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The Magic Dust of Child Artists

Wed Sep 12, 2012, 7:35 PM by techgnotic:icontechgnotic:








:icontechgnotic: Sep 12, 2012 by techgnotic

When recently asked how his political candidate would explain certain positions taken during the
nomination process with contrary positions to be taken during the general election, the campaign chief
replied that stated political positions were “like an Etch A Sketch,”—meaning they could simply be
flipped over, erased and begun over from scratch.


Were it that adult life were as simple as a happy Etch A Sketch memory from childhood.


(The campaign chief took heavy heat for his flippant, if truthful, statement.) The incident made
me wonder how many of us had early experiences as “sketch artists” with that incredible red toy that
has become almost standard issue for so many children still to this day.















For those unfamiliar with the magical plastic slate, an Etch A Sketch is filled with aluminum powder
which scraped off a glass screen with a simple stylus operated by the artist (one knob controls horizontal,
one vertical—the true artistry comes in the dual knob operation required for curved lines). The art itself is
fleeting, a simple flipping over of the tablet makes polystrene beads re-coat the glass “canvas” surface
with the aluminum powder. Like so many, I spent many an hour engrossed in trying to produce
ever more evocative works from that simple art machine, forever trying to learn that perfect touch to get
the curved lines right.



We house an incredible array of line art drawings on deviantART that are pure amazement of detail and
meticulous design. There is a natural thread that flows through the first workings of an Etch a Sketch beginner
through to the mastery of beautiful sketch or line drawing by a skilled artist.




Line Art Drawings (on deviantART)





























An Interview withJane Labowitch


I thought it would be best to have a friend of one of our most skilled Etch a Sketch enthusiasts handle this introduction.







:iconayame-kenoshi:


Ayame-Kenoshi:




It’s with greatest pleasure that I introduce Jane (pikajane), one of deviantART's most talented Etch A Sketch artists. She
creates masterful portraits and stunningly accurate fan art, all by deftly turning those two knobs on that small plastic box that
frustrated so many of our childhoods. Her efforts have earned her a
deviantART Creative Grant
-- a program providing a source of funding to allow artists to make their creative dreams a reality. Jane plans to use her deviantART Creative
Grant to create two installations to be displayed in galleries. The first installation will be a life-size rendition of a skeleton,
using multiple Etch A Sketches mounted to a wall. The second installation will be a 3-dimensional piece using a skeleton as a base
for several mounted Etch A Sketches, which will act as a sort of "reverse x-ray." She's already hard at work on this project,
purchasing Etch A Sketches and depicting various parts of the skeleton. In this interview, she talks about working with her chosen
medium, her plans for future projects, and gives tips to aspiring Etch A Sketch artists.













techgnotic:

Why Etch A Sketch? Is this a purely artistic aesthetic fascination or something deeply meaningful to you? How long have you worked with Etch A Sketches?





pikajane:

I started playing with an etch a sketch when I was about 4, and as a child I didn't realize there was anything special about being able to create anything more than rudimentary shapes. It started as a toy I loved to tinker with, but throughout my life it has grown into a passion. I love painting and drawing and working digitally, but there is something truly special about creating art on an etch a sketch for me.









techgnotic:

Can you sense who is going to immediately “get” your art and who will be less receptive; i.e., does the medium being viewed first as a child’s toy block some people’s ability to appreciate the quality of the art?





pikajane:

Yes! There are definitely some that are more receptive to my art than others. Sometimes I feel as though people will respond the same to my etch a sketch art no matter what I etch. I have to keep myself in check so that I don't get complacent--I always want to keep improving!





















techgnotic:

Beyond your Etch A Sketch-Skeleton project, do you have an ultimate Etch A Sketch installation idea?





pikajane:

I have a few project ideas I'd love to pursue. Lately I've been wanting to create images using multiple etch a sketches, so that when you set them next to each other, the individual screens comprise the full image. I am doing this with a few etch a sketches for the skeleton project, but I'd also love to try this with some famous paintings. I also have a few series ideas running in my mind, but nothing has been fully planned yet. If I could work on an ultimate etch a sketch instillation, I think it would be a mural made entirely out of etch a sketches.



















techgnotic:

What are your best tips for an EtchaSketch artist?





pikajane:

First and foremost, practice practice practice! Everyone has to start at the basics. Even I did when I first started playing with an etch a sketch. The only reason I got where I am today as an etch a sketch artist is because I have put a lot of practice into my passion. And the more you play with an etch a sketch, the easier it gets.



To everyone that would love to start etching, here's a few tips for how to improve your skills:


Practice basic shapes, starting with the square. When you turn both knobs at once at the same speed, you get a diagonal line. When you turn them both at varying speeds, you get a curve. A circle is the hardest basic shape to etch because it is made up of 4 curves. If you learn to make a circle, you're doing very well, but don't stop there! Once you master the basic shapes, try out drawing your favorite cartoon character. I started with cartoons, and moved to realism.



If you ever get frustrated, remember that like any form of art, etch a sketching takes time and patience. It took me years to get where I am today, but I believe that with determination and passion, you too can master the knobs.



















QuestionsFor the Reader


  1. Do you think there have there been other toys that have sparked and encouraged as much childhood creativity as Etch A Sketch?
  2. If you ever created with an Etch A Sketch did the frustration you experienced trying to draw on Etch A Sketch teach you discipline and practice are important in creating art … or just made you wonder if you had what it takes to be a dedicated artist?
  3. Do you detect a natural evolution from Etch A Sketch to something like Muro?
  4. Do you still own an Etch A Sketch, or was it long ago consigned its fate to that of Citizen Kane’s beloved sled?










When recently asked how his political candidate would explain certain positions taken during the nomination process with contrary positions to be taken during the general election, the campaign chief replied that stated political positions were “like an Etch A Sketch,” -- meaning they could simply be flipped over, erased and begun over from scratch.

Were it that adult life were as simple as a happy Etch A Sketch memory from childhood.

(The campaign chief took heavy heat for his flippant, if truthful, statement.) The incident made me wonder how many of us had early experiences as “sketch artists” with that incredible red toy that has become almost standard issue for so many children still to this day.


Writers: $techgnotic
Designers: $marioluevanos
Featured:
*pikajane
~bryanetch
Cthulhu! by =Sch1itzie
Tribute To Lee Jeffries by ~ronmonroe
crying by ~DanielGrzeszkiewicz
Add a Comment:
 
:iconauntycc:
auntycc Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2013
as i like to use Muro, Etch a Sketch can only enhance it, if the 2 were combined id use it
Reply
:iconalterthechronicle10:
AltertheChronicle10 Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2013  Hobbyist Artist
I remember using an etch sketch once but I never seem to get stuff right.
Reply
:iconpebeerian:
pebeerian Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2013  Professional Artist
i can traditional art in all country :)
Reply
:icondtwx:
DTWX Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2013
I only used pencils & markers in my day. 8-)

Say, since we're on the subject, what about observing some child artwork from these "childish" drawings. Perhaps from our earlier youths, otherwise this topic completely defeats the purpose of having a *ahem* "Magic Dust of Child Artists". :roll:
Reply
:iconblackbart157:
BlackBart157 Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2013  Professional Artist
Aaron,
Hi nephew!  Great site!
Steve
Reply
:iconcaleb-eshetu:
Caleb-Eshetu Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2013  Student Filmographer
I can definitely answer the first question with Lego blocks and Plasticine :D
Reply
:iconsketchofthenile:
sketchofthenile Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2013

What are your best tips for an EtchaSketch artist?

 

My best advice is to take your time by turning the dials very careful in small areas to achieve the greatest details.

Reply
:iconlemonicdemon:
LemonicDemon Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2013  Student General Artist
1. Yes, the Lego blocks. Those beat any sketchers both hands tied.

2. Haven't ever tried, just didn't bump into those.

3. I don't give a *...

4. Read #2.
Reply
:iconmynaturallycurlyhair:
MyNaturallyCurlyHair Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2013  Student General Artist
The real challenge was drawing a curved line and then retracing that curved line...though I probably made it more complicated by doing so. ^^; I loved to draw pictures on the Etch-A-Sketch! So glad to see that other people did/do too! And can I just say that pikajane's artwork is simply amazing?! :wow:
Reply
:icon0222graphicdesigner:
0222GraphicDesigner Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2013
Wow, It's a good idea!
Reply
:iconga11ia:
Ga11ia Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I think it's a good idea!
Reply
:iconnuttyjigs:
nuttyjigs Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I can't even draw a CIRCLE with an Etch-A-Sketch :iconlazepoolplz:
Reply
:iconwolfen1999:
Wolfen1999 Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2013  Hobbyist Interface Designer
I can't even draw a straight line 
Reply
:iconnuttyjigs:
nuttyjigs Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
lol XDD
Reply
:iconwolfen1999:
Wolfen1999 Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2013  Hobbyist Interface Designer
It's true! I'm not going to lie...
Reply
:iconnuttyjigs:
nuttyjigs Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I guess I never really tried much either...Etch-A-Sketches weren't really an in thing in my childhood ;v;"
Reply
:iconwolfen1999:
Wolfen1999 Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2013  Hobbyist Interface Designer
I had them all the time but never really used them...
Reply
:iconairthepoet:
AirThePoet Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2013
Very interesting.
Reply
:iconrowanartist:
RowanArtist Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2013  Hobbyist
Awsome to have the vision to use a "toy" that at first seems to have limits and throw those out the window, and make really cool art! (It'd be cool even if it wasn't on an Etch-A-Sketch, though admittley it does add some cool...)
Reply
:iconrockogirl:
rockogirl Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
Coolness
Reply
:icondantesangreal:
DanteSangreal Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
1) How about a box of Crayons? I had both as a child and got good enough at the Etch A Sketch to draw my childhood favorite firetruck, but the Crayons held an infinitely bigger realm of possibilities for me. For both me and my friends (6 out of 6) the Etch A Sketch was just a toy, more often frustrating than rewarding, but Crayons still hold that hint of magic.

2) Neither. I was 6 at the time. Back then give me a box of Crayons and I was Van Gogh.

3) I don't think it's just the toy being evolved here. It's more of an evolution of imagination (and it's use) than of any toy.

4) I don't own one today, no, but neither is it a beloved childhood toy. As stated above, I think Crayons have sparked more childhood imagination than any other toy. Crayons definitely take me back.
Reply
:iconthegurch:
TheGurch Featured By Owner Sep 29, 2012
Etch a sketch , wasnt that the ipad of its day?
I played with plastercine, the Z brush of olden day.
Reply
:iconwallebob:
WALLEBob Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Yes, it was the iPad of it's day. I remember playing with an etch-a-sketch in the 90's as a kid, so much fun. I first used an iPad in high school, and now I own one, and use it just about everyday for school, work, and fun
Reply
:iconthegurch:
TheGurch Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2012
ipads are awesome i own two, i was one of the geek herd who queued hours to get my hand on the first one. I agree utterly handy , utterly awesome.
Reply
:iconwallebob:
WALLEBob Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I have the second generation model (wifi version)
Reply
:iconthegurch:
TheGurch Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2012
does it have a camera? I had to get the retina screen and camera model and its spectacular! In fact i think the very last image i posted in my gallery was taken on my ipad (-:
Reply
:iconwallebob:
WALLEBob Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
yes, it came with a camera
Reply
:iconthegurch:
TheGurch Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2012
Love it! (-:
Reply
:iconwallebob:
WALLEBob Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
My submissions "Sunset Rays" and "Moonlit Sky" were taken with my iPad camera
Reply
(1 Reply)
:iconjinxkatty7:
jinxkatty7 Featured By Owner Sep 24, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I used to make etch a sketch stuff. It was a little shaky but better than what my friends made. They always complimented me. Eventually that led me to digital art (not sure how xD) Sadly, a few months ago my etch a sketch broke...... It leaked the metal stuff inside and I had to throw it away. :(
Reply
:iconnocturnal-dayz:
Nocturnal-Dayz Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2012
Argh...so green right now at these guys. I was lucky to make even a circle with those things. Amazing...
Reply
:iconcskazaam:
CSKazaam Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2012
1. Well, I think all the hype about Etch A Sketch really only exists in certain circles. You imply that Etch A Sketch was responsible for launching an entire childhood/adulthood of creativity... when it really only was for some people, but not others. I had one, played with it a little, and decided that I'd much rather use a pencil to draw with, because I can create everything that I wanted, and more, with a pencil than I ever could with an Etch A Sketch. Etch A Sketch was frustrating and ultimately rather pointless to me, since, even if I did manage to create something I liked, I could never keep it. So, as for other toys? Pencils and paper, crayons, markers, coloring books, regular picture books... I did far, far more with those, and they were responsible for so much more creativity than an Etch A Sketch ever was.

2. Neither. Etch A Sketch didn't teach me anything about discipline and practice in art - doing actual pencil art did that for me. Nor did it make me wonder anything about whether I had what it takes to do art. The only thing it made me realize was that I can create far better art, far more easily, with something else. Not to say that Etch A Sketch artists aren't amazing - if they've chosen to dedicate the time and effort to making something good with something so difficult, then good for them. But it's certainly not a fundamental to any type of art-making. It's just another tool, and it's interesting only because it's so novel and uncommon to see good art made with an Etch A Sketch.

3. Nope. But I detect an evolution from pen and paper/paints and other traditional tools to good old MS Paint, to Muro!

4. I have no idea whatever happened to Citizen Kane's beloved sled. But I'm sure my Etch A Sketch was sold at a garage sale, packed away, or thrown away. And I can't say I miss it at all.
Reply
:iconherakushi:
herakushi Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2012  Student General Artist
Oh my fish. These guys are amazing!
Reply
:iconmousebrown:
MouseBrown Featured By Owner Sep 21, 2012
Brilliant, I use an etch-a-sketch for my art and junk, it's good to see it getting recognition!
Reply
:icondreamscape195:
Dreamscape195 Featured By Owner Sep 21, 2012
Mine aren't quite that good, but I've got a couple I did like 6 or 7 years ago right here:

[link]
[link]

I bet I could do a lot better now if I tried again XD
Reply
:iconnoiryss:
Noiryss Featured By Owner Sep 21, 2012
wow simply amazing. I drawed as child often with this thing, but the only i get... Crippled Lines. :P
Reply
:icontoxiclilly:
Toxiclilly Featured By Owner Sep 21, 2012  Student Filmographer
*sigh* I want to play with an etched and scetch now, but I gave mine away a long time ago. :(
Reply
:iconauburnapocalypse:
auburnapocalypse Featured By Owner Sep 21, 2012  Student Artist
Question: Do you think there have there been other toys that have sparked and encouraged as much childhood creativity as Etch A Sketch?

Answer: I think there has. I can't think of one specifically, but I'm sure there has been.

Q: If you ever created with an Etch A Sketch did the frustration you experienced trying to draw on Etch A Sketch teach you discipline and practice are important in creating art … or just made you wonder if you had what it takes to be a dedicated artist?

A: I haven't yet created with an Etch A Sketch though I've seen some documentaries on it and I've heard it's frustratingly difficult. But then again, here that's been proven completely wrong!

Q: Do you detect a natural evolution from Etch A Sketch to something like Muro?

A: I think as technology progresses, it will become more and more advanced. I don't think it'll ever come to a state where we'll be watched every waking moment like in dystopian futuristic dreamscapes, because then we'd simply stop using technology altogether and go back to things like Etch a Sketch.

Q: Do you still own an Etch A Sketch, or was it long ago consigned its fate to that of Citizen Kane’s beloved sled?

A: I don't but I'd like to. I always considered it a form of art and one of the most demanding, so in that sense I don't ever think it will be relegated to the sled as it were.
Reply
:iconvarjokani:
Varjokani Featured By Owner Sep 21, 2012  Student Digital Artist
AWESOME!! O____________O
Reply
:icon4-cty:
4-CtY Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2012
Legos. My grandpa had us over one time, and he was watching 007 Goldeneye, when it was released on tape. So when I was young, I was trying to recreate my favorite places from that movie with legos. Countless hours trying to recreate the giant satellite at the end of the movie...
Reply
:iconpedrode:
pedrode Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2012
who would of thought that a kids toy would have been the medium to such beautiful sketches?
Reply
:icontansyheart123:
Tansyheart123 Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
i saw a person that made beautiful with crayola markers!!!
Reply
:iconsilverfrost128:
Silverfrost128 Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2012
i just cant believe that they can do that on etch a sketch
i tried and failed D:
Reply
:iconinunokanojo:
inunokanojo Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Other toys that I played with that inspired my creativity were play-doh, lite brite, and legos. I loved playing with those things!
Reply
:iconcrash-box:
Crash-Box Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
1. Playdough, legos, toy cars. Wait toy cars? Yes, toy cars. I played with those suckers till I couldn't play them anymore. And although not exactly an art, they sparked a love for cars which has lead to a desire to fix old cars. Which can be an art form if you think about it.
2. I played with it a few times when I was a kid. It didn't really have my attention.
3. I'm unsure, not really I guess.
4. No. I had one of those super small ones on a key chain, and I lost it.
Reply
:iconaceofkeys72:
AceOfKeys72 Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
1.Just like the children's story the Purple Crayon, simple things like pencils markers and crayons helped. i did also find buiding blocks to be really helpful especially if they had letters.

2.i would say more of the later. i didn't really grow up in an art encouraging house, not that it was discouraged but playing w etch a sketch was really frustrating like many others had dealt with.

3. I think with anything there will be an evolution to things its all about how much time and effort is put into it

4. i never personally had one, which is why i never really thought it would be much til reading this ;)
Reply
:iconciel-orageux:
ciel-orageux Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2012  Student Photographer
Oh my gosh! These etch a sketch drawings are amazing!
deviantART muro drawing Comment Drawing
Reply
:icontonygutierrez:
tonygutierrez Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2012  Professional Interface Designer
llo pienso que esta mui bien tu travajo
deviantART muro drawing Comment Drawing
Reply
:iconylex1:
ylex1 Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2012  Professional General Artist
3. I do believe that muro is a form of an etch sketch modernized.
All these forms of art, made me remember, it's not about the tools you use, it's about what you do with them.
Reply
:iconducttapelord:
DuctTapeLord Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2012
1. Crayons. You should've seen the walls.
2. The etch-a-sketch feel is that feel you get when your art is going out smoothly. Not by results or by procedure, but about feeling great while doing art.
3. No.
4. I come across one every once in a while.
Reply
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