Monday, December 14, 2009

Website address & new blog design

Hi everyone,
We're excited to announce the official website for Ink Bloom
Right now it's just a homepage, but Chris' brother Dan has some great ideas for the site. We'll let you know once it launches.
Also, as you may have noticed, the blog has a whole new look. Thanks Dan. It looks sweet.
The layout of the book is coming along nicely. Guy at Impact is doing a fantastic job, and the book should be ready to go to the printer at the end of the month. We're really excited on this end.


Saturday, December 5, 2009

Fantasy Art China

Fantasy Art China is doing a big article on Ink Bloom, so if you live in China and are reading this (yeah, right) keep your eyes pealed for it in the near future. It's an awesome magazine.


Hachi's now on Facebook. You can look her up by name (Hachi Hachimitsu) or click on the link to the right. Over there you can see a little larger image of the color cover art.

Oh boy, Facebook (Jim says sarcastically).

And no, even though Hachi kicks butt, she will not join your mafia.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Done Done & Done


I've finished all my pieces for Ink Bloom! Once again, this thing is a monster. Jim and I have completed loads of art for this book. 30 Step-By-Step demos and an additional 30+ pieces of art! All original art from top to bottom makes this the most ambitious project I've worked on.

I can't believe it. Now what am I going to do...???

I guess I'll have to wait.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Finally Done

After many months of work I am finally finished with all of my work for Ink Bloom. The book now has about twice as much art as was originally planned for, and about 50 extra pages. That meant a lot more work, but I think the end result will be all the better for it, especially for the reader. The story is more engrossing and the visuals are going to blow you away. Plus, it will come with a DVD showing Chris painting. All of that for $26.99, what a deal.
We've seen some of the preliminary layout from the graphic designer, Guy Kelly, and they look awesome. We're both really happy with the work he's doing. It's very satisfying to see it all coming together.
Chris is finishing up his last couple of paintings right now, so once he's done we'll give you all another sneak peak of some artwork.
Finally, we had a great news article about the book in the November issue of Imagine FX, and Fantasy Art China is going to do a large article on us with artwork as well. Things are really getting exciting now. I can't wait to see this bad boy in print.



Friday, October 16, 2009

The Voice of the Stone

So you want to write a story, Huh? Have any good ideas?

I have this story about a girl...

Jim and I have been collaborating on Ink Bloom for over a year and a half now. Since the book is almost finished I figure I'd give you some insight as to how we work together to develop the story and characters. I'll be honest, I'm not much of a writer. But what I do have are ideas. Lots of them. They pour out of my head sometimes into my sketch book or are inspired by a phone conversation Jim and I might have had while discussing "what should Hachi do next". We purposely developed a universe is which there are endless possibilities for Hachi to discover and grow as a hero. We started off with very broad topics and narrowed them down to a solid story. Like sculpting in marble, chipping away at the surface until you have found the voice of the stone. The most rewarding part of working the way we do is that there are no bad ideas. Once and awhile one of us will go off on a tangent on a topic that might sound crazy at first and through that craziness we find that gem of an idea. Being creative is a process. It just doesn't happen overnight. Jim and I have approached discussions of Hachi's adventures with total open minds. We don't know what's coming but we are on for the ride. Through this broad scope we then were able to narrow down people, places and things Hachi discovers. Some are very clear and the ones that aren't involve more discussion and direction from each other. The process has been creatively stimulating since our first discussions. Jim was then able to take our pages and pages of notes and character studies and graphs to develop the story and plots and subplots into solid writing. Allot of preparation went into what we now know as Ink Bloom and we couldn't be happier with the end result!


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Edits done

Well, Chris and I have finished all of our revisions to the text. It was quite a tedious process. I'm taking all of my big art for the step by steps to the photographer tomorrow so that I can get some really nice reproductions shot for the book. All of this will get turned over to the layout guy at Impact, who just happens to be named Guy, at the end of next week. I'm very excited to see what he comes up with for the layout. It's nice to see all of it coming together now. Chris and I came up with this idea well over a year ago, and now we're in the home stretch. We're almost done with all of the spot illos, so that means there a just a few big paintings to do that don't have any steps , and the cover.

We got our first big piece of publicity. I had a gallery in this month's Heavy Metal magazine, which had a paragraph on Ink Bloom in it. Also, an upcoming issue of Imagine FX will have a news story about it. Can't wait to see that. I love Imagine FX.

More soon,


Monday, September 14, 2009

Finished writing and the BIG ANNOUNCEMENT

We finally finished the writing, all of it. The steps, the sidebars, the intro, and THE STORY.
"Story?", you ask. "What story?"

That's right. This how-to book will have it's own self contained sci-fi epic. It will be the first how-to ever to come with a story. You will get to follow Hachi Hachimitsu on some wild adventures, and learn how to draw and paint scenes from the story as you go.

Chris and I are very proud of this story, and hope that we will be able to push it into other areas such as comics, young adult books, toys and even animation (if we're lucky).

We'll be revealing more about the story and sneak peaks at some of the art right here, so check back regularly.

You'd check back, wouldn't you Hajime?

"If it will shut you up, then yes."

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Are We Done Yet?

Gigantism runs in my family, I'm afraid. (see Jim's post below)

WOW! What a great couple of weeks for Jim and I. The realization for "Best in Show" at Gen Con 2009 just hit me and am seriously honored...Seriously. No time to celebrate as Ink Bloom is in full on finishing mode. Almost all my painting steps are done and Jim and I had a great session today on our first of two author reviews by phone! This book is looking great and we both are very proud to see all our hard work in the first rough layout.

On another note...My DVD workshop will go live on the web soon and will keep you posted when it's up.

On another-other note...I did a couple of Podcasts at Gen Con. I sound way too serious but was really cool. Thanks to the folks at Ninja Mountain Podcast ( and Wip Podcast ( for taking the time to talk to me at my booth. Thanks again guys!

Back to work!


Goofy Lookin' Dudes

Here's a pic of the dynamic duo behind Ink Bloom. Chris somehow became a giant in this photo.

Thanks to Impact for the photo and write up.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Finally, some art

Here it is, what you've all been waiting for, a sneak peek at some of the art for In Bloom. I'll leave it to your imagination for now what these are all about, but soon we'll be able to tell you in ore detail what the book will be about.

These pieces were shown at the 2009 Gen Con art show, at which my brilliant co-author and artist Chris Seaman won Best in Show for all of the outstanding work he's done this year. I was able to pull off third place for a Star Wars piece I did for Dark Horse, so it was a great weekend for both of us.

By next week we will be done with all of the step art and writing, and boy will we be glad for that. It's been a ton of hard work, with a lot more to come, but we think the quality of the book will be worth all of our efforts.

More sneak previews soon.


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Gen Con 2009

Chris and I will be debuting our first finished Ink Bloom artwork at the Gen Con Art Show this weekend, August 13-16 in Indianapolis. If you're going to be there stop by the art show and check it out.

Once we're back from the show we will be able to talk more freely about the project on the blog, and give some additional sneak peeks here as well.

Hope to see you there,


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Drawing SBS done

Well, Chris and I have finished up all of the drawing steps, and most of the painting. It's been a ton of work, and still a bit more to go, but I'm really happy with the way everything is turning out. Pretty soon we will be able to start telling you more about the book, and showing you some sneak peaks.

I apologize for the lack of posts lately.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Lights, Camera...Be Creative!

Just wanted to post a pic of the video shoot I took part in last week at F&W media! Everyone was great and professional and was very excited to be apart of this new media F&W has to offer young aspiring artists. The shoot was intense and tons o' fun!!!!!! It was great to finally meet the editor of Ink Bloom, Mary, whom edited Wreaking Havoc and Vampire Art! I'll post the URL to the video when it's up so you can make fun of me...

Back to work!


Friday, May 15, 2009

What's Sleep?

Been super busy, sorry for not posting anything earlier! It's been round the clock here. Ink Bloom is in serious productivity mode! We are busting out stuff weekly in hopes of meeting our main deadline. The art work that I've seen from Jim and what I've been working on has really kicked it up a notch! But since the book (as Jim said below) has been expanded by 30 some pages, deadlines have shifted a bit. Jim and I have nailed down a concept for the cover that I think will really bounce off the shelves. I'll be cruising down to Cincinnati (home of F&W Media) for my DVD Workshop shoot next month. It will be sold separately and along with Ink Bloom as a teaser. What a total package deal!

Back to work!


Friday, May 1, 2009

Even bigger

Well, Chris and I just got word that Ink Bloom is now going to be 176 pages long. It's a monster. This thing is going to be packed to the gills with art. I guess I had better get back to work then.


Monday, April 27, 2009

FA 14

Very busy. Little time for blogging.


J.P. Targete


Naoki Urasawa

If you like monsters head over to Creature Spot for some of the best creature art being created today.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

FA 13 and longer book

Well, it seems that Chris and I rock so hard they want to extend our book to 160 pages. That means a lot more art. Along with the DVD that will come with it it's going to be a sweet deal for art fans.

Artists this week

The late Keith Parkinson. One of the coolest guys I've ever met in this business.

and Haccan from Japan.

Who is John Galt?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

FA 12

Just finished my first full page painting of Hachi. Not much more to add there, just thought it was a nice milestone.

Artists this week

This guy is just ridiculous, Jim Murray.

And from the Philippines, one of my favorite comic artists, Leinil Francis Yu.

Reading Pluto by Naoki Urasawa. It's a reimagining of an Astro Boy story by Osamu Tezuka. It's really excellent so far. Kind of feels like an Asimov robot story.

Monday, April 6, 2009

FA 11

Man, I've been doing this for 11 weeks already. Chris and I are busting our butts on the book, and time is really flying by. It snowed here in Chicago yesterday. Snow in April sucks.

Artists this week.



Ittoku, one of the artists I was fortunate enough to meet on my trip to Tokyo. I was humbled to receive an original page from his sketch book, which he was kind enough to personalize to me. When I get the time I think I'll scan it and put it up here for you all to enjoy. He was really a great guy.

You know how some movies get talked about as being the greatest thing ever, and then you watch it again and remember why. I watched Akira again the other night. I probably haven't watched it in ten years. It truly is a mind blowing piece of animation.

Monday, March 30, 2009

FA 10

One of my favorite pieces of fantasy art over the past decade or so is Adrian Smith's Chaos Champion for Games Workshop. It's so evil I'm not sure there are words for it, and if you uttered them your tongue would blister and fall apart like ash.

Also, I really love the designs of Korean artist Maxx.

So, I've been rewatching the Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, along with the great little making of's featuring the cutest little voice actress ever, Aya Hirano. Why is there no season 2. This thing was hugely successful, and it's been three years since it came out.

Monday, March 23, 2009

FA 9

Favorite artists this week.

My favorite representation of Hell is done by Wayne Barlowe. He's also done creature concepts for the Blade and HellBoy movies.

And from South Korea comes a guy who's done a lot of RPG work, Andrew Hou.

Watching Samurai 7 right now. I started to watch it when it first came out, but fell out of it for some reason.

I'm also reading an interesting book on the ins and outs of the anime/manga world called "Schoolgirl Milky Crisis" by Jonathan Clements. I enjoyed reading his articles in NewType USA before it went under. A note to magazine publishers. Stop putting DVD's in your magazines and charging $15 for them. Nobody wants to pay that much for a magazine. Especially when your audience is a bunch of otaku who have already downloaded the content you are putting on the disk before it even hits the stands.


Oh, yeah, as for the book all of the art and writing is done for Chapter 1, and Chris and I are well on our way to being done with Chapter 2. There will be four chapters in all, so things are looking decent for us to hit our deadline.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

FA 8

Oops, I forgot to post my artists for Monday.

One of my favorite creature painters Paul Bonner.

And from Japan, for the obvious reasons, Katsuhiro Otomo.

Until next week,


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Fell off my bike and broke my pencil!

Being an illustrator is sometimes like riding a bike for the first time. At first you don't succeed, try, try again. Basically the first idea isn't always the best idea (though on occasion it is). Every piece of art in Ink Bloom will have a reason it's in the book along with gobs of extra work (Concepts, Thumbnails and Sketches) that you won't see published. Jim and I have been hashing out a lot of the details of the art for IB very closely. We are in constant contact with each other through email and phone conversations weekly if not daily to push each other and explore options we, sitting in our studios alone, might not have otherwise thought of. It has been fantastic and inspirational!

Can't wait for the ramp at the end of the street!


Monday, March 9, 2009

FA 7

So, for some artists this week. Let's go with some classics. The one whose responsible for all of us being here, Frank Frazetta, and what I would describe as his Japanese counterpart, as far as being immensely influential , Yoshitako Amano.

Work's coming along nicely on the book. Chapter 1 is finished. Chris just showed me a bunch of kick ass work he's done for it. We've been pushing each other to make the book as good as possible, which means more work, but the result will be a bigger payoff for the reader.

Thanks also to Marty for kicking my ass thoroughly at Street Fighter IV today.

Been watching Speed Grapher while I'm working. Not too bad, but not great. I've also been watching a show called Mad Men, the reasons for which, besides that it's good, will become apparent once we are able to talk about Ink Bloom more.

Monday, March 2, 2009


I would just like to echo Chris' sentiment. We are both really happy that Impact decided to stick with the Ink Bloom title.

A few other topics today. As I was sitting here writing this entry the closing theme to Cowboy Bebop came up on my iTunes, and it just added to my already good mood. I f you haven't watched the Cowboy Bebop anime TV show do yourself a favor and beg, borrow, or steal to watch it.

Now for this weeks favorite artists.

I have been playing around with some of the speed painting and brush techniques that I learned from David Levy's Gnomon video. It's impressive stuff.

From Japan, Hideaki Takamura is this weeks pick. I had the great fortune of meeting him and fellow Magic artist Ittoku when I was in Tokyo. They were really great guys, and immensly skilled.

On a final note, you will never be as cool as Spike.


It's called Ink Bloom!

Jim and I just got word from our editor for the title of our new book.  It will stay INK BLOOM!!!!!!  yeah!  We really loved the working title we came up with in the early stages of the proposal.  Thanks to everyone at Impact for keeping our idea alive!

Sunday, March 1, 2009


When Chris and I had the initial spark for this idea, I thought it would be a good idea to find a model and shoot a bunch of reference photos so that we could come up with some great character studies for our proposal. I was lucky enough to come across a young woman named Amber. She was exactly what we needed to come up with the sketches seen in the header of this blog. All the best to her as she makes her way into the hallowed halls of higher education.

Monday, February 23, 2009

FA 5 and a little promo

Before I get to my favorite artists this week, I got an e-mail from my friends at Imagine FX magazine, and they wanted me to spread the word that their new issue is out. It's a really cool issue (not just because I'm in it) on the heroic figure, so check it out.

As for artists this week; speaking of heroic figures, the king of the heroic and just plain hot women, Adam Hughes from America.

And a beautiful anime background artist from Japan Oga Kazuo.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

20th Century Boys

I just read a manga that had just about all of the elements that I really value in a good story. It's called 20th Century Boys by Naoki Urasawa. But, of course, now I have to wait for the next collection to come out.

Monday, February 16, 2009

FA 4

Today's favorite artists are,

From the West, comic artist and writer Mike Mignola

and from the East, the super sweet Range Murata



Friday, February 13, 2009

Sword of the Stranger

I watched an anime movie from Studio Bones yesterday called Sword of the Stranger. The backgrounds, especially the long shot landscapes, were some of the most beautiful paintings I have seen in a while. They had a very unique style and palette that really appealed to me. The fight scenes were amazing as well, which is to be expected from the studio that did Cowboy Bebop movie and Darker than Black TV show. It really got me motivated for the background I'm on for an Ink Bloom painting.

Monday, February 9, 2009


Long day of work on the book today, but got a lot accomplished. I finished the first full page of full bleed color art. I wish I could show it to you, but I guess you'll just have to wait a while:)

Anyway, lets talk about some other artists.

From the West, one of my favorites in gaming, Mark Zug,
and from the East, mecha designer extraordinaire Kow Yokoyama. Click the link under the page counter to see more of his work. I came across a book of Mr. Yokoyama's sketches when I was at an anime convention in Tokyo. It really blew me away.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Anime Crazy

Been watching lots of anime lately. The good thing about being an artist is that you can have anime on the TV while you work. Some shows I probably wouldn't take the time out of the day to sit down and watch, I can play while I'm working and at least get the story.

So, lately as I've been painting I've been watching Baki: The Grappler and Basilisk. One show I've been taking the time to watch has been Neon Genesis Evangelion. It's awesome so far. Also I throw in an episode of Comic Party every once in a while to remind me why I do this for a living.



Back Yard Kimono

Hi!  Chris Seaman here:)  Just wanted to talk about a great exhibit here in Canton Ohio that has really got me excited!  It's called Kimono As Art: The Landscapes of Itchiku Kubota.  It opens Sunday the 8th at the Canton Museum of Art and then heads to San Diego California and then back home to Japan.  Only two cities?  And one city is Canton?  Count me in!!   How lucky am I to get inspiration for Ink Bloom in my back yard!  The Kimono's are beautifully and painstakingly silk screened with gorgeous attention to detail.  Amazing!  Can't wait till tomorrow...

Monday, February 2, 2009

FA 2

I'm back again to list some of my favorite artists. I'm going to do it every Monday, and label it FA (for Favorite Artists) followed by a number indicating the installment (like UFC fights). Hence, this is FA 2.

This week my pick for one of my favorite Western artists is an English bloke named Wayne Reynolds. I don't even know what to say about Wayne, he's just awesome, and a machine.

For my Eastern artist this week how about Hyung Tae-Kim. I love his sense of design and exaggeration.

Check 'em out if you don't know them already.

Oh, yeah, I started my first painting for the book today. Very excited.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Going 3D

While working on the book today I used some 3D software for the first time. I used Google's SketchUp to build a room with a window in one wall so that I could see exactly how light would fall across a figure I have sitting on the floor. It was pretty intuitive and fun, and helped out a lot with the lighting, but I don't think I'll be changing careers to 3D modeling any time soon.

You can try it for free at Google SketchUp.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Favorite artists

People often ask what my influences are, so I thought it would be nice to put up a few artists that I admire very much every week. I thought it would also be good to mix it up between western and eastern artists. I will try to provide links to their websites if possible.

This week my western artist is Justin Sweet
And my eastern artist is Japan's Katsuya Terada

Hope you enjoy their work as much as I do,


Saturday, January 24, 2009

Getting in the mindset

I've been reading lots of manga and watching tons of anime (which I do anyway, but now I can pretend like it's work).

Here's some things I've read or watched lately that I thought were quite good.

Solanin by Asano Inio

Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad

Girl in a Box by Sujata Massey

Burma Chronicles , Pyongyang, and Shenzen by Guy DeLisle (not manga, but really good graphic novels)