The countdown has begun to this year’s Lakes International Comic Art Festival in October (13th – 15th). We continue our “Kendal Calling” interviews with 2000AD and Tank Girl artist Rufus Dayglo. Working mainly in comics, illustration and storyboards – Rufus started his career in traditional 2D animation and storyboarding, before switching over to his first love, comics…
He relaunched Tank Girl with Alan Martin (and Ashley Wood) and went on to draw six series of the comic: The Gifting, Visions of Booga, Skidmarks, The Royal Escape, We Hate Tank Girl and Bad Wind Rising.
He has worked extensively for Britain’s 2000AD and the Judge Dredd Megazine and has also worked with Image Comics, IDW Comics, DC Vertigo and other US publishers. Recent work includes “Counterfeit Girl” written by Peter Milligan, working with Dom Regan for 2000ad and Last Gang in Town with Simon Oliver for DC Vertigo.
He is also slowly working on his own projects, Solid Gold Death Mask and Big Time Charlie (with writer Al Ewing).
Rufus lives in Margate with a collection of dusty toy Gundam robots, lots of pencils and more Lewis Leathers jackets than he could ever hope to wear. He likes Kit Kats and coffee. Both are always welcome (as are even more Lewis Leathers jackets).
downthetubes: What are you working on, comics-wise, right now, and when will it be published?
Rufus Dayglo: Right now I am drawing “Bad Company – Terrorists” for 2000AD, working with the writer Peter Milligan, colourist Dominic Regan and letterer Simon Bowland. It is our second Bad Company series together… this time in eye-searing colour!!
I am also working on my own series called Big Time Charlie, about a monster fighting, time travelling girl. It will be on Patreon in the new year! If you enjoyed my work on relaunching Tank Girl, I think you will like this too!
downthetubes: Which comic project you’ve worked on are you most proud of and where can people see it or buy it?
Rufus: I am immensely proud of all my work, but am particularly happy with the Last Gang in Town from DC Vertigo, my Tank Girl series (all six of them!) and my work with 2000AD – “Lowlife”, “Bad Company” and “Counterfeit Girl”.
downthetubes: How do you plan your day as a creator? (Do you plan your day?)
Rufus: I do plan my days… I have a weekly checklist of work I need to do, and I have a Year Planner next to my desk. As I get things done – I cross them off! Planning is a huge part of making comics… Nothing happens by accident!
I usually start my day answering emails, then do a page rough, print it A3 size, and try and get it done that day. If I have time I will scan and clean it up too!
downthetubes: What’s the best thing about being a comics creator?
Rufus: Telling stories. Comics is the art of storytelling. It is what makes us human… entertaining each other with stories.
I get to work with people I admire, and look up to. I have made friends with people who were my heroes when I was a kid… And I get to travel all over the world meeting people at comics shows, conventions, festivals and shops… My partner and I get to see beautiful places, and meet amazing artists and writers.
downthetubes: And the worst?
Rufus: There is certainly very little security… and the hours are long but to be honest, I get to do what I enjoy every day… making art and telling stories… I have nothing to complain about… except spilling my tea!
downthetubes: What most distracts you from getting your work done?
Rufus: The cat, kitkats, eBay, toys, passing cars… like most artists I am so easily distracted it is a wonder anything gets done. It is part and parcel of being interested and excited by everything!! My home and studio are both packed with collectibles, antiques and art, to inspire me, and set my mind wandering!
downthetubes: Do you think it’s easier or harder for young comic creators to get published today?
Rufus: It has never been easy… but today you can fireld test so much more directly, whether on Deviantart, Instagram, tumblr, your own website, Patreon. They are so many different platforms. You can make and grow your own audience. You no longer have to aim to impress publishers…just do it yourself and start your own thing. Really… it is the way forward, I feel.
downthetubes: Have you ever been to the Lake District before and if so what did you think of it? If you haven’t, what are you expecting?
Rufus: I have visited Kendal a long time ago and remember there was a Pencil Museum! How can you not love a town full of fudge and pencils??!!
downthetubes: Which one comic creator would you most like to meet, and why?
Rufus: Sergio Aragonés. His work was a massive inspiration in MAD magazine. His humour, love, and eye for detail continue to inspire me. He is a true Comics genius.
Everyone should throw flowers in his path for him to walk on. I propose we rename the Lake District “Aragonés Valley”.
downthetubes: How do Festivals and other comics events help creators most, do you think?
Rufus: These events are hugely important. It is an opportunity to meet artists and writers, and to to discover how we make stories and art work. It is a great place to make new friends and collaborators on projects. It also gives us an opportunity to show what we are working on to the public, and meet readers and interested people. I have made some of my best friends at shows.
downthetubes: What one piece of advice do you offer people looking to work in the comics industry?
Rufus: Work hard, work fast, be kind. Not in that order. Mostly, just be nice. People appreciate that. Ask questions. Be interested. Listen to advice. Say thank you.
Don’t aim for ‘The Big Two’, Marvel and DC. Consider keeping your ideas and setting up your own comic, whether digitally, or in print. We need entrepeneurs and risk takers. Comics has been overly dominated by franchises. It has made it warm and boring and it smell like old farts. We need new wind in our sails! We need young girls making comics! We need people making new types of characters and telling different stories.
We have more than enough Batman, Spider-Man and that sorta stuff to last a life time. Everyone has a story they want to tell…so tell yours.
downthetubes: What’s your favourite comic right now and where can people get it?
Rufus: I like Orson’s comics. He is a young kid making his own books. And Beth/ Ember Wood (Squimoo), another young artist who makes lovely work. And of course Love and Rockets – the best comic ever made…and still going strong!
downthetubes: Rufus, thanks very much for your time – see you in Kendal in October!
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• Book your tickets for this year’s Lakes International Comic Art Festival here. This year’s events programme includes live draws, masterclasses, interactive talks and a chance to get up close to the best comic creators in the world!