Beautiful Picture: Mad Men Looks for an Original Ad Guy

Nice piece in the NYTimes about Brian Sanders, a 75-year-old commercial illustrator, whom the producers of Mad Men (a design mad show) turned to for an authentic 60s and 70s poster. Good choice, as he’s somebody who did them in the 60s and 70s and, although he doesn’t work in that style today, had no problem picking it up again.

From the article:

“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.
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“It’s a style we refer to over here in England as bubble and streak,” he said in a telephone interview from his home in Essex [England]. “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.”

There’s a blog with examples of Sander’s work. Also a flickr stream. Amazing to me how quickly these examples take me back to a certain time and place. I mostly associate the saturated colors and “everything at an angle” style with paperback book covers though, not with ads.

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Ben Shahn illustration

The blog mentions Ben Shahn as an influence on the styles of that era, which is clear. One thing I love about graphic arts of that era is that people weren’t afraid of color, witness those wonderful Brian Wildsmith kids’ books.

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