I grew up surrounded by the news business. My father, Cameron Cornell, was a writer, reporter, and sometimes anchor in the early days of TV, and my sister, Irene Cornell, has made a long career covering predominantly courtroom dramas for WCBS radio. Tagging along with her to trials as a teenager, I became aware of courtroom artistry as a profession, requiring speed, calm under pressure, and a knack for likenesses. After graduating art school in 1975, I immediately pursued it as a profession.
My first assignment was the retrial of boxer Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, inspiring Bob Dylan's song "Hurricane" and played by Denzel Washington in the movie "The Hurricane".
There were a couple of regularly employed artists, in New York City at the time, so for the next ten years I played back up to them for all the major networks. When CNN came along, I was offered it's first call position. Soon after WNBC hired me on, so for a decade in the late 80's to mid 90's, most of my work came from one of those two networks.
Courtrooms are fascinating places, where the best and the worst of humanity are frequently on display. The stakes are high, and the stories unfold in pieces, through a peculiar and purposely dispassionate process. I know of no better place to draw, where you can so closely observe and absorb such unusual and compelling characters. Continue >