I'm drawing faces all the time. I've been drawing them ever since I joined the police force in San Jose. I can still feel the crisp chill in the classrooms as I sat and listened to lectures about officer safety and procedures as a police recruit. Then during breaks I would start to sketch the faces around me. Sometimes I would sketch the instructors and they would come near me and give a peek at my work. Sometimes I'd get a thumbs up and then other times I'd get a puzzled look. I would draw caricatures and then sketches that looked like composite sketches. My composite sketches had an attitude of defeat and intimidation all in one. I figured the sketches should resemble someone who was at large and now had been caught. I didn't know at the time that this would be my calling: drawing faces of wanted criminals or missing persons.
After 17 years and over 3,000 sketches my interview sessions with eyewitnesses has become second nature. Now I'm more interested in the information from the interview than how to draw the nose or shade the face. It's as if my sketching self is set apart from my interviewing self. Both of them highly skilled and working in concert with each other. It has taken a long time to build this confidence and I've heard every conceivable description you can think of from the eyewitnesses I've met. Maybe that's why when I sit down and start to sketch a face I can draw from the thousands of descriptions I've heard over the years. It's as if they are swimming around in my mind in a pool of facial features for me to grab and sketch on a sheet of paper.
Recently I decided to start sketching some of these faces on my Tumblr blog. I started yesterday and I'm hoping to draw at least one per day if not more. The interesting thing that happens when people see a sketch I've drawn is they ask, "who is that?" I find myself saying that it's someone in my head. As the words come out of my mouth I wonder if the person asking the question finds that odd. For me, sketching the faces of these wanted persons for all of these years has left me with an abundant selection of feature combinations that have yet to be sketched. Forgive me if sometimes I want to put it down on paper and share it with the rest of the world.