Trials & Litigation

'Eccentric' Mother-Daughter Courtroom Artists Meld Talents


A mother-daughter sketch artist team works the New York courts on a freelance basis for several news organizations, covering the trials of high-profile defendants.

Andrea Shepard and her mother, Shirley Shepard, “are doubtlessly the most eccentric courtroom sketch artists,” the New York Times’ City Room blog reports. The Shepards both have long, flowing hair, they live together in New York, they favor leather jackets and pants, and they tend to finish each other’s sentences.

The article portrays the duo as they sketched officer Michael Oliver, one of three detectives acquitted in the death of Sean Bell, an unarmed black man shot 50 times as he was leaving his bachelor party. They had sketched a great likeness of Oliver, but it had to be redone at the last minute when he buried his face in his hands with relief as the verdict was announced.

“We’re journalists—we have to draw him just as he was when the verdict was read,” Andrea explained.

The pair has sketched celebrities ranging from Martha Stewart to Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling to Woody Allen. “And they have stories about all of them,” the blog reports, including “the time Ms. Stewart took them to task for not making her look prettier; the time Courtney Love grabbed a pencil and redrew her hair.”

The Shepards use binoculars to get a close-up view of defendants and work together on their sketches, signing them simply “Shepard.”

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