Sketch Artist Captures Trial Details at Fort Bragg This Week
An eye for detail depicts the trial as it unfolds inside the military courtroom.
Fort Bragg is near the end of the first trial for one of eight soldiers facing court-martial in connection with the death of Pvt. Danny Chen in Afghanistan on Oct. 3, 2011 and no photos are allowed to be taken inside the courthouse.
Only one man, the sketch artist, has vivid pictures of the family and soldiers testifying on the stands from inside the well appointed, dark paneled military courtroom.
The media, soldiers, families and spectators are not allowed to bring cameras, cell phones or even a purse inside the courthouse.
Each morning before 8:30a.m. everyone files through the metal detectors to ensure these rules are being followed.
Jerry McJunkins has been in the business quite awhile, 32 years to be exact. The freelance sketch artist resides in Charlotte, N.C. and has provided his services for many high profile cases, most recently the John Edwards trial.
When asked what he enjoys most about his job he replied: "The freedom to be an artist and to use as many colors as I want."
McJunkins started off as a sketch artist for nine years at an amusement park.
The artist shared that his main tools are called Prismacolors, a wax looking pencil that he referred to as an 'expensive Crayola'. Expensive, indeed. A box of Prismacolors retails for $429.99 at OfficeMax.
Sketching at a rapid pace with quick strokes, McJunkins first uses monochromatic tones and then shades in with color bringing the characters to life on his over-sized sketch pad filled with art.
McJunkins shared that he enjoys the legal process as he listens to the details in the background as he works.
His passion for drawing began as a young child and he honed his skills through high school, ultimately pursuing a degree in illustration at Central Piedmont Community College in 1968.
McJunkins has worked as both a contracted and freelance artist, doing work for ABC, CNN, NBC and other media outlets. Jerry’s work has been broadcast both locally and nationally, and he has built a strong client base among local politicians, attorneys and judges.
More importantly, his well honed skills in the courtroom have served as a key source of advertising for his primary source of income, portraiture. Among many works, some of the most notable have been of NFL Panther player Thomas Davis, two portraits for the Foundation for the Carolinas, and twelve sketches that illustrate the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence of 1775, narrated by Charles Kuralt, with music by Loonis McGlohon.
Ever flexible, Jerry draws from photographs and in person, and maintains an active studio in the Plaza Midwood neighborhood in Charlotte. Jerry primarily works as a portrait artist at Dillards Southpark, teaches group seminars, and is continually building a studio of students who take drawing lessons in his home.
The sketchbook from this week's trial has captured Pvt. Danny Chen's parents on the stand, and many others throughout the week. McJunkins even mentioned that he has sketches of Chen's funeral procession when it took place in New York City.
McJunkins' art is a living history and is sure to be appreciated once they are commissioned and released by the media outlets. See Jerry in action here.