Interview: Jane Labowitch (Nintendo Etch-A-Sketch Art)

Jane Labowitch is an art student from Chicago, who expresses her love for Nintendo, through the medium of an Etch-A-Sketch. We caught up with Jane, to find out more about her love for Nintendo and how we can drastically improve our Etch-A-Sketch skills...

NFO: Hi Jane, could you briefly introduce yourself to our readers?

Jane: I'm Jane Labowitch. I am currently a senior in art school in Chicago, and I'm majoring in illustration. In my spare time, I like to draw on an etch a sketch, play Nintendo games, surf the net and read books.

NFO: We're quite frankly awful when it comes to the Etch a Sketch, how are you so good with it?

Jane: I started playing with an etch a sketch when I was about 4. Like most kids, I tinkered with it a lot, but I guess the main difference is that I pretty much never stopped tinkering with it. I started with the staircases and blocky houses like everyone else, but not being able to draw certain things never discouraged me.

I was bored a lot as a kid, so playing with my etch a sketch really helped to kill the time. I just practiced A LOT. I used to have an etch a sketch at my grandma's, and I'd visit her every other weekend. She had a TV, but wouldn't let my siblings and I watch it all that often. Thankfully I had an etch a sketch there because that is what I would usually do to keep myself occupied. Looking back, I'm really grateful that my grandma didn't let us watch television because I'm sure I wouldn't have played with my etch a sketch nearly as much.

NFO: What gave you the idea to make Nintendo art on the Etch a Sketch? Was it inspired by childhood memories?

Jane: Definitely. Growing up, all we had was an NES when everyone else had an N64. When I finally got an N64, everyone else had a Gamecube. But I didn't get an N64 until I was around 12 or so, so the bulk of my childhood was raised on the classics. I wouldn't have wanted it any other way. Etching iconic Nintendo characters is kind of my way to paying homage. Nintendo games have provided me hours of enjoyment and plenty of great memories, and I guess doing fan art is my way of giving back.

NFO: What are you favourite Nintendo titles and franchises and what is your favourite Nintendo console from over the years?

Jane: That's a tough question--there's so many! I'll categorize by systems.

NES: Legend of Zelda, Paperboy, Tetris, FF1, The Little Mermaid (it was actually good!), Contra, Super Mario 3, Dreammaster

N64: (never owned a SNES) Mario Kart, anything pokemon (but especially Pokemon Stadium 2, Pokemon Snap and my all-time favorite, Pokemon Puzzle League), Goldeneye, Starfox 64, Yoshi's Story, Kirby and the Crystal Shard

Gamecube: (I owned one very briefly but it inexplicably died) Pokemon XD, Mario Kart: Double Dash and my all-time favorite game, Smash Bros Melee

For the handhelds, I've played almost every pokemon game from Yellow to Black to Trozei to Mystery Dungeon to Puzzle Challenge to Ranger to Pinball to you name it...I've enjoyed them all. The handhelds got me into the Metroid series (which I have for the NES, but Zero Mission is superior) and Kirby (Nightmare in Dreamland) but I've only ever played Final Fantasy 1 and 2.

Alas, I could keep listing games for an eternity. I've never owned a non-Nintendo system so I'm a pretty biased gamer. My all-time favorite franchises are definitely Pokemon, and the classics. Mario, Kirby, Yoshi, Zelda...they're all great

NFO: You make an awful lot of Etch a Sketch art, exactly how many of these little Etch a Sketches do you have?

Jane: As of right now...I think around 100. I can't help but stockpile them!

NFO: Alot of your art is Pokemon based? Are you a big fan of the series?

Jane: Yes! I became a fan back in 1997 when the series was getting big. I'm glad to have experienced it all when it all started. I grew up loving the series, but I actually didn't own a Pokemon game until I got a GBA and Ruby. It sucked being the only kid on the block without R/B/Y or G/S/C.

Thankfully I started with Yellow because I had a cool friend who would rather play Silver and let me start a new file on his Yellow version. I'm still a huge fan, and thankfully since I go to art school, I have a lot of friends that are big fans still too :)

NFO: The Wii U is approaching very fast, are you excited for the new console? Will you be picking one up?

Jane: I am definitely excited :) I've never had a game system that was the most up-to-date, and I've been contemplating finally hopping the bandwagon and getting one. I probably won't be getting one anytime soon, but I think it's worth saving up for. Though I might want to get a 3DS first! (all I have is an original DS)

NFO: Finally, what do you think the future holds. Will you continue to base your art around Nintendo and the Etch a Sketch.

Jane: Yes. I've been working on a lot more personal projects, so I haven't had as much time for nintendo art. Things are going really well for me as an artist right now (what with the whole Reddit thing) so my theory is, if it ain't broke don't fix it! I'll keep etching what I love, and see what happens from there.

NFO: Thanks alot for joining us Jane. We hope to speak to you again soon!

Jane: Thanks for the interview!

You can view Jane's artwork over at her deviantART Gallery, and she also has a website. You can also follow Jane on Twitter and Like her page on Facebook.

This interview was carried out by Josh Moorcroft-Jones (Nintendo Fans Online Editor) - if you have any questions for Jane, please leave them below...

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