Theory Discussion: "Alex Toth Critiques Steve Rude" Professional Critique
I was clued in to these pages by a Bruce Timm posting in another board. Googled, and found these scans in Jason Latour's livejournal (scroll down). Apparently these are currently being passed around amongst comic pros.
Both Toth and Rude are considered "artist's artists". Toth died at his drawing table on May 27, 2006. He was 78.
Bruce Timm on Toth's critique:
....years later, i got ahold of the infamous toth critique , and read through it nodding my head all the while....without a doubt, toth was going overboard with the scorn, but if you get past the curmudgeonly venom, you realize that point by point, he's bang - on....and the thing is, even after getting toth's critique, steve STILL makes the same kinda off-kilter storytelling choices as he did in the JONNY QUEST story, to this day...as if he didn't take a single piece of toth's criticism to heart....i hate to say it, but since reading the toth critique, i can't fully appreciate steve's stuff as much as i used to....sure, his draftsmanship is still as dazzling and rock-solid as ever (and godDAMN, how the man can PAINT), but i find myself focussing on the odd storytelling quirks rather than the pretty pitchers...
Last edited by Sepulverture; November 25th, 2009 at 03:01 AM.
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Awesome, awesome find Flip!
There is a wealth of great information in that read.
Toth's honesty is brutal and insightful.
I'm printing those two last pages. They're going up on the wall, ready to kick me in the head whenever i get sloppy with my work / studies.
Anytime some noob complains about a critique, they should be sent here!
Last edited by Elwell; September 15th, 2006 at 01:49 PM.
I dont have any words for that last page.
It's simply perfect.
Whoa! That's the key isn't it. Internalize that and carry it with you always as an artist. Toth didn't anything about about Rude's technical skills, it was all about the thought process of art. There are a bunch of people out there that I don't think would even get that.
wow, this guy is heavy. his ending speech made my hair stand up
toth is brutally honest and those really wanna go pro should heed his every written words.
That's some blistering -- and inspirational -- stuff there from Mr. Toth. Thanks for posting it.
Is there any record of Steve Rude's response? I am equally awed by his ability to continue to create after being the recipient of such an intense crit. I also will print out & post the manifesto.
ahhh the memories it brings back of my old teacher who made at least one student cry every class.
But then people either improved, or faded away into the background pretty quickly...
That's a good critique, I think we can all learn something from about-- about how to critique.
I like to think of our profession as being similar to other professions (like medical, engineering, etc.) in that there ARE certain rules to follow, facts to research and quality standards to live up to.
If I were a surgeon and I were to witness a colleague performing butchery on a patient, my response would be predictably volcanic.
And when I see someone a fellow artist screwing around seemingly without a care, it drops the pH of my stomach acid to a level capable of burning its way out and sizzling all the way to China. I don't want to get into a big argument over who was right or not -- but this is an old-timer who has devoted his life (and died at the drawing board, would that we could all share such a noble fate), and he perceived that the fundamental concepts of storytelling were being sloughed off in favour of flashy draughtsmanship.
There are a lot of artists who couldn't be arsed to struggle with a concept like craftsmanship, and in my neck of the woods (Toronto) bad artwork is the NORM. Our city is chock full of "underground" artists with no skills whatsoever. Everywhere I turn there are shitty blobby abstract sculptures with no attention to proportion or anatomy, dark dreary flat and bland abstract paintings, people who exercise no control with their medium, my god. The horrors I see during my weekly life drawing sessions.
These amateurs and charlatans have poisoned the words "professional" and "artist" and I refuse to associate with them. They have obviously never done any research, been to Europe, or learned what real drawing is all about. Instead, their work is inbred and full of pretention and it sickens me. Our comics -- north american superhero comics... boring, bland! I don't really know where our artistic culture is going, but if Alex were alive and were to visit Toronto, he would have died of a coronary embolism.
We need people like Alex, but such people are few and far between.
True, he may seem overly harsh and venomous at first, but once you look at this passage of his biography you'll understand.
"Shelly was the first and only really creative and knowledgeable comics editor I've worked for in all these years in the field. He was rough. He'd tear up my pages if I got too cute, too arty in telling the story. He'd tear them up on the spot and tell me to go home and do 'em over again. I tried to put in all the elements that I thought were important. But they weren't important. And Shelly was the one who pointed that out to me. He didn't care how pretty the pictures were if they didn't develop the story. "Stop trying to be another Michelangelo," he'd say, "and just tell the story. Just tell the story." And every time I walked out of his office, I'd learned something--whether I wanted to or not. The direction of action; staging; the importance of dialogue flow, how it should run through a page, panel by panel; what the eye should read first and what you want the eye to see first." -http://www.bpib.com/illustra3/Toth/toth.html
So in other words, Toth is doing to Steve Rude what other editors have done for him in the past, being brutally harsh and honest with his critiques.
I printed out every page and I'm putting them in my instruction folder, I'm gonna see if I can learn from his mistakes. Oh, and compared to this sandblasting, you guys have been nothing but gracious, Thanks for the restraint everybody!
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