Ayn Rand portrait commission

I’ve recently completed a commissioned drawing for the magazine The Objective Standard: A portrait of Ayn Rand, my favorite philosopher and author and a figure I deeply admire. Ayn Rand’s writing has profoundly changed my life and I was honored to take on this commission of rendering a portrait of her.


Some early stages: The Block-in of the drawing:

The main challenge in this project was to render a portrait of someone without a direct reference. I therefore had to study her features from various photos and T.V. interviews and base the drawing off of my understanding of her features as well as general knowledge of anatomy.

Here are some of the studies I did in preparation for the drawing:


Leftmost: A drawing of Ayn Rand’s eye on toned paper using black and white  pastel pencils.
Center: A drawing to establish the mood and character of the piece.
Right: A drawing in graphite studying Ayn Rand’s features.

Another challenge was to get the expression just right.
If I had to describe how I think of Ayn Rand in a concise manner, I would describe her the following way: An intense, uncompromisingly truthful individual with a deep and all-pervasive joy of life.
This is what I was aiming to show in the drawing and I have accomplished it to my satisfaction.

The process of making it has been enjoyable and exhilarating because I was listening to Ayn Rand’s interviews in the background as well as podcasts by her intellectual heir, Leonard Peikoff, which reminded me just how valuable Objectivism is to my life.

On a different note – This Monday, September 17th, 2012 I’m going back to study full time at my school, Georgetown Atelier. The year will start with lots of gesture drawings and constructive anatomy. I feel excited to use my accumulated knowledge to draw and improve my skills to create more integrated drawings. I’m very excited!

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