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Meet The Man Who Drew Don Draper

May 2017Words by Mr Shane C Kurup

“Sean Connery, DB3” by Mr Brian Sanders. All images courtesy of Mr Brian Sanders

One afternoon in 2011, a veteran artist working at his studio in the English countryside received a mysterious phone call from the US. “I’m calling about some old illustrations I’ve found – could you tell me if you know anything about them?” On receiving them, the artist replied that one of them was his. “Can you still do it?” said the voice at the other end of the line. “I’d like to commission you for some work, although I can’t tell you what it’s for.” This rather covert call turned out to be from Mr Matthew Weiner, creator of the whisky-quaffing, tobacco-fuelled series, Mad Men. “I had to sign a contract which meant I wasn’t allowed to talk about it to anyone before it was published,” says Mr Brian Sanders, who in the 1960s and 1970s, produced the sort of illustrations that Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce would jump through hoops for. “I had been watching the series and almost started smoking again”, he adds.

“I had to sign a contract which meant I wasn’t allowed to talk about it to anyone before it was published,”

Inspired by the artwork on vintage TWA menus of his childhood, Mr Weiner tasked him to create the promotional art for the sixth season of the drama. To create the works, Mr Sanders revisited the “bubble and streak” method – a technique using acrylic paints pioneered by the great American illustrators, such as Messrs Bernie Fuchs and Mark English. The resulting vivid colours and rich textures create an impressionist look that’s distinctly 1960s.