How to Make a Facial Identification Catalog – Intro

large nose

If you’re out there doing composites, you probably have photo references that you are using. Whether it’s a catalog you purchased, a bootleg Xeroxed copy somebody gave you (that’s a no-no by the way!), or simply a collection of images you gathered together in a file box, most artists use some type of visual reference system. […]

How to Make a Facial Identification Catalog – Step 1

Forensic artist's facial reference page

Ok, I guess I should let you in on what we’re going to create. We’re going to make pages that hold 16 photos each, four across and four down. If you don’t think you can gather 16 photos for each category, then you can do nine per page (3 across, 3 down). Either way, we’re […]

How to Make a Facial Identification Catalog- Step 2


Now we’re going to start scanning some photos. Photos that you know are OK to use, by the way. If you’re scanning faces, you’ll want them to be at least one and a half inches high to be useful for your book (think: passport photo size). If you’re scanning photos of hats, jewelry, or other objects, use your own best judgment […]

How to Make a Facial Identification Catalog – Step 3


So, you’ve taken pictures of all your friends, scanned everything in all the photo albums you have, done some horse-trading with other forensic artists, and still you need more photos. Here’s the good news: you can get more online…Here’s the bad news: You may not be able to use them. One reason might be low resolution. […]

How to Make a Facial Identification Catalog – Step 4


Now that you’ve got some images, the time has come to sort them into categories. You can either use Adobe Bridge for this, or use the thumbnail view. I like Bridge better because I can change the size of the images much larger if I want to get a closer look at something. Above, I […]

How to Make a Facial Identification Catalog – Step 5

Before cropping an image to 2x2.5, and after

We’re almost done! Now we’re going to crop these photos so they will fit nicely on a page. In Photoshop, select the crop tool, and set the size to 2 by 2.5 inches…but leave the resolution field blank (trust me on this, I’ll explain why in a separate post).  You’ll have to open up and […]

Friday Funnies!


It’s going to be 80 degrees here today, perfect weather for heading out and doing basically nothing. Just be careful, and have a great weekend!

Forensic Artist Q&A: Detective Charles T. Jackson

Today I’m happy to have  Charles T. “Chuck” Jackson answer some questions about himself and the field of forensic art.  Chuck is employed at a municipal agency in Camden County New Jersey,  and hosts the site How did you get started in forensic art? While at the police academy in 1989, we received a block of […]

Palm Beach County forensic artist’s sketches lead to arrests

Paul Moody.  Photo by Mark Randall, Sun Sentinel

  This is what I love to see:  Forensic Art and the artist behind the work getting the positive attention it deserves. “The first thing they notice is the eyes. Victims will never forget the eyes. Then down to the nose and mouth. Crooked or gold teeth tend to stick in one’s memory. The head […]

Forensic Artist Q&A: Wes Neville


How did you get started in forensic art? After a tour in the United States Navy, I was in limbo as to a definitive career path. I ended up choosing law enforcement. In 1987 I started as a patrol officer for a small agency in South Carolina. Several years passed and I realized that I was […]