Hyperrealistic Art You Have to See to Believe

Hyperrealistic Art You Have to See to Believe

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Are These Portraits For Real?

Hyperrealistic art can sometimes make us do a double take. Are we looking at a real picture? Is this truly not a photo? With colored pencil, artist Jesse Lane lends emotional weight to his portraits that allows them to transcend their realistic qualities.


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Lane begins with an idea, tinkering with variations in composition and lighting, and ultimately working from three or four photos.

“The information isn’t always in the reference material,” he says. His work took a leap forward once he began using Photoshop to adjust the lighting and colors and to edit the composition.

Once he has an image that interests him, Lane projects it onto the drawing surface to create a line drawing before he starts to lay in color.

Because the process is so time-consuming, Lane resolves that he is going to make each drawing the best he possibly can. “I ask myself if what I’m drawing is worth the time I’m going to put into it,” he says.

“My drawings capture emotions and stories wrapped into a single instant, a window to our thoughts and our own mystery,” says Lane. “The more I draw the human form, the more complex I’ve found it to be.”

“One challenge with chiaroscuro on white paper is judging values,” he says. “At first the dark areas appear most prominent, but in the finished piece, the light will stand out and the shadows will recede. The black background required willpower.

“I used an extremely light touch because black areas will show stroke marks. A sharp pencil is needed to get into every last valley of the paper’s tooth. A seam would have appeared if I stopped drawing midway in a black area; thus, I drew straight through for 61 hours. It was hard, but simple.”

Jesse Lane was a finalist in our Annual Art Competition. Read more about Jesse Lane, and his hyperrealistic art, in our April 2017 issue of Magazine.

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