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TothPix: Bird and...Egg?

As I mentioned in my first post of this series on the art of Alex Toth, he worked in a variety of styles and genre. He handled adventure, romance, war, superhero, horror and humorous material, among other types. And whether he was drawing something more realistic or exaggerated, rough or cartoony, he handled it all following the same premise of keeping things simple; using only the lines that are essential. Strip out the rest.

Towards that end, he doodled in sketchbooks and on scads of letter-sized sheets, with no penciling, directly with a marker, just so he would edit himself and force himself to think while he drew, before and as he lay down lines.

The cartoon strip below is an excellent example. The drawing in this strip couldn't be more simple and stripped-down. And with the easy give-and-take between this bird and "egg" and choice of three punchlines, it'd be easy to dismiss as inconsequential and a trifle. But it takes a lifetime of drawing and the instincts of a master to design the bird as he has, and to convey so much with so little in the body language.

It's astounding, really, how he chooses and puts down these lines, obviously having seen them in his head before he put marker to paper. Notice as well where he does not connect lines to convey movement and depth, how he creates a rhythm within this short piece and the egg/ball bounces and sticks to and fro, and as the bird observes it go here and there. What is that thing, really - an egg? A tennis ball? Some kinda yin-yang sphere? All of those, I say...

I scanned this cartoon from the now fairly rare 1995 book published by Kitchen Sink Press. More Toth doodles can be found in the superb book from 2006, Dear John, The Alex Toth Doodle Book, published by Octopus Press.

Next: Space Ghost!

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