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Image of the day: Dark Smoke by James Boast

Computer Arts: Tell us about the image ...
James Boast:
This has been an ongoing personal project. I challenged myself to digitally revisit old life-drawing sketches, and it evolved from there. I didn't want to set myself a brief, so I just looked at the simplicity of people in different places.

CA: How did you put the piece together?
I always start with a sketch. Recently, I've been using dip pen and ink as a starting point. I scan those into Illustrator and make those lines into vector shapes, then edit everything in Photoshop, adding textures and gradients. The sketching stage is very quick to keep certain elements loose. Once I've got those down, digitally, the trickiest bit is trying to keep some of that looseness through the vector stage. So there's a lot of working and reworking here. The final stage, in Photoshop, I can add a bit more depth and playfulness back in.

CA: How did you get into illustration?
When I was very young, my dad painted my bedroom into a jungle scene and the bathroom into an ocean scene. I was always trying to draw my own scenes. Going through school, my favourite subjects were art and graphics, so, naturally, I ended up going to art college, then polishing that off with a degree in illustration.

CA: How would you describe you style?
My work is colourful, simple and playful. I'm inspired by old film posters and vintage illustrations. Everyday people inspire me, what people are wearing or how they interact. Films, television, books and music all have some kind of effect. My ideas tend to come from those inspirations, as well as setting myself projects I think will enhance my portfolio.

Check out more from James at

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