Friday, May 20, 2016
Yes, long time since my last post, apologies, all that. It won't be the last time. Let's move on.
The appeal of the Etch-a-Sketch is a little hard to fathom. Not only is your drawing style crippled by having to twiddle two knobs rather than hold an actual pen, but you have to destroy each hard-won masterpiece before embarking on a new one. The ads should have blared out "Infuriating! Ephemeral! Cramp-inducing!"
All this seemed to be more than offset by the apparent magic of a black line appearing on the screen without the aid of a pen - a mystery that still engages people enough for them to present exposés on the internet showing the sliding rods holding the stylus as it scrapes away at the metal dust. (Oddly, whenever one of us kids tried to do enough shading to reveal the mechanism we only succeeded in breaking the thing.)
Or perhaps it was the sheer difficulty of it that made its fans press on with stubborn determination - a bit like golf, where successfully drawing an acceptable circle was the equivalent of hitting a hole-in-one.
I think I got to be fairly proficient with one of these when I was about ten, drawing castles, spaceships, and for some reason several versions of a kid grinning kid running away from a school, satchel swinging behind him. I remember doggedly tracing around his legs and feet again and again to avoid drawing over him with the background lines.
As an animator and a glutton for punishment (much the same thing), I'm now considering buying one of these to try some animation on.