Web Exclusive: Woman turns Etch A Sketch drawings into art

Web Exclusive

(CNN/WDRB) - When you were a kid, maybe you were pretty handy with an Etch A Sketch, but maybe not as good as an artist in Louisville. A woman's work with a children's toy is drawing even more attention than her oil paintings.

"You do have to have an eye for it, I guess," says Carrie Johns, a painter. Such a masterful thing to be an artist -- the precision, the patience. "It'll get done eventually," says Johns.  

Painter Carrie Johns carries both. "There's more room for mistakes on this kind of stuff, because you can paint over and paint over."   

She's modest about her skills. The people who buy her art gush over it. "Just in awe of how detailed and beautiful they were," says Candy Bennett.
Candy Bennett loves the graphite portraits of her children, her surprise present last Christmas from husband Steve, who works with Carrie's dad assembling cars at Ford. "I wish I were able to do something like that." 

But the detail captured in these portraits or this painting don't hold a stencil to what Carrie considers her third medium -- one that requires different strokes. "I would say that doing Etch A Sketch stuff is almost kinda like doing tattoo, like doing tattoo art, 'cause you draw on something and you can't take it back. It's there," says Carrie. 

It's there, highly-detailed art Carrie creates by the twisting of two white knobs on an Etch Sketch.

"Somebody asked me once if I could do a picture for them and I did. It just has been something I was able to do," says Carrie.
From the Roman Colosseum to Rick Pitino, to the National Champion Louisville Cardinals, Carrie brings them to life with a toy she used to play with as a kid during long car rides. "I needed something to keep me busy, so I just started drawing on it, and everybody was impressed," says Carrie.    

Her companion became a passion, a canvas of glass, aluminum dust, and a needle -- art pre-framed by red plastic. "I think it's a really neat feeling to see people react to someone who can draw on an Etch A Sketch," says Carrie.        

She likes to start with the needle in the middle, working her way out, always signing in the lower corner. The process can be painstaking, time consuming.  "I've done two or three a year at the most, but I'd love to do more," says Carrie.    

She even sold a few, going well more than $100, and is hoping to make it a supplemental income. But how does one treat a piece of art that was created on the same medium, the same toy her son plays with? "You have to treat it as a piece of art. You can't, you know. You have to leave it straight up. You can't drop it. You have to be really careful with it, because if you break it, it's done," says Carrie. 

Be careful, unless you're okay with buying the same art twice. "Maybe you shouldn't be so careful with it, because if you drop it, maybe I can do another one for you," says Carrie.


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