Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Man Without Pain or Fear or Guilt

You gotta have character portraits if you're doing illustrations. Rand is no exception, but she gives you a really difficult job. Who is John Galt? What does he look like? I haven't done faces in a while, and I've been poring through years and years of files, as well as Google Images, for pix of ruggedly handsome manly movie guys. Rumor was that Rand herself thought Robert Redford could play him. But Redford seems too cowboy-ish for a Midwestern working-class engineer hero. More recently, movie idol Brad Pitt has expressed an interest in the part, and I think with enough makeup and tweaking, he might be able to do it, but he isn't gonna get the chance. I think eventually only computer-generated animation will solve the problem of bringing ATLAS SHRUGGED to the big screen.

Given that, here's my sketchy rendition of J. Galt. Author Rand gives him a page-long introduction, as he gazes into the eyes of Dagny, the female lead, for the first time. "A face that bore no mark of pain or fear or guilt....arrogance, tension, and scorn," but also "serene determination of certainty, and the look of a ruthless innocence which would not seek forgiveness nor grant it." Wow, that's a hard act to work.

My sketch is inadequate to capture this, but it's only a first draft anyway. What would a person with the aforementioned qualities really look like? My drawing is a bit too pretty. And I haven't conveyed just how bad-ass John Galt is. After all, this is a guy who came up with a scheme to take all the competent and intelligent people out of key positions so that civilization would collapse! And not only that, he was able to persuade them to follow him. He's really somewhat like one of those social visionaries like John Brown the abolitionist, essentially a fanatic in a good cause. A cause which will result in many deaths, as Rand details in many scenes of her book. And I have to also mention that Galt is capable of rape, although with a "willing" partner. All this will go into a good illustration, probably in the black and white graphics I am doing.

John Galt is digitally rendered in industrial-strength Photoshop, over a quick ink drawing.

1 comment:

Ulysses31 said...

Actually I think you've done a very good job of this. His is a face that can't be too severe in any way, because of what he represents. It's difficult to visualise him because of his mysterious nature. Whenever I picture him I don't really see a face, just his hair and a face cast mostly in shadow. This is in stark contrast with Francisco who reminds me of Zorro somewhat, and Rearden who to me would look like a real tough guy who just happens to wear suits and shirts. I think the casting choices for the upcoming film are pretty good, although some of them could have been a little older to be more faithful to the book.

Anyway, all your work is very nice. You should get an account on one of the art sites out there.