Etch A Sketch: More Than A Toy

A NASA photo from 1969 of Neil Armstrong, the first man to set foot on the moon. He was mission commander of the Apollo 11 moon landing, and with Buzz Aldrin, spent more than two hours exploring the lunar landscape.
AP Photo
Great artists like Monet, Picasso and Van Gogh have always used canvases to create their artwork. But what would Leonardo da Vinci say if he knew his Mona Lisa could be etched on an Etch A Sketch?

Keith Drake uses the Etch A Sketch toy for his masterpieces and discusses his unique artistic abilities at The Early Show.

Drake is a 47-year-old artist that has a special skill: he's mastered the art of the Etch A Sketch. The artist has been creating amazing images on his Etch A Sketch since the age of eight.

His first "etching" was of the family piano, and he was able to sketch 88 keys and the candelabrum in great detail. His family was amazed and gave him encouragement to continue playing with the toy. Keith quickly developed a high level of skill.

Drake took his mobile toy outside his home; he does his etchings while sitting down but does not need an easel or a desk, just the Etch A Sketch.

He's taken the Etch A Sketch along in the car and designed games to entertain himself. This allowed him to develop the skill of retracing lines. At times Keith would pretend he was at mission control. The rule of game was not to cross over lines. He wanted to see how full he could make the screen with the toy's one continuous line. This helped him master control.

During etching, Keith tries to pick a good starting spot on the screen. On faces he usually starts etching around eye or eye brow. He continues etching with the laid-back mindset of, "we will see what happens".

When Keith wants to save the etching he suspends it on a piece of wood that hangs off a stepladder. He stands under it at an angle with a hand drill and drills five or six little holes in a circle to create a larger hole on the back. A ziploc bag is placed around the toy. Very fine aluminum powder and plastic beads that act as rollers and erasers fall out at such an angle so that the image is not erased.

He then seals the hole in the back. He pulls the white knobs off and puts 2 little pins next to the main steel knob. Next he puts the knobs back on. The pins are used to prevent rolling/erasing.

Drake recently retired from Lucent Bell Labs in July of 2001 after 20 years at the company. He created Keith Drake Design, a freelance illustration company soon after. Now, Keith is looking to sell his etchings.

He believes his etchings are very custom, high-end collectors items. He hopes to tour the world to etch all different parts of the globe, famous people, and everyday America.

In April of 2002 Keith created, a website devoted to his Etch A Sketch art.