Monday, May 10, 2010


Watch the design skills of the legendary Alex Toth in action.

Here, Toth had to squeeze a complex, vertical scene (an unscrupulous dealer in antiquities negotiating with a smuggler) into a tiny, horizontal space. He had to juggle an excess of dialogue. He needed to convey details about the nature of the character (so a drawing of small figures in a room would not do).

Many people think the artificial constraints of the comics medium-- size limits, word balloons, panel borders-- deprive artists of the freedom necessary for a legitimate art form.

But in any art medium, freedom (in the words of Sartre) is merely "what you do with what's been done to you."

I love Toth's imaginative solution to his challenges. Rather than whining about all that text, or using his constraints as an excuse for a weak drawing, look how Toth seizes on those constraints and incorporates them in a beautiful design, especially the aggressive way he loops the connections between those word balloons and the speakers.

This is a lovely drawing by a talented, tough pro.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


5/10/2010 9:34 AM  
Blogger Paolo Rivera said...

Toth is as good as it gets. I just picked up the Blazing Combat collection on a whim and was happy to see his work inside (not to mention the other masters inside).

5/10/2010 10:28 AM  
Blogger Jeff Overturf said...

Incredible. Toth always looks best in black and white too, when you can drawon in his shadows and see all the detail in the light.

5/10/2010 11:26 AM  
Blogger Corey Parker said...

Chris Payne likes to say illustration is "art under the circumstances".
We all bitch about art direction, being forced to create compositions that cater to elements that serve any purpose other than the sake of picture itself.
But if it wasn't for these "distractions", maybe we wouldn't be forced to try new things and learn a thing or two along the way. One's work could all start to look the same after a while if he/she got too comfortable being completely in control of everything.

5/10/2010 11:28 AM  
Anonymous MORAN said...

The good thing about seeing a scan from the original art is that you can see how Toth originally drew in the full hands and more of the face before deciding to cover them with shadows.

5/10/2010 1:04 PM  
Anonymous Canuck said...

Frank Frazetta died today at the age of 82.

5/10/2010 2:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

'Frank Frazetta died'

And your point is---?

5/10/2010 2:34 PM  
Blogger Jack R said...

"...the aggressive way he loops the connections between those word balloons and the speakers." And don't forget the loupe. I bet this was a pun.

5/10/2010 4:01 PM  
OpenID dougsamu said...

There aren't enough superlatives for Alex Toth.

5/10/2010 5:08 PM  
Anonymous Canuck said...

>>>Anonymous said...
'Frank Frazetta died'

And your point is---?<<<

Afficionados like me will fly their Frazetta posters at half mast. Non-fans like you can go clean the lint out of their navel.

5/10/2010 5:13 PM  
Anonymous norm said... may be off this specific topic, but Frazetta's pretty much the only thing anyone here (at EA) is talking about

5/10/2010 7:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOL Canuck! I'm a big Frazetta fan. Couldn't care less about him dying though. Same with Alex Toth. HE also died. Boo hoo! :

5/10/2010 8:49 PM  
Blogger 'sharpyoungbull' said...

Did Toth ink with a Papermate Flair pen? That's what I heard, but I'm not sure.

5/10/2010 9:54 PM  
Blogger EYEBALL BLINK said...

Love it

5/15/2010 3:04 PM  
Blogger bluemoonpaul said...

Great analysis, beautiful panel.

I'm covering Toth in a similar manner weekly at my blog. Check it out, if you like:

6/19/2010 1:49 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home