HOUSTON - You may not know Lois Gibson, but you've probably seen her art. Most likely, you saw it on the news.
Gibson holds The Guinness World Record for The World's Most Successful Forensic Artist. After retiring in 2021 from nearly a decade as Houston Police Department's lead forensic artist, she leaves behind a wave of talented officers who credit her for their launch into this specialty field.
"Lois Gibson saw some of my artwork and said, 'You need to be a forensic artist,;" says Officer Thurston Johnson, HPD's newest full-time forensic artist. He had no formal art training prior to meeting Lois. Thanks to her, Johnson recently became one of only a handful of full-time forensic artists across the country.
Gibson started at the Houston Police Department in 1989. She was inspired by her own experience nearly being killed during an assault in her early 20s. Officer Adrian White was the backup for Lois Gibson for years.
"I saw a sketch on television and said 'Hey, I can do that," White says, recalling the day he ran into Lois' office," and said, 'listen I think I can do that,' and brought some of my fine art. She said, 'maybe so. Maybe so."
Officer Kristen Hale had been drawing her whole life before meeting Lois.
"I thought it was something you just do for fun. I saw one of Lois' classes online and signed up for that," she says, recalling her start in this specific yet vital path of using her portrait skills to solve crime.
Bryan Bradley, also a forensic artist for HPD, describes Lois as, "like another mom to me."
Gibson is credited with solving well over 1,000 cases through her art. She most recently made headlines for her sketch of the man Stormy Daniels claims threatened her.
Now retired from the force, Lois continues to offer classes to the next generation or crime-solving artists.
"Lois is eccentric," says White. "One of the greatest things I can say about Louis Gibson is that she actually cares deeply about each victim. It shows in her work. She makes the victims feel like they're being helped. The art is one thing, but to be able to communicate with somebody and pull out the best of them while comforting them at the same time is such a phenomenal thing that she does. They feel the compassion. They feel that the person assisting them really cares about them. I hope that some of those characteristics she possessed rubbed off on me a little with how I dealt with people. Nobody can draw like Louis."
This interview is part of the ongoing FOX26 series ‘The Missing.’ Through a partnership with the Texas Center for the Missing, FOX26 is shining a spotlight on some of the thousands of missing person cases that sit unsolved on any given day in Houston and Texas. We invited you to help solve them, and introduce you to some experts helping do the same.