Courtroom Artist Tells Us Why Ivanka Trump Testimony Sketcher Doesn't Deserve The Heat

Ivanka Trump has made it clear that she's not joining Donald Trump's presidential campaign as he runs for president for a third time. She had been a vital part of his successful presidential run in 2016 and she worked hard in 2020 to help boost the appeal of Donald to women voters. But since Donald's 2020 presidential loss and the insurrection on January 6, Ivanka has been keeping a low profile. However, Ivanka couldn't avoid testifying at the New York fraud trial against her father and the Trump Organization. There aren't any cameras allowed in the courtroom, so the only images we have of Ivanka on the stand are via courtroom sketch artists, including Jane Rosenberg. And some people have taken issue with how Rosenberg portrayed the Trumps during the trial. 

Donald Trump, Jr. complained about his sketch via Instagram. Add that to Rosenberg's depiction of Ivanka, which some say is unrecognizable, and now some think that Rosenberg is purposely portraying the Trump family poorly. But The List spoke exclusively with longtime courtroom sketch artist Vicki Ellen Behringer about people's judgment against Rosenberg for her depiction of Ivanka that's making the rounds online, and Behringer completely disagrees. "I think Jane Rosenberg did an excellent job portraying Ivanka Trump in the courtroom this week," she shared. And Behringer has receipts.

Courtroom sketches have to be done quickly

When it comes to the courtroom sketch by Jane Rosenberg of Ivanka Trump during the Trump fraud trial, professional courtroom artist Vicki Ellen Behringer knows firsthand "the extreme pressure Jane is under." There's a lot that people don't seem to realize about what goes into making a courtroom drawing like this one. "The audience needs to remember these are fast courtroom sketches, not portraits," Behringer said.

Then consider that, while the close-up image of Ivanka is the main image that's making the rounds on the internet, that wasn't the only one that Rosenberg did on the day. "She completed three full courtroom scene sketches including the judge, attorneys, and bailiffs, not to mention background, in less than one day in court," Behringer explained. "She basically completed those full comply sketches, I would guess from my experience, in 1-2 hours each." And the time constraint is one of the biggest issues. "We have one shot to get it right," Behringer said.

The sketch of Ivanka may not have even been done on its own; it may have been a part of a larger scene. Behringer gave the example of the time in 2015 when Rosenberg got heat for her depiction of Tom Brady. "I know with her Tom Brady sketch that was a detail of a much much larger full scene, and his face could not have been any larger than 1 or 2 inches," Behringer shared. "That's extremely difficult, especially when using pastels."

Ivanka's face is hard to sketch quickly

Vicki Ellen Behringer pointed out to The List exclusively that Jane Rosenberg, sketch artist for the Trump trial, is using pastels. And while that might not mean much to non-artists, those in the know like Behringer realize that "with the pastels ... erasing is not an option if you don't feel you have it quite right."

Along with the constraints of time and medium, it's not as though the artist has a prime position in the room. When it comes to courtrooms, "there is usually a light coming from above, creating shadows over their eyes, and under their cheeks," Behringer explained. "Remember, the artist is sitting in the audience, and the viewer can't know how far back she was, or if her view was obstructed as it often is. We also use binoculars to see the details." Who would have guessed binoculars were a part of a court artist's toolkit? That says a lot about the intense conditions they're working under.

And then, there's how pretty and young Ivanka is. Behringer explained more of the unique challenges that come with being a courtroom sketch artist, particularly when the person you're portraying is someone like Ivanka. "It is extremely difficult to sketch beautiful young people," Behringer said. "They don't have any character lines." Combine that with the fact that Ivanka "is famous, and everyone knows what she looks like," and it seems clear that there's not going to be a way to please everyone.