Kristen Doty – Drawing for Everyone (Interview)

Kristen Doty – Drawing for Everyone

  1. How did you get into art and teaching drawing?

Kristen Doty loved to draw and color as a child. However, she was disappointed in her efforts as her brother was intuitively excellent at drawing, and she didn’t think her drawings measured up. Unlike her brother, drawing was difficult for her and she nearly gave up. She took a calligraphy class in High School, and it became her favorite subject! Later working full time, with sewing and needlework as a hobby, it left little time for art. After getting married and moving halfway across the country, her husband encouraged her to take a watercolor class. It soon became evident that in order to paint in a representational way, you have to be able to draw! So, while learning watercolor techniques, she checked out books from the public library on drawing and painting, and worked at it. This enriched her life tremendously. “Seeing things in this new way enhanced my whole state of being and experience of life. It encourages me to enjoy living in the moment by engaging wonder and being in awe of things we normally don’t look at carefully. Beauty is sometimes revealed in ordinary things.” She also discovered learning to draw helps improve calligraphy, because “calligraphy is essentially drawing.”

She continued her drawing, painting and calligraphic studies by practicing, reading books and magazines, and taking workshops. Working on a logo design assignment in a conference class, a fellow student lamented, “Oh, I wish I could draw!” That statement sparked the idea of helping calligraphers learn to draw. She offered and taught her first Drawing for Calligraphers class the following year at the Letterforum International Calligraphy conference in 2006. Since then, she has taught many calligraphers and non-calligraphers how to draw, and it is her favorite subject to teach, primarily because of helping people learn to do something they didn’t think they could do. “Many people don’t know where to begin or are terrified to take a drawing class, or have had bad experiences with teachers, or received hurtful comments. So, to help students get over that and see them excited at making that leap forward, learning the basics, and gaining confidence in their abilities is exhilarating! I feel like I am a delivery person helping them receive and unwrap a precious gift they’ve always wanted.”

  1. What do you hope your students get out of the class?

The main goal is that students learn how to really see and draw with confidence. This will be accomplished by learning how to look at things in a different way and how to begin. There will be mark making exercises to investigate what the humble pencil can do and other exercises and demos that build upon each other to strengthen skills and knowledge. Techniques will be practiced for developing better hand/eye coordination, to see and use value, and learn how to draw in proportion. It’s a lot packed into 2 days, but it will give students the confidence and knowledge to continue drawing after the class is over.

  1. Many of us have many blank books at home that we don’t know what to do with. Is this a good class for that?

Absolutely! It is the perfect complement to add drawings or sketches to beautiful handmade blank books. The techniques and exercises will transfer to many artistic pursuits, including making travel sketchbook drawing easier, improve paintings in any media, calligraphy, and of course, drawing.