Forensic artist. Armchair psychologist. Hypnotist. Instructor. Speaker. Baseball Umpire. Internet celebrity.
At age 23, Gil started patrolling the streets of his home town San Jose as a police officer. His love of sketching eventually caused him to shift his interests to forensic art. Gil was certified as a sketch artist by the FBI in 1993 and was formally selected to be the police artist for SJPD in 1995. During his 17 years as the police artist, Gil completed over 3,000 sketch interviews and helped solve more than a thousand investigations with his composite sketches. As the police artist for the largest police department in Silicon Valley, Gil was involved in the majority of every high profile criminal investigation in the Bay Area.
In 1996, Gil applied his knowledge of human memory fragility and eyewitness misidentification research to create an interview technique called Compositure®. This revolutionary technique eliminated the common practice (by the majority of composite artists) of using reference images to stimulate the memory recall of the eyewitness to help draw the suspect’s face. Instead, Gil utilized aspects of the cognitive interview principles and his behavioral psychology background to create a sketch from the eyewitness' memory. The SJ Mercury News wrote “Now centered, he sits at his easel, and begins to speak in the voice and tone of a therapist — trying to visualize the scene, feel the trauma from the event. He aims his trusty Berol pencil and begins to draw.” Gil has presented workshops on his methodology at the International Association for Identification in 2010 and the California Robbery Investigators Association in 2011.
Honored in 2008 as Officer of the Year from the Silicon Valley Crimes Stoppers - Gil also received the Richard Huerta Special Merit Award from SJPD in 2007. Gil received his BA from National University and his MA from San Jose State University. Gil has served on the Blue and Gold Service Award Committee since 2005 as their graphic artist. He was also the art director for the Major Cities Chiefs Conference and the California Police Chiefs’ Conference, both held in San Jose.
When he’s not sketching or speaking to large audiences, you can find him on the baseball diamond calling balls and strikes. Since 2008, Gil has been umpiring baseball games from the local Little League diamond to the prestigious CCS Semi-Final game held at SJ Municipal Stadium in 2018. He’s umpired with the ranks of NCAA umpires as a junior college umpire and enjoys the challenges.
Gil was recently a part of the most widely viewed YouTube video involving the Real Beauty Sketches campaign of 2013. The videos have been viewed world wide - more than 100 million times. Gil calls this type of sketch a Perspective Sketch™, and they have been in demand ever since. From colleges to talk shows, audiences around the world want to see Gil perform his sketches demonstrating how people see themselves. The attention to forensic art has been tremendous and Gil hopes to educate more people about the value of having a highly trained forensic artist on the staff of every major law enforcement agency in the world!
Facebook: Gil Zamora Forensic Artist
YouTube Channel: SketchArtist Gil Zamora