Exercise: Courtroom Dramas
*Most images on this post come from ghettyimages.com
“In order not to attract attention, McMahon used small spiral notebooks to do sketching in the courtroom and, as he recalled, most onlookers assumed he was a reporter simply doodling during the proceedings. He redrew these preliminary sketches on larger pads in the motel room and repeated this process one more time in Life’s offices in New York after the trial ended.” –August 11, 2004|By Mike Conklin, Tribune staff reporter
“I am an artist and a reporter.” Franklin McMahon
Below are some basic sketches of different people who either testified or appeared in court. In his notes, which are only just a few reminders for him are names, descriptions and/or what they said or did in court.
Below is a sketch of Willy Reed.
Pencil sketch shows three illustrations of prosecution witness Willie Reed as he testifies during the trial of JW Milam and Roy Bryant in the Tallahatchie County Courthouse, Sumner, Mississippi, September 22, 1955. Milam and Bryant were accused of the murder of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old African-American boy from Chicago who had allegedly flirted with Bryant’s wife, a white woman. Reed testified to having heard sounds of a beating in a shed and having seen Milam leave that shed. (ghetty images description)
I find his notes really helpful when viewing his sketches. They help me to see the choices he made when he eventually reworked them in New York using pen and ink. McMahon wrote a description of the person and also made note of which image he finds the most successful. You can see the final pen and ink drawing in the article.
What I find strange is that he changed the face quite a b it. He made the boy look much younger. Maybe this had to do with the innocence and bravery for his age that is reflected in the drawing. Mustache is gone and his eyebrows are have changed.
After reading that he uses small spiral notepads to do initial sketches and notes then moves to larger sheets of paper that where he uses pen and ink you can understand the use of showing movement in his sketches. Above he shows the defense attorney demonstrating how Till had placed his hands on Carolyn Bryant. It says “jury not present, not admitted” not sure what that means but the rest of the notes describe her clothes, height and also a few little notes on where the ‘flirting’ took place. Which I assume the action that is being preformed took place at the general store.