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Forensic Art: Digital Postmortem Illustration

Instructor: Natalie Murry


Digital postmortem drawing by Natalie Murry
Digital postmortem drawing by Natalie Murry

September 29 - October 3, 2014 Tuition: $785/person

To aid with the identification of unknown deceased persons, forensic artists need specific knowledge.  This workshop teaches how to understand the physiological changes in deceased remains.  Digital graphic art software provides tools for effectively removing the postmortem changes to attempt to return a person to their appearance in life. The finished image is distributed in an attempt to trigger identification and bring answers to a family living with the anguish of a missing relative.

Utilizing Corel Painter software and Wacom Cintiq tablets, this workshop focuses on fundamentals of the black and white digital drawing process.  Case examples and classroom exercises give experience in assessing and removing postmortem changes, while utilizing the software to facilitate more precise work.  Included is creating hybrid images combining photographs and drawing in order to take advantage of all the clues to identification that remain at death.  Attendees come away with a solid introduction to this new technique and its many potential innovative uses.        

A special lecture on postmortem taphonomic changes in the human body will be presented by well- known FACTS forensic anthropologist, Dr. Kate Spradley.

The capabilities for addition of photographic components using Adobe Photoshop will be demonstrated although we are not using that software in this workshop.  If you wish to bring your own equipment, it is necessary to contact the instructor at nataliekmurry@gmail.com  in advance regarding your hardware and software. 

Topics

  • Understanding postmortem changes in the context of forensic art
  • Use of Corel Painter software
  • Use of Wacom Cintiq technology
  • Digital black and white drawing techniques


Natalie Murry, Instructor
Natalie Murry, Instructor

Instructor: Natalie Murry

Natalie Murry is a U.S. forensic artist currently residing in Washington State.  Though trained and proficient in hand-rendering, Natalie has been a driving force in an ongoing movement to develop and refine digital means of generating forensic art services.  The majority of her forensic work is created using professional art software with a stylus and a Cintiq tablet.  As a former law enforcement officer for ten years, Natalie’s background in interview and interrogation, criminal investigations, and evidence handling add depth to her forensic art expertise.

Natalie attended the Forensic Facial Imaging class at the FBI Academy in Quantico Virginia in 2001 and is currently a certified forensic artist with the International Association for Identification.  She has studied under Karen T. Taylor, Betty Pat Gatliff, and Carrie Stuart Parks.  David Kassan, Juliette Aristides, Michael Friel, Milo Duke, Margaret Davidson, Suzanne Brooker, Terry Furchgott, and Gary Faigin are among her fine art instructors.

Natalie has taught at the Gage Academy of Art in Seattle and the Scottsdale Artists’ School in Arizona prior to offering her new workshop at the Texas State University (FACTS) in San Marcos.  In addition to learning forensic art fundamentals, Natalie’s current courses allow students to gain hands-on experience rendering using the digital techniques she has spent many years honing.

Today, her energy is spent on multiple endeavors.  Her business, Natalie Murry Forensic Art, consists of both her forensic art workshops and her freelance forensic art business.  She draws composites for Seattle area police agencies and facial reconstructions and postmortem renderings for the King County Medical Examiner’s Office in Seattle.  She also serves as Vice President and Lead Artist at ID Forensic Art, offering a remote composite service nationwide to law enforcement agencies through LeadsOnline, the largest online investigative system in the US.  This artwork is done entirely digitally on a Wacom Cintiq drawing tablet.  This service allows the artist to interview victims and witnesses and complete their composite over an internet connection.  In this way, ID Forensic Art can provide forensic art services to any law enforcement agency in the US, many of which have never had access to a forensic artist.


Details

Audience:  This workshop benefits forensic, medical, and scientific artists and others who deal with faces. The most direct application is for law enforcement and medical examiner cases, although the skills obtained in digital work can be applied to other fields. 

Level: Digital drawing experience is beneficial, but not required.

Dates: September 29 - October 3, 2014 (8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily)

Location: Freeman Ranch Multipurpose Educational Facility, Texas State University, San Marcos, TX

Textbook: The textbook Forensic Art and Illustration by Karen T. Taylor is highly recommended, but not required. The book can be purchased at Amazon.com

Registration Information:

Contact: Sophia Mavroudas at 512-245-1900 or FACTS@txstate.edu for course information and local arrangements.

Tuition: $785/person (tuition does not travel or accommodations)

Payment: Space is limited. You can save a spot with a $100 deposit. Full payment of tuition (cash, check, credit card) is required by August 29, 2014.
Pay by Cash: Please bring cash to 1727 Old Ranch Road 12, San Marcos by August 29, 2014.
Pay by Check: Send check payable to "FACTS" to Sophia Mavroudas, FACTS, Department of Anthropology, Texas State University, 601 University Drive, San Marcos, TX 78666.
Pay by Credit Card: You may pay the tuition or deposit by credit card by clicking on the PAY BY CREDIT CARD link below and following the instructions. Please contact Sophia Mavroudas at 512-245-1900 or FACTS@txstate.edu and provide your name, address, agency, phone number and email.

PAY BY CREDIT CARD

Cancellations: A 10% administrative fee per registrant will be deducted for cancellation. Refund requests must be received in writing two weeks prior to workshop. No refunds will be made thereafter.