Over the next few months we’re going to be talking to an incredible line-up of comic creators, poster artists and illustrators. Here’s the second interview.
By Jason Thibault
I discovered the work of Rufus Dayglo through my friend and IDW colorist Christian Krank. Not only is Rufus an artist for 2000 AD in the UK and IDW in the US…he’s also an art dealer for many of the UK’s top comic artists. He basically lives eats and breathes comic art. Let’s learn a thing or two from him. For further info you can visit his blog or add him on myspace.
First professional work (piece / year) and maybe a quick story behind it.
I’ve been paid to draw since I was at school. First stuff was for advertising firms, then I went into Animation, and finally Comics.
I also did a lot of band flyers, gig posters and album covers for punk bands, usually for a few beers and fags. Glamorous, no?
Self-taught or formally educated? (or mixture of both, mentors etc…)
Self taught. I’ve drawn comic strips since I was a kiddie. I was obsessed with 2000ad (Judge Dredd), and WW2 comics. I learned from copying my heroes, Artists like Mick McMahon, Brendan McCarthy, Joe Kubert, Ramon Sola, Cam Kennedy, Victor De La Fuente, Gerry Talaoc, Herb Trimpe.
I then started doing my own fanzines, and working with friends, like the very talented Nzer Simon Morse, who should be world famous.
A big learning curve was seeing a piece of original art, a Dr Who page by Dave Gibbons in the old Forbidden Planet shop. I realized artists worked twice up to repro size, AND most importantly…I could see corrections! It was a revelation that even Comic Gods made mistakes.
I was very lucky in that I did some work for 2000ad, and Ashley Wood asked me to work with him. This not only forced me to produce a huge amount of work, but I got to see what he did with my layouts, and it was a massive learning curve. Ashley makes everything look very easy… Damn him!!
Tools of the trade: Taking a quick glance over at your pens, brushes etc…what tools have you mainly been using over the last few years?
My system I’ve settled on presently is this…
1 – Small sketch pad to do thumbnails with a 4B pencil and Biro
2 – Scan and enlarge to A3 sized (With US Paper size guidelines…)
3- Light box the rough through onto Paper, using a blunt 2B (I like loose pencils, tight pencils fuck up my inking, as I stress out about ruining a well penciled picture).
4 – Once penciled I rule in Borders, then straight into inking with a Tombo Black art pen and Zig Calligraphy Marker(You’ve got to be careful, these suckers aren’t waterproof), then I use a Uniball Eye Fine Line Rollerball Byro to add detail. Rub out the pencils, and fill in the blacks with a Pentel Brush pen.
It’s important to have an Art brush, to brush away rubber bits from the rubbed out pencils, don’t want to smear the inks.
A page takes me about 4-6 hours, and I do 2 a day.
Favorite brand of ink:
No particular favourite, I like pens. Pilot Lettering Pens, Kuretake â€˜Zig- Memory System’ calligraphy Markers (They are great, highly recommended), Pentel Brush Pen, and Uniball roller Byros are superb.
Type of paper:
I use cheap spiral bound A3 pads from a local art shop (Atlantis Fine Arts, London), the paper is 135 GSM Cartridge paper, and is great. Light enough to see through on a light board, hardy enough to scalpel, and absorb my spilt coffee.
Which artists or creators do you return to for a quick boost of inspiration? Who are the masters of ink?
Mick McMahon, Guy Davis, Ashley Wood, Brendan McCarthy, Brett Ewins, Jordi Bernet, Alex Toth, Carmine Infantino, Joe “The Bestest” Kubert, Sam Glanzman,Jamie Hewlett, Cam Kennedy, Jordi Penalva, Gino D’Antonio, Victor De la Fuente, Jock, Henry Flint, Trev Hairsine, Mark Stafford, Hugo Pratt, Alberto Breccia, Mike Mignola, Jose Garcia Lopez, Henri Matisse, Robert Raushenberg, Allesandro Biffignandi, ahhhh…There’s so many…
…and too much to learn!
Once a client has handed off an illustration job to you, how do you first tackle the job? Could you give us a quick overview of your process?
I get a script from the writer, read it 3 or 4 times, drink enough coffee to paralyze an Elephant, draw thumbnails, (If possible discuss the story over the phone with the writer… Alan martin is great for that, very accessible, and points out things he wants particular attention paid to.)
Eat lotsa chocolate… more coffee… Then Pencil and ink 2 pages a day til it’s done, FTPing them up to site for the colourist as I go.
I always send pages to the writer first, to let them check, I like it to be collaborative, and I’m happiest when I have a lot of communication.
What’s currently sitting in your mp3 / CD player / turntable?
Cds.. thousands.. but this week… A lot of Flaming Lips, Polyphonic Spree, Morrissey, the Ramones (Always the Ramones), The 3ds, Pavement, Wire, J&M Chain, Early Adam and the Ants, The Hitchers, anything by Ben deilly (ex LemonHeads…Genius!), Magnetic Fields, Mudhoney, Gun Club, Avengers, lotsa noise…
What’s hanging on your walls and what is your favourite piece of art that you own (not created by you)?
I’m lucky to own a lot of original art.
My personal favourites are a Mick McMahon Judge Dredd Painting, A Guy Davis illo he drew for me, a Gary Panter drawing, and a Brent Anderson Blade Runner cover, and a Ramon Sola Hookjaw page.
But I own a LOT of Art…. I’m very lucky.
Last novel you read and last movie that you saw (that you’d recommend)
I reread a lot of Kinky Friedman books, Tim Powers â€˜Anubis Gates’, Bill Bryson and a lot of history books, mainly depressing war stuff, but also Peter Ackroyd, absolute genius (Get his â€˜bio’ of London)
Films… Ummm..I never get out…sob.
Current and upcoming projects.
Tank Girl “Visions of Booga” 4 issue mini series IDW Comics
Pristeen16 – 4 issue miniseries – IDW Comics
Tank Girl “Skidmarks” 12 part series for Judge Dredd Megazine
Low Life – War without Bloodshed – 4 part series in JD Megazine.
What would you tell an aspiring artist who is working his ass off but still needs and wants to break through to the next level?
Keep working. Nothing improves you like more work. If offered listen to advice from Editors, and other creators, and take on board any suggestions.
Keep submitting work, even if rejected (Again, take on board any feedback you were given).
Publish your own work, get it out, get it seen. Seeing things in print helps you spot mistakes and improve.
But mostly…Keep Working.
Previous Masters of Ink: