and cartooning. The economy of the style develops from the pressure to capture quickly the various episodes as they evolve fluidly before me.  I encapsulate the proceedings in a series of “frames” that present the important personalities and events of the case. This provides the storyline that the reporter will write to. Sometimes the news director will have a particular angle to work that will focus my choices of characters and influence the composition. In my job in the courtroom, I try to remain neutral to the situation and focus on dynamic drawing.

It is a test of drawing speed and efficiency. My drawings are in pastel pencil on a lap-sized sheet of pastel paper which clips easily to a board. It is most important to keep the images clean and clearly presented.