Keeping It Looking Classy! An Interview With Dave Taylor

I personally have the greatest Deadpool story never told just rattling around in my brain.  It’s been there for a few years.  I’m not alone.  Since we were kids we’ve all have ideas or have reimagined the lives and stories of our favorite characters.  But how many people actually get the opportunity to take over something they love? Dave Taylor has tread a unique career path in comics.  He is also a big Nowhere Men fan and is taking over artistic duties on the second arc of the story.  Dave was kind enough to share some of his experiences, offer some advice and generally gush over being a creative cog on such a large and unique story.

PATRICK SELF: Nowhere Men is shaping up to be a very exciting series, how did you get hooked up with the project?

DAVE TAYLOR: Eric and I met at a Thought Bubble comic con (Leeds, UK) a while back. We had a brief chat during which I think we both decided to work together at some point. I'd heard a lot about him, had been aware of him for a long time, and meeting him confirmed he was one of the good guys. Him offering me Nowhere Men wasn't the surprise you might imagine. I'd read the book and loved it, so was aware there'd been a problem with its creation.

PS: Had you read the previous story arc? Impressions if so or first impressions of the first arc; what stood out to you?

DT: Nowhere Men was the only book I was buying regularly at the time it was published. I loved it! I'm very hard to please when it comes to comic books, but this book ticked all my boxes. Firstly, the art really appealed to me. Nate's sense of design, his beautifully balanced and detailed clean line and his understanding of storytelling caught my eye. Eric's story and the world in which it exists was unique, another high point and all too rare. Then there was Jordie's colouring and Fonografix design elements that convinced me it was a special book.

PS: Being the new comer to an existing creative team can be difficult, were there any creature hurdles in the process of getting folded in?

DT: Not in the slightest. The whole team are so easy and pleasant to work with. There's a real sense of a close team, a positive creative force! They've made me feel very comfortable. We're all working towards a goal we all believe in.

NowhereMen07_CvrPS: What was the biggest challenge in taking over such a distinctive looking project like Nowhere Men from another artist?

DT: Keeping it looking classy! As I say, I was a fan of Nate's work. I struggled at first to find a way of moulding my style into something that suited the book. I did numerous sketches, finding my way a little before I began drawing pages. As soon as Eric told me he wanted my vision and not to try to mimic Nate I began to find my voice.

Every book I work on I like to adapt my style, my approach, to best fit the story. After I'd finished a few pages of Nowhere Men I realised what that style was!

PS: Did you do or try anything specific to put your fingerprints on this arc (other than drawing it yourself, of course) to make it stand alone from the previous arc?

DT: I want there to be as little of a shock of the new as possible. I'm not mimicking Nate, I'm doing it my way, but I'm drawing it in my Nowhere Men style out of respect for the fans, of which I am one.

PS: What most excited you about working on Nowhere Men?

DT: Finding out what happens next! Seriously, as a genuine fan of the original series, it's so cool to read Eric's scripts as they come in. And I find myself openly smiling as I read, thinking how much fun it's going to be to draw. This comes at a crucial time in my career, a time when I felt the need for a bigger and more difficult challenge. Nowhere Men is forcing me to draw in a way I've not done for many years, a more controlled, more accurate approach. It's been really good for me as a developing artist.

PS: How was working with Eric Stephenson?

DT: It's been hell. He's a total nightmare. I'll be lucky to live to see the end of this.

On the other hand, more seriously, he's a joy to work with. It's so nice to get to work with folk you actually admire. I think really good writers are hard to find, and it's a huge pleasure to work with one I was already a fan of.

PS: If you could pluck the knowledge of any scientific discipline off a tree and be a foremost expert, what would it be and why?

DT: Anti-gravity. I've always been fascinated by flying saucers, landspeeders and such things, and am still disappointed that the promise of flying cars, made back in the 70's, never happened. Surely there should be flying cars in this, the 21st Century!

PS: What do you suppose that kind of tree would look like?

DT: Naturally, it would be defying gravity, and it's fruit more complex to collect.

PS: You’ve been able to stay off monthlies for some time, what did working inside that demanding environment teach you as a professional artist?

DT: Simply put, it makes you a professional. You have to be aware of the creative process out of respect for your fellow creative team. You've got maybe an inker, a colourist, a letterer all waiting to do their job after you've done your thing. If you're late it makes them late, then the house of cards comes down. I learned this on my first ever monthly, namely Zorro for Marvel. It took me so long to do my first issue, penciling and inking, they had to give me an inker to speed me up, which was a huge kick in the pants. I've been very conscious of deadlines ever since.

PS: Given your personal journey in professional comics, and besides the obvious need of talent and work ethic, what advice would you give aspiring artists looking to make comics a full time gig?

DT: I learned a lot from two of this industries best...Alex Toth and Jean Moebius Giraud, the latter in person to some degree. Toth taught me one of the most important rules regarding drawing a page, and that is to draw what's absolutely necessary to tell the story and spend what time you have making what you have as good as possible. The most important advice Moebius ever gave me was to study the classics. I immediately signed up (again) for art school and began to obsessively collect books on classical art. My personal advice, something I've learned over the years, is that you need to be totally dedicated to and fascinated by the medium before you can get anywhere. It helps too to realise how hard it is but how lucky you are to be doing such work.