Mad Men Illustrations Showcase The Many Women of Don Draper

The fact that Don Draper is a bit of a womanizing ladies man won't come as a surprise to many loyal Mad Men fans. But who would have thought his romantic (and sometimes depressing) conquests could make a beautiful art collective?

Artist Hannah Choi, that's who. Choi, a New York City-based illustrator and self-proclaimed sour candy lover, created a chronological illustrated collective of every woman Don Draper has slept with from season one up until present. And the results are stunning.

Check out a selection of her gorgeous drawings in the video below, and keep reading to see our interview with Choi and whether or not she believes Don Draper has a specific type:

What inspired this project?
We all know that Don Draper (and friends) were promiscuous, but after the second time re-watching the series the numbers just started to rack up. I figured I should start listing them out. There are several articles about who he slept with, but I was more interested in seeing them laid out visually. I questioned: "Was there a pattern? What did they all look like together? Would I sympathize for them or judge them? And um... did he ever get tested for STDs?"

Do you notice Don gravitating toward certain types of women during each season?
Not particularly. It's hard to tell because the number of women he hooked up with in different seasons varies. But, he was often drawn to intelligent, driven and independent women. Of course, like all of his relationships, they never worked out for one reason or another.

Do you think Don Draper has a type?
In terms of sexual partners? No. But I do believe he wanted more meaningful long term relationships with the women he found smart as well as beautiful. It was almost as if he gained more confidence as Dick Whitman in a Don Draper world around women like that. But no matter how confident, outgoing and smart she was, he'd eventually want to control her. Maybe that was his nature, or he was just behaving as many husbands did during that time period. For example, the best time he had with Betty was when they went to Italy together. They could pretend to be different people, or be the people they used to be when they first met, but all within the confines of his rules.

What role do you think these women fill in his life?
 They never really filled whatever he was looking for. If they did it was temporary. It felt like there was a giant pothole where Dick Whitman used to be, and he was trying to fill it with a cement truck filled with women. If anything, all the women in his sexual past have achieved one thing: making him more confused about himself. The only women on the show who made a significant impact on his life seemed to be the women he never slept with: Peggy, Joan, and most of all, Anne.

Is he at all discriminating in his choices?
He didn't seem to discriminate against anyone, but occasionally respectfully declined offers due to certain circumstances including being happily married, working, going through issues at work, etc. Perhaps the only real time was when he made an abrupt and discerning choice was when he proposed to Megan, ending his relationship with Dr. Faye Miller. I think it's because he could control Megan, and he liked seeing her as a mother (Miller wasn't so great with kids).

How did you research them all?
Netflix binging and Thank God for screenshots. I Googled a few actresses thinking it could help me get their facial expressions right but they look so different out of character that I had to stop doing that. Certain characters were difficult because they had amazing wardrobes. I had to make notes on what each girl wore and decide what best expressed who they were at the time and how it translated as an illustration. Betty is a prime example. I chose that flower dress because she actually wore it in several episodes (picnic with Don and the kids, visiting her dad, etc). I noticed she wore it especially when she wanted to feel nostalgic or really good about herself. Later, as a remarried Betty Francis, she and Don slept together again. Her new husband worked in government and politics so I drew her in a seafoam green Jackie O-eqsue ensemble. I did take some liberties with other women like Candace, the escort. They do show her fully clothed in two different scenes, but she's most famous for being the woman that slaps Don in his face at his request while wearing a red lace bra! Throughout the entire series of Mad Men, she is the only one that dominated him sexually. But they never showed her below the waist during intimate scenes so I just imagined what she could have been wearing. Other girls were a mystery because they only appeared once and weren't even shown from the waist down. I basically had to guess with women like Alice from the Clios and the girl at the bar he met while Megan was shooting a commercial.

What do these women tell us about Don?
It seems like he was looking for someone to fill the role of housewife, mother, best friend, and even secretary - a super woman. In reality, that's impossible and in the Mad Men world that's pretty contradictory and slightly schizophrenic. That's probably why his most meaningful relationships with certain women on the show were platonic (Peggy, Joan, Anne). These were the women who could tell him the truth and have drinks with him, but valued themselves more than the idea of being with Don.

Do you think there's one who got away for Don, or is that really just his mother?
Maybe. If I had to choose a life partner, I'd say the closest would be Rachel Menken or Suzanne Farrell (Sally's teacher) — or perhaps still Megan. But the cheating would probably never have stopped. In terms of a female character in general, the one that got away was definitely not HIS mother, but a mother. Who knows if his prostitute mother would have been nurturing and loved him if she didn't die during childbirth. But he so profoundly needed that presence in his youth. He didn't have a single good memory about his past. That's why Anne was so important to him — besides the fact that she hid his secret and they had an agreement. She was almost like a mother/sister to him. If he had been raised by a good mother, I think he would've been more inclined to be a monogamous partner, and probably wouldn't have pushed away his brother, the only family he had, either.

Want more? Be sure to visit Choi's The Women of Don Draper Tumblr here.

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