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Persistence and Precision: How Colored Pencil Changed Jesse Lane’s Life

Known for his hyperrealistic portraits, Jesse Lane shares how he harnessed the power of colored pencils to overcome a learning disability — and create a successful art career.

Face Reality (colored pencil on bristol board, 22.75″ x 39.75″) by Jesse Lane

| Sponsored | Jesse Lane knows a thing or two about recognizing untapped potential. At 15 years old, while struggling in school with a learning disability, he reached for a set of colored pencils. The often-underestimated medium was an approachable way to channel his creative energy. But he didn’t start drawing with the goal of becoming the professional artist he is now. “I often felt alone and just wanted to find a place in life where I didn’t feel inferior,” Lane says. “I bottled up most of my feelings — until I realized they could be a source of inspiration.”

Fourteen years later, after falling in love with the incredible precision the medium requires, Jesse Lane is quickly becoming one of the world’s leading colored-pencil artists. His dramatic, hyperrealistic portraits — each of which can take 300 to 1,000 hours to create — convey a deep sense of emotionality and drama.

Labyrinth (colored pencil on bristol board, 28.75″ x 22.75″) by Jesse Lane

In the video below, brought to you by Derwent (whose colored-pencil supplies Lane loves), you’ll learn more about the persistence and precision Lane employs to reach such depths with his work. You’ll also hear the mantra he recommends all artists repeat to themselves (it’s a good one).

If you aren’t already familiar with Lane’s artwork, prepare to be awed by the power of colored pencil. This medium’s creative potential is often untapped and underestimated, like a certain young artist’s once was.

Jesse Lane’s Top 10 Colored Pencils

  • Lightfast Brown Ochre
  • Lightfast Mars Black
  • Lightfast Midnight Black
  • Lightfast Violet
  • Lightfast Magenta
  • Lightfast Dark Indigo
  • Lightfast Nightshade
  • Lightfast Blue Violet
  • Coloursoft Pale Brown
  • Chromaflow Burnt Sienna

A Discount, a Giveaway, and more!

Use promo code LIGHTFAST15 to enjoy 15% off on This code is valid until August 15, 2021 at 11:59 pm. Register here for a free sample of Lightfast, Inktense or Chromaflow! And check out Derwent Instagram page at @derwentart_US for a chance to win a free Lightfast 72 set! You can also see more of Jesse Lane’s work at

See also: Persistence and Passion: How Jedidiah Dore Stays in the Flow

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