Tuesday, December 11, 2012

"I hate giving Critiques...they Anger Me": Turning brutal honesty into constructive learning- Lessons from Alex Toth


The last page of Alex Toth's critique of Steve Rude's work is resonating with me quite a bit at the moment, as I re-read it while about to embark on plotting 'Soldier Legacy #6', thumb-nailing part 3 of the 'Dark Detective: Sherlock Holmes' back up story, colouring 'Larry Burne' and my thesis (which is belting me at present.)
It's ok, I grin if I receive a good strike in a fight too.

I'm very fortunate to have had my own Toth experience with Howard Chaykin recently- People on the internet in various forums comment on how brutal Toth is of Rude, but there is a lot of fantastic tidbits containing valuable lessons (see the link above)- something that I am pleased to have received from a man who does this sort of thing for Marvel guys. A creative "bitch slap" if you will. Trying not to let it cripple my thoughts before I make a line on the page is indeed tough, but like all feedback, either delivered brutally honest, or padded with kindness, the aim from the receiver is to accept it graciously, with no excuses for what's on the page ("Fake! Trickery!") and take on board as much as you can, in whatever capacity you see it working for you. With 42 years verses 2 years in comics, I'm willing to do my best with what I was given.
Considering the part of the story now for #6 calling on quite a bit of destruction and story to occur, I hope I can rise to the challenge I'm attempting to set myself.

Here's the last page of Toth's fax which I think should apply to every artist out there- aspiring, up and coming, in the business, whatever.

"Always be a student! A scholar! Admitting to how little you know, how much there's still left to learn, is your key to learning! For a lifetime!

Study everything! Be curious/interested/in everything. You may have to draw it someday! You can't draw something credibly until/unless you do/can understand it! And vice versa!

Comic books print the worst junk art! 99% of it is cheap, vulgar, ignorant, ugly, senseless, fakery and trickery of characterless hue — if that's all you want, just do what you're doing — you'll be a mite better than the rest, but that won't be much!

Your growth is in your hands, not mine!

I hate giving critiques — an emotional drain! They anger me! And those I critique! Like you! If you're angry — don't waste it on me! Be angry with you! You are in your own hands, like clay, waiting to be formed — you must always be your own best teacher! Not me! I Refuse that — unless I hold classes!

No old pro, no teacher, no school, no book, no how-to film/casette will ever teach you as well as you can and must. But they help you to think!

To do that, you must be aware! Not smug, or complacent, or cocky, or relaxed, about how good you are! You've used 10% of your thinking skills thus far — you've got 90% left! For the rest of your career and life! How much of it will you use?

Forget all the fandom bullsh** and kudos and hype and cons' groupies' adulation — and be true to yourself and your long road ahead to the top, or to wherever you want to go — and don't let ego stop you from learning to do better, best!"

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