I'm obsessed with the artwork of Tom Taylor.
For the Naked Men Talking podcast, I caught up with him for a behind-the-scenes look at his sexed-up cartoon hunks.
“I’ve been drawing pretty much my whole life…” explains Tom, when I ask how he got his start as an illustrator. “I was taught a lot of techniques by my grandad, who was an incredible artist. I drew almost every single day of my life, but never imagined that I could actually make a living solely from it.”
“There are obviously a ton of amazing queer artists to pull from, but an all-time inspiration of mine is Andy Warhol…” says Tom, as we talk about his art heroes. “Warhol is an inspiration mainly for the pop culture references, but also he felt like the first artist to ever be treated like a celebrity. Another artist I’ve always looked up to is Glen Hanson. His use of colour and bold line work is something that’s inspired my whole look.”
“It started with some of the cartoons I’d found attractive as a kid…” says Tom, explaining how he got into creating sexed-up versions of cartoon heroes. “I just started letting my adult side explore that. As I started a collection of them, more and more queer people came out and said how they had had the same crushes. A lot of the cartoons that I reimagine were typically the ‘heartthrob’ for all of the little girls watching the films. I wanted to recreate them for all of the gay guys who grew up secretly liking these heartthrobs.”
“It taps into feelings of nostalgia, for sure. I often get – “oh I forgot about him” – comments, which I like. But most of all, it’s about escapism. When people see my drawings on Instagram or Twitter, they can forget about the outside stuff and just have a giggle – even if it’s just for a moment.”
“I always want to keep my Patreon subscribers entertained, so every now and then I will do a poll asking what they’d like to see next. Hercules comes up a lot, as well as Kristoff from Frozen – thicc himbos with nice big asses seem to be the vibe. But it’s Prince Eric that gets the biggest reaction – it’s always Prince Eric. I think there’s something synonymous with the queer people of my generation and The Little Mermaid, so the male lead from that film always makes waves – pun absolutely intended.”
Heroes in lockdown
One of the highlights – or things that were less bleak – during the Covid-19 lockdown was the series that Tom created – exploring what our cartoon heroes would be doing during the period of enforced isolation.
The After Dark edition
Check out the NSFW versions of Tom Taylor's sexed-up imagination in the After Dark edition.