Etch A Sketch Artist Makes Masterpieces On 90’s Kids Toy | Localish

JANE LABOWITCH: My name is Jane. I am Princess Etch. And I am a full-time
Etch A Sketch artist. For a small Etch
A Sketch drawing, my prices start at around $120. And for a large Etch A Sketch
drawing, at least around $2,000 or so. I’ve sold an Etch A
Sketch for $2,500. I started playing with an Etch
A Sketch when I was around four. I would visit my
grandma on weekends. And she wouldn’t let
me watch TV that much. So as a means to pass the time,
I picked up an Etch A Sketch. And before I knew it, I became
pretty obsessed with it. And it wasn’t until
I was around 12 or so that I realized that I was able
to do drawings on Etch A Sketch that no one else
could really do. A small I’ve just
sketch rendition can take anywhere from five
minutes up to maybe four hours. A large Etch A sketch
rendition can take up to 20 hours, maybe even 30 hours. It’s safe to say that I’ve done
well over 1,000 at this point. Some of the just get
renditions that I currently have in my possession
are a skeleton, which takes 11 Etch
A Sketches comprised to make a life-sized skeleton,
Van Gogh’s starry night, part of the Chicago skyline
that highlights the bean, a lot of pop cultural-related things. Things like celebrities
or recognizable characters from cartoons or even
things like internet memes– I think that it is a really
nice combination of nostalgia and joy and happiness. And there’s something kind
of therapeutic about drawing on an Etch A Sketch. And there’s something really
special about shaking away the drawing and just
letting go of it. So an Etch A Sketch works by
operating a stylus inside. The stylus is actually etching
aluminum powder off the screen. So when you shake
an Etch A Sketch, it’s actually the powder
that will recoat the screen and cause the image to erase. When you turn the knobs, the
stylus will move according to which knob you turn. So one knob turns
left and right. One turns up and down. And when you turn
both simultaneously, you can create
diagonals and curves. And if you’re able to develop
a muscle memory for doing that, it’s very intuitive
after a certain point. Etch A Sketch has a lot
of unique limitations. And one of the big
ones is that everything is connected by a single line. Thankfully, I haven’t ruined
an Etch A Sketch drawing that deep into the process
where I accidentally made a big mistake. But it does sometimes
happen maybe about two hours into the rendition. And that can be
really frustrating. I have to just shake
it away, let it go. This Etch A Sketch of the Taj
Mahal is one of my favorites. It took me over 10
hours to render. And it’s not permanent yet. So I have to be very
careful with it. The way that I
make them permanent is I will remove the powder from
inside by one of two methods. The first method is to
drill a hole in the back and then drain out the
powder from inside. And the second method is
to completely disassemble the Etch A Sketch and remove all
of the components from inside. Being Princess
Etch has definitely influenced my ensemble overall. I’ve grown to really
love the color red. And I’m always attracted to
finding new eclectic pieces that I can kind of add to my
wardrobe to help establish myself more as Princess Etch. I always told myself that if
I got bored of doing this, then I would consider stopping. But it makes me feel
very special to know that other people find
that what I do for a living is valuable to them and
that it connects with them and it makes them happy.


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