13 Jun 2014

Gary Myrick - US courtroom Sketch Artist

From Nine To Noon, 10:10 am on 13 June 2014

Gary Myrick has been a sketch artist for 40 years and has covered some of America's most sensational trials, including the Branch Davidian arraignments and the Paula Jones vs Bill Clinton case.

But, he says, in-court cameras are causing courtroom artists to become extinct.

Paula Corbin Jones
Gary Myrick's courtroom sketch of Paula Jones, who sued former United States President Bill Clinton for sexual harassment.

Myrick's first case as a sketch artist was the Texas school segregation trial which began in 1976 and involved the Dallas public school system fighting the federal requirement that it desegregate public schools.


Cullen Davis who, in 1977, was the wealthiest man in American history to be tried for capital murder.

T Cullen Davis was the wealthiest man in US history to be tried for capital murder. He ended up being acquitted of murdering his stepdaughter and his estranged wife's boyfriend, as well as hiring a hitman to kill his estranged wife and a judge.

Myrick has sketched serial killers, international arms dealers, socialites accused of murder, victims' families and napping jurors.

Genene Jones a former pediatric nurse who killed up to infants and children in her care

Genene Jones - a former pediatric nurse who killed up to 46 infants and children in her care.

He covered the Branch Davidian arraignments during the Waco siege and the case of Genene Jones, a former paediatric nurse who was found guilty of killing up to 46 children and infants in her care.

He was also in the courtroom for the case which first heralded the battered wife defence: Pamela Fielder was accused of killing her Fort Worth gynaecologist husband.

Pamela Fielder
Pamela Fielder, believed to be the first person to use the battered wife defence.

Myrick has also captured some of the more colourful characters to have appeared in Texas trials and says he never sets out to do caricatures – he only draws them when they are present in the court.

Cocktail waitress from Las Vegas
Cocktail waitress from Las Vegas.

The sketch artist profession is dying as more US courts allow the use of cameras but Myrick believes the human touch a sketch artist can add is vital – to communicate to those who are not there what it is like to be there.

Myrick now works in federal court only, where cameras are still banned. He has to supplement his income by working as a security guard at a Fort Worth shopping mall.

Gallery: work by sketch artist Gary Myrick


Listen to Kathryn Ryan's interview with Gary Myrick