This is another poster that I designed for fun (the first one was my LOST poster). This time I chose to commemorate another of my favorite shows: Mad Men. If you are not watching this show, you really need to start. The season finale of season three showed exactly how TV shows should be made.
For this poster, I kept a type of running diary. I set up a unique Twitter account to discuss the issues that I encountered while drawing this poster. Originally I named this account @JM_MadMen but I have recently changed the name to @JimMacLeod_Art as it will continue to be my “in progress” Twitter account.I also set up a TweetPhoto account where I could show people the progress of the drawing. It was an interesting exercise to show some of the mistakes that I made and then corrected. There were plenty of times when I would post a picture, but I’d continue to work a smile, or a glance, so people got to see the early drafts of the drawing. Hopefully the final outcome is better than my initial attempts.
For the layout of the poster, I wanted to make sure that Don was big and the first thing that catches your eye. The show is centered on him and the people that revolve around his light and darkness. Almost all of the characters in the poster are looking to Don. Harry is looking in the other direction because he is often on his own page. The second largest character on the poster is Betty because she has become a central part of the show, though this may be changing. The poster is anchored by Sterling and Cooper sitting in Cooper’s office on the couch. While everyone is looking at Don, he isn’t actually looking at anyone, just giving the illusion that he’s involved.
The one thing I wanted to make sure of was that with Twitter and TweetPhoto, I didn’t show too much. I originally worked in black, white and grey tones. Also, I never showed how the characters fit together on the page. I was giving a taste, but I wasn’t showing the whole poster. Once I finished drawing the characters, I stopped updating the pictures on TweetPhoto. I couldn’t show too much without giving away the overall plan.As for the colors, I originally looked at vintage 50′s and 60′s advertising. (I know that Mad Men takes place in the ’60′s, but it’s the early ’60′s and there is still a strong ’50′s influence in the characters and their work. When you think of ’60′s art, it’s usually the later, psychedelic art. None of this is present in Mad Men yet.) I then turned to ’50′s and ’60′s movie posters. This helped me to nail down the color scheme. My original drawing had three tones. 100% black, 90% black and 80% black. These three colors (Navy, burnt orange and light tan) are further apart than my original grey tones, but I like the final result. There were a couple of areas where I changed the tone from mid-range to light (Betty’s face, Roger’s suit, etc.) and I think it works better.
The dot patterns, floral prints, plaids and other elements help to add dimension to a flat, two color drawing.
I was originally drawn to Mad Men because I work in a marketing/advertising agency. While my agency has no resemblance of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce I was drawn to the line “They can’t do what we do, and they hate us for it.” It was a line that Don said to Peggy while he was trying to sum up advertising and motivate her to create better, more meaningful, more effective work.