Students new to art are “daring to draw”

By Cailean Mcleodkatherine-taylor

Katherine Taylor’s Dare to Draw I class has attracted many people who crave artistic talent, but think they lack the skills.
The five session class that started on Sept. 28 has already concluded, but those students who missed out on the opportunity can sign up for the Dare to Draw II class starting on Nov. 2.

Courtney Kendall, class coordinator at Continuing Education who has worked closely with Taylor, said students had the option of taking either Dare to Draw I or Dare to Draw II individually for $119, or pay $215 to take both classes together.
“A lot of people have an idea that they are missing something or think they are less because they don’t have some magic skill; that they are good at many things but are embarrassed because they think they can’t draw,” said Taylor, who has taught art classes for 24 years.
Taylor said on the first day of class she asked students to draw a variety of objects from memory and then advised to save the drawing, so they can compare their skill development throughout the class.
She then asked the students to write their name in various ways, such as writing with their non-dominant hand and writing backwards. She said this was to help students learn how a single drawing can have vastly different meanings based on how the lines are drawn.
“I help them learn the skills of drawing; it’s not magic. It’s really learning about seeing things differently and I bring things to their attention that change the way they think visually,” Taylor said.
Kendall, said Taylor’s class is mainly about building people’s confidence with their art and artistic skills.
“I think a lot of our students are interested in it. What we get in these classes are students who are primarily new to art and frankly intimidated by it,” Kendall said.
Kendall said that the majority of Taylor’s class is about learning how to allow oneself to link up what they see with what they draw.
“If they were drawing a box, for instance, many people would draw what they think it looks like, but be confused on how to show the actual angle of the object,” Taylor said.
Taylor says she emphasizes her students to draw what they see with their eyes, not what they see in their minds.
Taylor said that one of the other things she does is gives her students a list of art books, which they might find helpful. One particular book Taylor cited is titled, “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain” by Betty Edwards.
Taylor said she does not directly teach from this or any of the books on the list, but what she teaches the students directly compliments and draws inspiration from them.
“Because I show them what is effective about the book, I always have students borrowing them or bringing the books from the library and sharing them with the class,” said Kendall. She added that the books are not required for the class and are just there to help the students advance their skills.
Kendall said that many students commented positively on both Taylor’s class as well as her personality and how encouraging she is.
“This class helped me overcome my mental block about being creative and gave me confidence to continue learning new skills,” said one student evaluation.
“Katherine made class so much fun you don’t realize you’re learning. She is fantastic!” said another student evaluation.
Kendall said Taylor also has few other drawing related classes for both outdoor-buffs and teenagers.
“In the summer Katherine does a Dare to Draw Sketching Outdoors class. She meets students in a different park every week. It is basically her Dare to Draw class but focused on drawing the natural world,” said Kendall, adding that Taylor also does a Dare to Draw class for teens in the summer.
Kendall said she expects Taylor to be continuing both the regular Dare To Draw classes and the outdoors and teen variants next year.

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