Placed in the hands of a great artist, even a children’s toy like Etch-a-Sketch can become a powerful tool able to deliver mind-blowing masterpieces. Case in point – George Vlosich
George has been drawing since he was two years old, but it wasn’t until he got his hands on an old Etch-a-Sketch, in 1989, that he discovered his unique talent. He and his family were getting ready to go on a trip to Washington D.C., when they decided to drop by grandma’s house to say goodbye. His mother found her 1960’s old Etch-a-Sketch and gave it to George and his brother, so they wouldn’t get bored in the car. The ten year old artist etched a picture of the U.S. Capitol, and when his parents saw how detailed it came out, they pulled up at a nearby gas station and took a picture of his work, before it got erased.
In the beginning, Vlosich Etched a lot of simple things like Batman, Spiderman, and pretty much anything he took interest in, and before long the Etch-a-Sketch became the favorite way of expressing his artistic talents. The more he Etched, the better he got at drawing, and the more he drew, the better he Etched. At first, his works didn’t take himvery long to complete, but the more complicated his art became, the more time he had to dedicate to them. Now, every one of his Etch-a-Sketch artworks takes him between 70 to 80 hours to finish.
The process of making an Etch-a-Sketch masterpiece begins with finding the right Etch. Luckily, Ohio Art has been sending him enough Etch-a-Sketches ever since he was eleven; he would enter their monthly contests and always win, so one day the company sent a representative to see if he drew everything himself. George shakes the Etch-a-Sketch to make sure it produces crisp, clear lines, and often goes through a few of them before finding the right one. Next he draws the image in his sketchbook, making sure it will fit on the Etch’s 5 x 7 inch screen.
Once the sketch is ready, he begins working with the Etch-a-Sketch. He starts out with the lines of the portrait, which is the slowest, most meticulous part of the work. Everything is done with a single line, so if he makes a mistake, he has to start over. When he’s done, if the artwork doesn’t capture the model’s likeness he does it all over again. After the lines have been etched, he starts work on the shades, which although easier, is much more tedious and time-consuming. According to George Vlosich, doing the shading from light to dark may require a single line to be traced 20 or 30 times.
After the Etch-a-Sketch artwork is complete, George removes both the aluminum powder and the stylus inside the toy, to make sure it can never be erased. Lastly, he photographs his work for his website and his personal collection.