The Compositure™ technique

Forensic Artist Gil Zamora


The Compositure™ Methodology is my forensic art technique. It relies on the forensic artist to interview eyewitnesses without the use of reference images to develop a composite sketch of an unknown suspect.

In 1995 I became the police artist for the largest law enforcement agency in Northern California. Tom Macris was my mentor and he trained me in his technique. I eventually was certified as a composite artist by the FBI (1993). The FBI trains police artists to create composite sketches by using reference images (FBI Identification Catalog) while collaborating with their eyewitnesses. Macris was also certified by the FBI (1986) and developed his own technique, which I call the “Advanced Methodology”. In this advanced technique, the sketch artist uses principles of the cognitive interview and only uses the reference images to refine the sketch - NOT to develop the sketch. After 3 years of creating sketches in this technique I was exposed to more research findings on the malleability of the human memory and I decided to reflect on my forensic art techniques.

In the fall of 1996, I decided to eliminate the use of reference images and employ more advanced interview techniques. The sketch interview session went on without a hitch and it has been a success in over 3,000 felony investigations so far.

I have presented my technique to other forensic artists around the country and have spoken to Forensic Science and Academic institutions about the dangers of eyewitness memory contamination. I hope to continue to speak about my technique and eventually offer my training in an academic setting for others to master.

Interested in learning the Compositure™ technique? Email me for more information!