The courtroom sketch is a necessity: to tell, in pictures, what happens in the courts where cameras are forbidden – with a few rare exceptions (though they are growing in number).
These pictures also illustrate the articles and reports in the press and TV news programmes.
This has been the case since the 19th century, but in recent years photographers and film reporters have been permitted to enter the court buildings, providing pictures and films aplenty. Yet this profusion has not meant the end of the courtroom sketch. Written press, TV and Internet news sites still diffuse them, probably to get an edge on their competitors by presenting original images
Here lies the courtroom sketch’s best bet for survival, in the desire to offer the public another vision of a judicial event.
Three elements seem to govern the future of the courtroom sketch:
the generalisation of the use of cameras in courts of law, by the medias or by the juridical administration itself;
the place given by the medias: press, TV, Internet... to the genre;
the attraction the profession can exert on artists. This point is totally dependent on the first two.
No one doubts that in the coming years and thanks to digital technology, new tools will appear. Already, many software graphic tablets integrate various drawing techniques such as line drawing, watercolour... but above all, new techniques of transmission will open up many possibilities for artists.
A drawing done on a graphic tablet with a wireless connection could be sent directly to the newspaper or to a TV screen. The technology exists already, what remains to be seen is if the juridical universe will accept its intrusion in courtrooms.
In any case, it will permit the renewal of the genre and offer new appeal to artists and medias alike.