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From shattered skulls to suspects of crime: how forensic artists help solve law enforcement's toughest cases.
From shattered skulls to suspects of crime: how forensic artists help solve law enforcement's toughest cases.
212 backers pledged $5,287 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

$5,287

212

I’m writing a book about the always fascinating, often misunderstood world of forensic art. It’s not like CSI or Bones. It's better.

I've been a forensic artist for over 13 years. I've worked on hundreds of cases, and collaborated with forensic professionals all over the world. I've learned a lot about forensic art, and I want to share it with you. 

This book will be like I'm standing right there with a skull in my hand, talking to you, answering the questions I've gotten throughout my career.

  • How can we sculpt a face from an unidentified skull? 
  • Can we do the same things they do on shows like CSI and Bones? 
  • How can we draw a bad guy from just a witness's description?
  • Can someone go to jail based on one of our sketches? 
  • How do we know what a fugitive is going to look like after 30 years on the run? 
  • How does someone become a forensic artist in the first place? 

The reason for this book 

Any day you wake up, you could be a victim or a witness to a crime. Someone could break into your house right now, tie you up, and steal everything that isn't nailed down. And you'd have nothing…except for the memory of your attacker's face. That's all a forensic artist needs to put that image into the hands of law enforcement. Or, you could help solve a crime. When you see a sculpture of an unidentified person, do you know what to look for?  If you believe what you've seen on TV, that person might have lost their only chance to be identified.

You could even end up as a John Doe in a morgue yourself. Fingerprints, DNA, and dental records don't always make a connection; sometimes it's the work of a forensic artist that leads to the ID. 

But we can't solve our cases alone. We need you to make the link between our sketches and sculptures, skulls and suspects. You'll see how we really do our job, and learn how you provide the key to solving law enforcement's most puzzling cases. 

I've also asked several of my colleagues in forensic art to contribute by sharing a little bit about themselves, their experiences, and some of their casework. You'll hear real stories from the field, things that don't end up in the newspaper or online. I've known these artists for years, and found out things about them that nearly knocked me off my chair. When you're a cop and a forensic artist, you see and do a lot of cool things. 

Where does your hard-earned money go? 

Basically, to help out with the things that are beyond my expertise. Drawing and sculpting I can handle. And I've already paid for high-quality skull replicas, sculpting supplies, hardware, and software.

But there's still more to do, like layout and formatting, professional editing, proofreading, converting the thing to Kindle…all that's overwhelming and more than I can deal with.

Just as you are part of solving our cases, you can also be a part of the book,
"Ask a Forensic Artist: The Art & Science Behind Law Enforcement's Most Unique Profession." 

Anything at the $10 level and above gets your name listed in the acknowledgment section of the book, not to mention an advance copy at least a week before it's available to the general public. 

That's not even taking into account the other rewards, like a postcard, sticker, and a pretty impressive looking hat!

and a truly awesome hat!
and a truly awesome hat!

If you're on the fence about contributing, not a problem. If you decide after this Kickstarter campaign ends that you want a copy after all, you can still get it when I publish it on Amazon. Of course, it won't be signed, and you won't have your name in it, and you won't get it as early as the backers did, but there are bigger worries in life, right?

The beauty of Kickstarter is that it helps spread the word about creative projects. I'd be thrilled and grateful if you posted a link to your Facebook friends, especially the ones who go nuts over anything to do with forensics. Maybe, give shout out on Twitter, Google+, and your blog too... any place that you have a voice. 

By the way (and just so there are no surprises), the images and illustrations in this book are in glorious Black and White. 

This is for two reasons:

(1) Printing in color would make each book around $40, and that would just be ridiculous. 

(2) Forensic artists don't often create images in color. It usually serves very little purpose in an investigation, and we rarely have the color information to begin with anyway. 

See? You've learned something already!

Disclaimer: This campaign and the content of this book is in no way sponsored nor endorsed by the FBI, DOJ, or any other agency. The opinions and content within (other than contributing artists), belong solely to me, and no one else. 

Risks and challenges

Your risk is practically nil, because I'm done writing. It nearly killed me, it took over two years and well over a thousand hours, but I've managed to keep my sanity and sense of humor, and now I'm crawling towards the finish line.

That means finishing the illustrations, sculptures and digital images that will be included. Since I'm an artist, this part is a cinch to complete!

So that's it. I honestly can't think of any other risks or challenges, unless I get hit by a Mack truck or something ghastly occurs that slows me down in some way. If that happens, I promise to keep you updated on all the gory details. Otherwise, I will finish this book and get it to you by the delivery date stated. I've never missed a work deadline in my life and I'm not about to start now!

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    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    CHEERS~ My sincerest thanks, and I'll toast to your good health and happiness with my very next glass of chardonnay!

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    POSTCARD~ I'll send a handwritten note of thanks to you on the cool postcard you see over there on the bottom left.

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    DIGITAL~ The *early* release of the book, available through Amazon, plus your name listed in the book as a backer. If you don't have a Kindle, you can still read it on your iPad, iPhone or other computer device with the free app. Easy!

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    DIGITAL~ The *early* release of the book as a PDF which can be read on multiple devices, plus your name listed as a backer!

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    DIGITAL~ The Kindle version of the book when it goes "live" and on sale through Amazon. If you don't have a Kindle, you can still read it on your iPad, iPhone or other computer device with the free app. And of course, your name listed in the book as a backer.

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    DIGITAL TIMES TWO~ The *early* release of the book as a PDF

    *then* the Kindle version available through Amazon when the book goes "live." If you don't have a Kindle, you can still read it on your iPad, iPhone or other computer device with the free app. And of course, your name listed in the book as a backer.

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    SIGNED BOOK + STICKER~
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    SIGNED BOOK + DIGITAL + STICKER~ And, don't forget, your name listed in the book as a backer.

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    TWO SIGNED BOOKS + TWO STICKERS~ Plus your name listed in the book as a backer. If you're giving a book away to a pal, you can list their name in the book too!

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    HAT + SIGNED BOOK + STICKER~ This is everything that's in the $20 reward, with the hat!

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    TWO HATS + TWO SIGNED BOOKS + TWO STICKERS~ This is everything that's in the $30 reward, with two hats to go along.

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    TEN BOOK BUNDLE + TEN STICKERS~ Do you have a book club or a class that you want to share with? Here's the reward for you! You still get your name listed as a backer too, of course.

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    ASK A FORENSIC ARTIST~ Personal consultation. You'll get a hat, sticker, and signed copy of the book with your name listed as a backer, then we'll talk on the phone or Skype for an hour. Do you think forensic art might be the career for you? Do you need to brainstorm? Figure out what you need to do to get started in the field? I can't offer any guarantees, of course, but I'll give the best advice I possibly can to help you out.

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Funding period

- (30 days)