Saturday, December 19, 2009

Sketchbook Saturday - Black Canary

Back in 1972 I knew little of Black Canary. I think I had seen her in the Justice League. I don't think I had seen the Green Lantern/Green Arrow issues that she was in. I really didn't think too much of her until I came across Adventure Comics #418 & #419.

Alex Toth drew a two issue back up story starring Black Canary (written by Denny O'Neil) that really caught my attention. I don't recall if this is the first Toth art I encountered but it was the one that stuck with me. I have always liked Toth's version of Black Canary. There is something very strong about her but with a soft exterior. The way he drew her hair, the way it flowed, she looks like a pin-up bombshell and yet she hits like a bombshell.

Above, left side, I was doing a quick study of the way Toth drew Black Canary in the first splash page. The way she is standing is so natural. The figure has weight to it. She looks relaxed but ready to strike at the first opportunity. Artists today would probably draw her knees bent, back arched, rear end pushed out, chest out, teeth clenched and hands making fists. Not just other artists, myself included, I'm afraid. Subtlety is a lost art.

So in my brand new sketchbook, I did the sketch in the center and wasn't all that pleased with it. So I opened up the Black Canary Archives and looked at those pages that Toth drew and found inspiration. Taking a moment to study what he did and why he did it. Doing my little studies around the edges of the paper was fun. And a good exercise.

This is Post #791


LUD! said...

I still remember reading that story the very first time in the seventies! I actually picked up the second part first, and drove myself crazy tracking down the first part.

Toth drew a spectacular Canary, but Dick Dillin is still my all-time favorite when it comes to Ms. Lance...

Gary M. Peiffer said...

I am not familiar with Toth's work in comics specifically, so thanks for sharing the background Gene. I understand what you are saying about the "relaxed but ready to strike" natural poses. John Byrne also seems to have this down in my opinion.

Also, thanks for sharing such a cool sketchbook study. For those of us snowed in the North East, it is definately a treat!