'Mad Men' Season 6 Gets an Iconic Don Draper Image Straight from the Source

Meet Brian Sanders, the famed illustrator recruited by creator Matthew Weiner to create what is sure to be a ubiquitous new ad to advertise a show all about advertising.

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Update: Here's the new poster:

Original Post: With the new season of Mad Men less than a month away, it's time for the real advertising blitz, and to advertise a show all about advertising, creator Matthew Weiner turned to an artistic legend with ad roots in the time period the show has tried so faithfully to document. Randy Kennedy of the New York Times reintroduces the world to Brian Sanders, the famed British illustrator who Weiner recruited to create what is sure to be a ubiquitous Don Draper image. Though we don't have a detailed look at the Draper iconography just yet, the Times explains:

The ad, depicting Don Draper, the show’s lead character, in a vertiginous pose on a New York City street corner that seems to be collapsing on him like the decade he is living in, looks as if it has time-traveled from the pages of an old copy of Reader’s Digest.

The image is produced in a style that, according to Sanders, is known in England as "bubble and streak." He told Kennedy: "I don't work in that manner now, and I was surprised how quickly it came back, the ability to use it in that particular way."

Sanders began his career doing editorial and advertising illustrations, but when those commissions became more sparse in the 1970s—Weiner says the show describes how photography dominated illustration over time—Sanders turned to paperback illustrations, calendars, wine labels, and postage stamps. According to Sanders, seeing Mad Men brought him back so much he "almost wanted to reach for a cigarette."

We can get a good sense of Sanders' style from some of his work, available on a blog "The Art of Brian Sanders."

As Kennedy describes, Sanders was recruited by Stanley Kubrick to illustrate images from the set of 2001: A Space Odyssey.

The art of Mad Men is by now such a standard-bearer in its own right that it's actually the subject of litigation. A model whose image appears in the opening titles is suing.

Meanwhile, the show starts up again on April 7, and here's a promo teasing it as the "affair of the year"—read into that what you will:

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.