TSJ Interviews Tank Girl Illustrator, Rufus Dayglo

RUFUS DAYGLO MAY BE BEST KNOWN FOR DRAWING 6 COMPLETE SERIES OF TANK GIRL (Tank Girl: The GiftingTank Girl: Visions of BoogaTank Girl: SkidmarksTank Girl: The Royal EscapeTank Girl: We Hate Tank Girl, and Tank Girl: Bad Wind Rising) alongside co-creator Alan Martin for Titan Books, Image Comics and IDW Comics.

But Dayglo, whose day jobs have included working in commercials, animation and film, isn’t all Tank. Dayglo also drew Snaked, a mini series with writer Clifford Meth for IDW, Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty and Low Life with Rob Williams for 2000 AD, and he’s primed to launch Solid Gold Death MaskSolid Gold Death Mask will be available for free online, and the series will be be released afterwards as books.

As well, Dayglo is doing design work for Ashley Wood‘s 3A toys.

Dude’s a multi-tasker. Dude’s got a lot on the go. Dude’s BUSY. TSJ was lucky enough to catch up with him. Interview below.

The Smoking Jacket: Tell me about how you got started working as an illustrator.

Rufus Dayglo: All my life I’ve wanted to draw comics, but when I left school, I had no idea how to even approach comic companies (this was pre-Internet, so you couldn’t just Google them!). So I started making my own fanzines, posters for bands etc., and then managed to blag a job at an animation company. From there, I worked on TV shows, films, pop promos, and commercials, and thankfully finally escaped, and got into drawing comic books professionally.

TSJ: I love that you worked on a project called “Peanut Butter and Spermicidal Jelly”. What was this?

RD: That was one of my first fanzines! I did it with some friends, and it was great training to be a professional illustrator. I’d recommend doing fanzines to any aspiring artist… you learn what works on the page, and your storytelling improves dramatically!

TSJ: How did you get hooked up illustrating Tank Girl?

RD: I was drawing for 2000 AD, and working with my friend Ashley Wood, drawing Metal Gear Solid. One lunch time, I was browsing eBay, tapped in “Tank Girl” and a piece of script was for sale, for like a fiver, so I bought it… It turned out it was Alan Martin selling it. He’d stopped writing professionally, and was working in a pub. I offered to help get Tank Girl back in gear. Originally I’d suggested Ashley Wood draw a new series, but he was overworked. So I took over… And boom! 6 series later…

So I can thank a fiver spent on eBay! Haha.

“The great thing about being an artist is no one expects you to grow up.”

TSJ: What was the most enjoyable aspect of working on the Tank Girl franchise?

RD: I loved the silliness of the characters and the room to add detail. I liked I could bring parts of my own life to it… in what she wore, and what happened often in little side gags!

TSJ: What qualities did you like to bring out in the character?

RD: All the characters have really distinct personalities, so it’s been really fun playing with them. Tankie the angry hippie, Booga the goofy boyfriend, Jet Girl the stoner, Barney the best friend who’s also a psycho, and Boat Girl who’s desperate to fit in… I hope I’ve let the characters seem real, and fun. I had a lot of fun drawing them… And based a lot of their body language on my friends.

Relaunching Tank Girl has been a real highlight, and the readers have been so amazing to me… I can’t thank them enough. I hope they’ll support my new project as much… Because they are a great crew!

TSJ: What do you think made your depictions of Tank Girl unique?

RD: Hopefully the fun. I really loved drawing it. That’s why I stayed for 6 series!

TSJ: What kinds of projects are you working on these days?

RD: Lots of cool stuff!

I’m now launching Solid Gold Death Mask, my own series, which will be on its own website and will have cool merch and toys from the ammmmazing threeA Toys. And I’m also doing work for DC Comics Vertigo imprint, which is pretty cool, as I’ve always loved DC.

SGDM will be free online, so bookmark the site… solidgolddeathmask.com and come find our Facebook page.

I’ll be launching SGDM at threeA’s reVENTURE show in Hong Kong in late April! Fans of Tank Girl will love it.

I’m also designing toys for threeA, which is a dream come true… I love robots!

TSJ: Tell me a secret.

RD: Fuckin’ ell. I’m not telling anyone where I buried those bodies… No one needs to know… Although the stench on the patio is a bit of a giveaway… The foxes keep trying to dig up the concrete…

TSJ: Okay so something less incriminating. Something people might not really know about you.

RD: I love toy robots, and own hundreds of Gundam and other Japanese toys. The great thing about being an artist is no one expects you to grow up.


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TSJ Talks to Author/Illustrator Chester Brown
TSJ Interviews Illustrator Evan Munday