Q: I read your comment about memories being best when a loved one is lost, but I have a young couple who lost a child and have stated to me how much it hurts not to know what he would look like as he grew up. I understand your point in a way, but could you direct me where to begin if I wanted to get training for aging through computer technology, like Photoshop, such as missing children use? Unfortunately, I am not blessed with an artists hand. Like you, I wouldn’t charge for this. Knowing I gave someone comfort and peace would be enough.
A: It’s very kind of you to want to do this, but it’s really more complicated than you think. Even with using digital drawing and painting tools like Photoshop, the process is still very much artist-driven. If a person can’t draw using a pencil and paper, then they won’t be able to draw well using a computer either. A forensic art colleague put it best: it’s much more technique than technology.
Also, there is the misconception that an artist can accurately predict what a child might look like as they age. That’s just not the case. Three different forensic artists will come up with three different interpretations of what a child might look like. They might be a bit similar, but they aren’t going to be the same. This process is not a science. It is more suited to missing children cases, where police are trying to generate leads, and are using the image to spur public interest.