Invented by the late French inventor, André Cassagnes, Etch A Sketch was launched by Ohio Art in 1960. While multiple iterations of the mechanical drawing toy were to follow, the Classic version still looks the same as it did when it was first released: a large red frame, white knobs, and gray drawing screen. Like its appearance, the appeal of the Etch A Sketch has also stood the test of time.
The tagline on Spin Master’s recent packaging for Etch A Sketch says it all: “60 Years of Shakin’ & Erasin’”. It aptly positions the toy as a “pad” you can draw on forever, without the need for ink, paper, batteries, or even a network connection.
ETCH A SKETCH POP ART
Since the late 1980s, a growing community of artists has adopted the Etch A Sketch as a medium. Through social media, online discussion groups, and enduring love for the iconic toy, the movement continues to grow and Etch A Sketch Art is available for purchase.
As someone who has barely mastered drawing basic lineographic shapes with the toy, I continue to marvel at the unique combination of drawing skills, dexterity, and patience evident in some of the artwork that has been created. These are some of my favorite practicing Etch A Sketch artists:
Two Guinness World Records involve the Etch A Sketch.
- In July 2016, Spin Master set a record in Toronto, Canada, when 484 people simultaneously drew on an Etch A Sketch in multiple venues.
- The single-record venue of 372 simultaneous Etch A Sketchers was set five years earlier by artists Jeff Gagliardi and Clark Hodge in Lyons, Colorado.
Todd Coopee is Editor-in-Chief of Toy Tales, an online publication that covers toys and games past and present.