A couple of years ago, I picked up an Etch-A-Sketch for the first time since playing with one as a child growing up in the ’90s.

I’ll admit, back then, it was one of my least favorite toys. It was so hard to coordinate those dials to create anything that remotely resembled a picture. But seeing the Etch-A-Sketch at a friend’s house on Thanksgiving Day in 2018, I was feeling nostalgic and decided to give it another go. I surprised myself by drawing a couple of animals that were, at least, noticeably animals. I sent the pictures to my mom, and for Christmas that year, as a joke, she sent me my very own Etch-A-Sketch.

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Where it all began: Thanksgiving 2018… First time picking up an Etch-A-Sketch since being a kid in the ’90s… it’s a horse!(?)

Attempt #2… definitely a dog

I had recently relocated to Nova Scotia, I didn’t know many people yet, and with it being the holidays, I had some time to kill. I spent a good chunk of that time fooling around with those dials, figuring out how to draw something a bit more intelligible.

Boxing Day 2018:

By the evening of the 27th, I drew my first Etch-A-Sketch “art,” of Hogwarts (from my favorite novels written by J.K. Rowling). A day or 2 later, I completed a piece depicting the famous lighthouse at Peggy’s Cove (which took roughly 2-3 hours).

Dec. 27 2018: first etch art—Hogwarts

(all credits go to J.K. Rowling and WBStudios)

Jan 2019: Imagination Land

From there—as with all my pastimes—it became a sporadic hobby. I would spin the dials for a day or 2, maybe up to a week, create another picture, shake it, and then wouldn’t pick it up for weeks or even months at a time.

Morningstar Mill, Ontario

When I am “sketching,” I generally stick to landscapes and buildings, and often they are of places I have visited in Canada. I definitely don’t consider myself an artist; about once a year I have a paint night with the girls, and I dabbled in art in high school, but really haven’t done much since then. There are Etch-A-Sketch artists much more talented than I am (my perspective is often off and no matter how hard I try I can’t seem to draw a circle… I’ll never understand how people create such beautiful portraits!) but sometimes—especially long cold winter evenings—it’s fun to pick up the Magic Screen and see where that line will take me.

Salt Shaker Deli in Lunenburg, NS

Blue Rocks Fishing Village, NS

A more recent Hogwarts

(all credits go to J.K. Rowling and WBStudios)

Three Churches of Mahone Bay, NS

Lunenburg Waterfront, NS

Old Mill House

West Point Lighthouse, PEI

Anne of Green Gables

Charlottetown Skyline, PEI

Lighthouse at Peggy’s Cove, NS

Three Pines

The fictional town in Quebec, featured in the Inspector Gamache novels by Louise Penny.

Quidi Vidi Brewing Company, NFLD