Interview with Princess Etch A Sketch (Jane Labowitch)
Why and how did you get into the Toy and Game industry?
I first started playing with an Etch A Sketch when I was 4. My family had an old Etch A Sketch that I would play with constantly during weekend visits at my grandma’s. As I grew up, I never put the Etch A Sketch down, and my etching skills grew hand-in-hand with my drawing skills. Creating art on an Etch A Sketch has now become my full-time job, and I couldn’t be happier about it! :)
What trends do you see in toys or games that excite or worry you?
It’s exciting to see the Etch A Sketch brand going in a new direction with the introduction of the Etch A Sketch Freestyle, which was just announced at the New York Toy Fair. As an Etch A Sketch purist, I don’t see it replacing my love for the analog qualities of the original product, but I am happy to see the original is still on store shelves while allowing breathing room for innovation.
I also am excited to see how popular board games are becoming out here in Chicago - especially games I’ve never heard of. Nothing beats sitting with a table of die-hard fans that all simultaneously light up when they learn you’re playing their favorite board game for the first time.
What was your favorite toy or game as a child?
Other than Etch A Sketch, some of my childhood favorites were Betty Spaghetty, Polly Pocket, and Bop It. Oh yeah, and anything to do with the Pokemon franchise!
What inspires you?
Since Etch A Sketch is a pretty rare medium to use for art, I am inspired to create things that have never been seen on an Etch A Sketch screen before. And I love a challenge! A lot of my work is inspired by pop culture - cartoons I watched as a kid growing up and the like.
What is your favorite gadget, app or piece of software that helps you every day?
I write in a daily planner that keeps my life organized. I’d be a fish out of water without it!
When is the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?
Reading Brian Hersch’s interview on your blog - I lost it when I got to what inspires him.
Are you named after anyone?
No, but I am named Jane because my mom really wanted a son so she could name him James, a name she always admired. Since I ended up being a girl, my mom shrugged and decided to name me Jane.
Do you have any guilty pleasures?
Ketchup on hotdogs!
What’s your favorite cereal?
Story time! In 2003, the greatest cereal in the world, Tony’s Cinnamon Krunchers, hit store shelves. I could wax poetic for eons about how great this cereal was. It was all the joy of Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Frosted Flakes, with none of the detriments. The texture was sublime. The flavor was perfection. And it didn’t get soggy either. That cereal rocked my world. In 2005, it disappeared from store shelves. After waiting for years, I composed a heartfelt email imploring Kellogg’s to bring it back. I was heartbroken to learn that there were no plans for its return. They recently released Cinnamon Frosted Flakes, but it’s just not the same.
These days I’ll suffice for a bowl of Honey Smacks.
What’s your favorite TV show?
Favorite movie of all time?
A tie between The Big Lebowski and The Sound of Music
What’s the furthest you’ve ever been from home?
India! In June, I was sent on a trip to India, where I chronicled my journey on Etch A Sketch in exchange. I miss the food, the fashion, and the architecture!
Do you have any special talents?
Other than Etch A Sketch, I am really good at dolphin impressions. I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but I’m frighteningly good at dolphin calls.
What are your hobbies?
I love riding roller coasters, playing handheld video games, and I’m always up for a good game of euchre.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
I want to continue my reign as Princess Etch A Sketch! :)