Working conditions

In France, in 2009, we could number courtroom artists at about 10. It must also be said that the opportunities to practice their art being intermittent, the majority of them have a “day job”, often in the art field, painters, art teachers, etc.
They all work on commission, depending on the judicial news and the needs of the media who employ them. Their commissioners may be press agencies who sell their sketches to several newspapers in France and abroad, or a newspaper, which is assured of owning the exclusive rights to use the drawings, or a TV channel which commissions a specific artist.
The artists are paid for the period they work, often a flat fee. Costs of travelling and accommodation are paid by the commissioning party. Those artists who hold a Press Card are paid for each drawing published and enjoy all the social protection of the journalist.
Very few artists are on the pay-roll of an editorial group and have a salary.
Very few have a long career in this field, since all the poverty and violence in the world finds its way into the courtrooms, their job is a heavy burden to bear.
The authors of this type of work rarely control the final use of their drawings; neither the selection to be published or the lay-out, nor the frame for TV. Unless they have a special contract, they nevertheless remain the proprietors of their original drawings which they are free to give, exhibit, sell, or publish in a book.

Listen to Cabu, artist - 0:34 [MP3 - 0.4 Méga octets]

Listen to Gally Mathias, artist - 01:00 [MP3 - 0.7 Méga octets]

Listen to Palix, artist - 0:34 [MP3 - 0.4 Méga octets]

Listen to Maurice Peyrot, court reporter - 03:12 [MP3 - 2.2 Méga octets]

Listen to Edwy Plenel, chief editor - 02:27 [MP3 - 1.7 Méga octets]

Ecoutez Riss, dessinateur - 01:46 [MP3 - 1.2 Méga octets]

Tignous, artist - 01:32 [Video - 6.6 Méga octets]

Sylvie Guilllot, artist - 00:34 [Video - 2.3 Méga octets]

Image n°1 : Riss drawing in the Law Courts in Bordeaux.

1997. Pencil and watercolour, 32x41cm.

© Noëlle Herrenschmidt

Image n°2 : Dominique Lemarié's legal press card.

Image n°3 : Noëlle Herrenschmidt's press card.


Image n°4 : Dominique Lemarié's press card for the Ferrara Trial. Law Courts in Paris.

Image n°5 : The Accused, Law Courts in Bordeaux.

1997. Watercolour and pencil, 32x41cm.

© Noëlle Herrenschmidt

Image n°6 : Papon Trial, Law Courts in Bordeaux.

Le Monde, special issue. avril 1998.

© Noëlle Herrenschmidt

Image n°7 : The Church of Scientology Trial, Law Courts in Paris.

Charlie Hebdo. 03-juin-09.

© Tignous

Image n°8 : The Colonna Trial, Law Courts in Paris.

Le Figaro Magazine. March 14, 2009.

© Sylvie Guillot