Des Taylor is a Pop Artist, Designer, Comic Book Illustrator and founder of his own online print and comic art company, DESPOP. Des’s clients have included Michael Jackson, Theo Fennell, Chameleon Visual, Hamleys, LAPerla, DC Entertainment and ITV Studios America.
Known for his distinct animated style and retro pin-up girl art, Des has released his Digital “Romcom” comic The Trouble with KAtie Rogers (optioned by ITV STUDIOS AMERICA) via the Madfire motion comic app in 2014 as well as the Vesha Valentine Story in Feb 2011.
We had a chance to reach out and talk to Des about his comic mini-series ‘Scarlett Couture’ and more!
Science Fiction (SF): What can you tell our readers about ‘Scarlett Couture’?
Des Taylor (DT): Scarlett is the daughter of billionaire fashion mogul CHASE COUTURE who uses their empire as a front for covert C.I.A operations. She’s smart, cunning, lethal, tactical and of course beautiful. Along with a small resourceful field team, Scarlett finds herself in a race against time to stop a deadly plot from succeeding. The aim of the series is to have a bit of fun and be the launch pad to connect other characters I have in the computer.
SF: How long have you had Scarlett in your mind prior to bringing her to print?
DT: Since late 2005. I created the character around the same time I was fleshing out Katie Rogers but put Scarlett on the shelf to concentrate on the KR project, especially now that Katie has been optioned by ITV STUDIOS AMERICA . Scarlett was originally called ‘Suzy Fortune’ and was a private investigator but I felt that was too similar to Charlie’s Angels. I then went with the name Scarlett Couture after watching the Devil Wears Prada. You’ll also see how Meryl Streep’s character inspired Scarlett’s mother Chase Couture.
SF: What inspired you to write the series?
DT: When I witnessed a group of models at a fashion party getting past security into the VIP area, Scarlett really came to life. Around that time the show ALIAS was airing and that just spurred on my desire to flesh the character out more. I had a vision whilst watching the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show “What if Adriana Lima, Heidi Klum and Gisele Bunchen were N.O.C spies?” Think about it, models like that would be able to get access to some of the world’s elite businessmen, have access to secure area’s and would have be sexy enough to placate any man’s ego…long enough to plant a bug on him.
I also wanted to create a female character that was the equivalent to Ethan Hunt in Mission Impossible (and of course James Bond) in the action stakes but would dispense the bad guys Jason Bourne style. You’ll see in the series Scarlett uses Wing Chun and Aikido to get out of situations rather than trying to out brawl her opponents.
SF: The series seems well built to either be a collection of mini-series or an ongoing series, will we see more of Scarlett in the future?
DT: Well, it was originally intended to be a 4 part mini series only but due to the great response to the artwork, the buzz on social media and a meeting with Titan chief Nick Landau,we are talking about bringing Scarlett out for another 4-part series. The current series ends in a way that sets up for a Series 2 in any case. My dream is for other writers to join in the fun pen Scarlett’s adventures for the series and maybe even some novels. That would be amazing.
SF: Many of our readers will know you from the amazing cover art you’ve done for ‘Doctor Who’, which is your favorite design?
DT: I think the Peter Capaldi cover. I got such a good response to that one, especially with the X-Men: Days of Future Past reference. I had so little time to create that one so very proud how that turned out.
SF: Would you consider yourself a Whovian?
DT: Not really. I was too much into Star Wars growing up to watch the show. Seriously, I carry so much useless knowledge of the Trilogy around in my skull it’s embarrassing.
SF: How do you feel about illustrating other writer’s work compared to your own?
DT: I’ve only ever done a few strips from other writer’s scripts (for CLINT MAGAZINE) so I don’t have much experience of doing a whole book yet. I’ve had a ton of great offers to illustrate other creator’s projects but I really don’t have the time, especially as I’m trying to develop a universe of characters at Titan. However, I’ll answer this question a bit more in another one of your questions below.
SF: You have a very pinup styled look to your art. Is that intentional for the series or is it your preferred style?
DT: My retro-animated style is pretty much what makes me stand out from crowd. I try to make each panel look like a frame from an animated series to draw the reader in to the story and help to visualize the rest of the action in your imagination. It’s taken years for me to develop the style and a lot of work goes into each individual panel. I don’t find much pleasure in drawing traditional panels on paper. I feel restricted when it comes to depicting pace, movement and depth of field. I’m a keen photographer so I wanted to convey that passion in my work. Plus, when I saw Who Framed Roger Rabbit back in the day my mind was pretty much set. LOL!
SF: Who are your artistic influences?
DT: Wow! My artistic influences originally came from Kandinsky, Henri Toulouse Lautrec, Gauguin, Warhol and Lichtenstein. As I got into comics I had a deep passion for Kirby, Neal Adams, Garcia Lopez and Romita Sr. Those guys are the true legends of comics and are influential to the success of many DC/Marvel franchises not just in books but on marketing and advertising campaigns. As a Graphic Designer I always respected that. Just look at all the comic-related merchandise you see in department stores today. Their work still holds up.
SF: Past ‘Scarlett Couture’ do you have any future work you can share with us?
DT: I’d love to let the cat out of the bag with a recent project I’ve been working on with a rather popular company but you’ll have to wait until June for the official announcement. Barring that, I am currently working on getting a webisode of Katie Rogers to complete for San Diego Con and I’m also working on my first comic collaboration with Disney animator Robb Pratt. (Check out his superb classic Superman below, wait till you see his AWESOME Flash Gordon short coming very soon)
Robb will be scripting my next comic book adventure EVA STRONGBIRD & THE MARINE which I am VERY excited about. It’s a fun Indiana Jones style World War 2 caper that has a connection to the events in Scarlett Couture. I met with Robb during San Diego Con a couple of years ago and we both hit it off immediately. He’s a cool guy with lot’s of amazing idea’s and I was blown away by his script for the book on first reading.
SF: Thank you for your time, is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers?
DT: You are most welcome! Anything to share with the readers? Yeah! I hate Arsenal Football club with a passion, love a pint of Guinness, a good conversation about movies,football, politics and current events and have a ton of work you can view on my page www.facebook.com/DesTaylorFanPage, you can purchase Limited edition art and Commissions at www.despop.co.uk , and I hope you enjoy Scarlett Couture from Titan Comics.
As a bonus we also have a few images from showcased at MEFCC in Dubai to show off ‘Scarlett Couture’ which includes the purple dress shot from the Swarovski crystal embedded print and the Comicave exclusive variant cover. Enjoy!