Mock trial sketch artist wins county competition for second straight year

March 28, 2016 — by Gwynevere Hunger and Cassandra King

Most students never get the opportunity to have their work recognized beyond the classroom, but senior Katherine Liu is not most students.

Most students never get the opportunity to have their work recognized beyond the classroom, but senior Katherine Liu is not most students.

Two pieces of artwork drawn by Liu are now framed and showcased at the Santa Clara County Office of Education. Both are pieces that enabled Liu to first place in the Mock Trial Artwork Competition two years in a row. Liu’s current drawing that won the county competition was entered into the California State Mock Trial art competition and won second place.

Liu was recognized with her first-place art award at the mock trial awards ceremony on March 10 at the Santa Clara County Office. Seniors Nina Harris, Neeki Tahmassebi, Karthik Padmanabhan, Rhea Srivats, juniors Sarah Chang, Peter Vandevort and freshman Ashley Feng and Joan McCarthy also received the outstanding performance award for their work during the trials.

Liu said she is happy is happy to have been honored two years in a row for something she loves doing. She has been drawing ever since elementary school and is currently in Art 4 Honors at school.

During her junior year, Liu looked for ways to get involved in the school through art and was directed to the mock trial team by her counselor. Liu then contacted the team’s adviser, social studies teacher Matt Torrens, and was able to join the team for its competition season in last spring.

Liu has been the team’s sole sketch artist for the past two years, and she has attended every competition with the team at the Santa Clara County Superior Court.

“I had no doubt that she would get first place after seeing what she drew each time and knowing how hard she worked to get to the level of art she is at now,” said sophomore Michelle Vu, who is set to replace Liu when she graduates. “I’m also in art, but I’m nervous [I won’t] live up to the beautiful art she’s created next year.”

After winning the award last year, Liu attended drawing sessions the summer before senior year to improve  her figure drawing skills.

“[The sessions] helped me a lot in drawing people for mock trial because they move around the courtroom so much,” Liu said.

As the mock trial sketch artist, Liu has also learned valuable information about the justice system. She is able to better understand the court proceedings and format when sitting on in the jury panel and drawing.

Although Liu still thinks there is room for improvement, specifically with her portrayal of her subjects’ emotions, she is content with what she has accomplished.

“I'm happy that I won county again so that I could go to the state competition, which I missed last year. It was a second chance for me,” Liu said.