‘Accordion Hands’ and ‘Caterpillar Eyebrows’: Trump Meets the Female Gaze

When Donald Trump is relaxed — or as relaxed as someone can be while on trial for 34 felony counts of falsifying business records — you can see his socks. They are a thin black material, probably cashmere, and you get a glimpse of them only when he leans back in his chair, calves visible over the elastic seam.

I know this because of Isabelle Brourman, a fine artist who has been sketching the theatrics of Mr. Trump’s hush-money trial from the second row of the courtroom, clad in eye-catching outfits she pairs with the day’s testimony. Ms. Brourman lives for these little moments — the kind of details that can reduce even a swaggering former president to a mere mortal: one whose skin gets flushed when he is tense, bringing out an orangy-brown on his forehead, and whose lips, pursed sourly when he is angry, cast a shadow over his chin.

She takes it all in, and all of it, in turn, informs her work, which has been appearing in New York magazine. But rather than capturing key moments, or producing realistic renderings of the day’s events, Ms. Brourman’s expressive images cut across space and time. She uses watercolors, colored pencils, graphite, glitter pens; sometimes she tweezes for texture, or scrawls words in corners. In her portraits of Mr. Trump, he is both frenetic and hulking; her Stormy Daniels,shaded with blues and purples, looks emotionally bruised.

“The other artists, they are so professional,” she told me recently. “I would say I’m unprofessional, gladly.”

Isabelle Brourman for New York Magazine

Isabelle Brourman layers her images over space and time. During Mr. Trump’s fraud trial, he leaned over her shoulder and joked that he needed to “lose some weight,” which it appears he has.

I got to know Ms. Brourman because, while much of the rest of the country has been consumed by the Trump trial itself, I’ve spent the last few months fascinated by the world of the courtroom artists drawing the Trump trial — a world she both is and isn’t a part of.

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