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Sketches of the Mind

Updated on October 24, 2016

Considering these things

They say that the great machines that zip them to work and school and clean their clothes and dishes and send messages and guide trips are products of the mind. But what sparks that interest in mind? What is it that drives the great thinkers to concoct those smart devices that govern our very attention? Is it some mystical force bearing down on the human brain to deliver the goods? Or is it society which propels the best minds to contemplate the fascinating and then go out and build, create, and produce? Y’Lana Venton never was one to sit idle when the light flashed green, but this morning she considered these things. A horn blast from the rear prompted her to arrest her daydream and engage in the motion of making that right hand turn. She traveled on her way to work the usual way. No music. A string of updates and insightful tidbits about how oysters live all due to the journalistic stylings of the private, for-profit radio station Aeras. Now, she maneuvered her vehicle with the ease and aplomb afforded to the best rally car racers, obeying all speeding laws in the process.

Channeled these feelings

Her daily grind as a courtroom and composite sketch artist offered her the opportunity to express herself but only in the limited way of outlining the visages of common criminals. But she did her job and patterned herself a true artiste. That’s what two years at Delaware Institute of Technology (DIT) brought her. Armed with an associates degree, she championed the notion of a young businesswoman on the brink of greatness. She viewed this current position as but a stepping stone to better days. Y’Lana envisioned a day where she would run her own studio and take clients that did not have some devastating description which she would have to fashion into a portrait of a potential thief, rapist, or murderer. She dreaded the work sometimes. One particular case left her wracked with worry. The survivor’s mother had been beaten savagely with a hammer and the blood still remained on the survivor’s pantsuit. The survivor stammered the entire time whisking away tears and trying desperately to recall the face of a barbarian. She never exhibited her fear or frustration. She simply channeled those feelings into the work and recognized that the task at hand far outweighed her disgust and personal anguish. Her composites showed a steady hand and a keen dedication to form. It wasn’t always ugly. Sometimes this career called for a sense of humor. Once, during a courtroom proceeding, a clown who actually showed up in full dress (red nose and floppy shoes and everything) attempted to represent himself. Though the judge threw him out with the quickness, Y’Lana’s boss insisted that she use all of the colors that she had available to capture the guards escorting the clown to the exit. But she projected the day that she would be the boss and develop a steady work space without the peaks and valleys which this profession entailed. She pressed forward to realize this dream completely. Even in the face of competition. She saw him in the doorway to the office.

In the Court

The sketch artist is the true storyteller in the courtroom.
The sketch artist is the true storyteller in the courtroom. | Source

The Challenges Of A Courtroom Sketch Artist

Examples of 'excellence'

Arendes Carl, a man three years her senior, gunned for the top spot as lead artist. He stood 6’1” and brought attention upon himself with his wide stride. Y’Lana took notice.

“So, what do you got, Venton? Have another clown, or a ghost on tap for today?” Carl asked.

“Well, the only clown I see here is you. And you might want to make like a ghost after those sketches you tried to pass off as examples of ‘excellence,’” Y’Lana shot back.

“Still, I’ve got the Marshden case,” Carl retorted.

Y’Lana’s eyes widened then narrowed quickly.

“I see,” she said.

“Good luck with your little doodles,” Carl smirked and left without holding the door for her.

The Marshden case attracted the news outlets and made for big news in the diminutive state of Delaware. It involved a basketball star from the Wilmington Diamonds who stood trial as the defendant in a hit and run death of a young boy. All of the media sites and channels covered the story with the usual sensationalism and the first thing that would appear on smart phone, smart tv, and other devices would be the courtroom sketch of this fallen baller. With Carl now positioned to take on the job, Y’Lana paused to understand where exactly she wanted to go with this stint. It technically qualified as art, but she desired to take her talents to a gallery. She brushed off the Carl situation and marched forth with an attitude that would sustain her through the onslaught of humiliation and regrettable actions. She mustered up enough courage to one day quit her role as sketch artist and decided to become an author. By acquiring the rights to all of her work, she placed them in a book and sold it over the Internet.

A portrait of herself


Spark of intelligence

In her Ocean View, Delaware home she looked back at all of her accomplishments and once again wondered about the source of all the technological advances around her. She painted a portrait of herself in deep thought and assured herself that she made the right decision in leaving the courtroom and composite sketch business. Her experiences brought her to conclude that without the spark of imagination and the thrust of intelligence nothing, not even a sketch, would be possible. She didn’t even have to sit in traffic to think of that.

The Courtroom Sketch Artist

A Lighter Sketch



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    • Skyler Saunders profile image

      Skyler Saunders 2 years ago from Newark, DE


      I appreciate your fervor for words, Paula! While I am definitely not the sketch artist here, I do recognize the craftwork of such people who dedicate their lives to drawing and painting. And while quantity is important, it is ultimately the quality of the writing that ought to be acknowledged. So don't beat up yourself over the number of Hubs you've produced over a given period of time. As long as you gave your all and allowed yourself to shine, all else is secondary. I thank you for your consideration.


    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Skyler....Very nice to meet you. Even nicer to read you. I see you've been here 10 months, so that's still recent enough for me to say, "Welcome to Hubpages." I've just read this hub, my first of your 93??

      93 hubs in 10 months....accomplishment enough to make me hang my head in shame at my 92 hubs in 4 and half years! I'm grateful this isn't a competition! LOL

      The wonderful thing about being a writer is that we do our own thing, at our own pace in our own unique way.

      It's very apparent to me that you are clearly an asset to our shared site. Your writing held my interest ~~I was entertained~~plain and simple Skyler, you're a mighty talent. Now, I suppose you're going to tell me that YOU did the sketches, making you ALSO a fabulous artist. OK, double threat. More power to you. When you're're blessed.

      I look forward to reading many more of your hubs. And BTW, I do read more often than I write, so I'll be back soon. Peace, Paula