Mad Men is one of my favorite shows on television. It rings true to my love of the 1960s, Manhattan and ad agencies. The narrative ain’t bad either. The New York Times posted an article a couple of weeks ago regarding Mad Men‘s recent print campaign for its upcoming season featuring the artwork of illustrator Brian Sanders. Show creator Matthew Weiner, “inspired by a childhood memory of lush, painterly illustrations on T.W.A. flight menus” sought out Sanders, now 75 and living in England, for the new promotional material.

“What it did was take me right back, about 50 years,” said Mr. Sanders, who added that he was familiar enough with Mad Men to be in a bit of disbelief when the show came calling for his drawing board and brushes. The impressionistic image he created uses a scumbled acrylic technique that in its jazzy, textured effects instantly conjures 1960s illustration.”

“The show is telling the history of advertising, and part of that story is about photography completely eclipsing illustration,” Mr. Weiner said.

Brian Sanders, working on Mad Men illustrations

Original Brian Sanders’ piece from a 10-piece series in Women’s Mirror in 1964 referenced by Matthew Weiner

Below are a few of my favorites of Sanders’ work. Each links to a website curated by Bryn Havord, who originally commissioned Sanders’ pieces in Women’s Mirror.

Woman’s Realm, 1970
Brian Sanders "Woman's Realm" 1970

The Frog & the Water Filter
Brian Sanders - The Frog and the Water Filter

HM Queen’s presentation of new standards to the Royal Tank Regiment, 1985
HM Queen’s presentation of new standards to the Royal Tank Regiment

Sanders is an exceptional artist and sifting through the website of his work is much like walking through a museum, his art so indicative of an earlier time. The precision to which his work is laid out is fascinating and a welcome throwback.

What do you think? Has Mad Men hit the nail on the head with this campaign?


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