Desprez studied in Paris under the draughtsman and engraver Charles Nicolas Cochin. His early works shows the influence of the etchings of Stefano della Bella and Jacques Callot. Shortly after being awarded the Grand Prix de Rome in 1777, he was commissioned to help with the illustrations to the Abbé de Saint-Non's Voyage Pittoresque, ou description des royaumes de Naples et de Sicile, along with a number of other young French artists, including Claude Louis Châtelet.
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