Q) “Are inkers ‘tracers’?”
A) Not quite. If you have asked this question you probably are the umpteenth person to use the T-word, usually in jest after seeing the Kevin Smith film ‘Chasing Amy’. Inkers are craftsmen/artists who are usually insulted by this comparison as there is more involved, otherwise just anyone would be able to do it (well, anyway). As the sole non-profit advocacy for the art of inking, our website is a comprehensive resource about all things inking. Please check out the Inking Resources section of our site for a LOT of info for the purpose of education.
Q) “Is this the same award as the Inkpot Award?”
A) No. The ‘Inkpot Award’ is different and it is offered to it’s recipients at Comic-Con International: San Diego (or SDCC). When the Inkwell Awards were first being formed in late 2007 Bob Almond came up with the name ‘Inkblot Awards’ to match the name he’d used for his column in Sketch Magazine ’Inkblots’ where it was created. But the name seemed too similar to Inkpot. Plus Inkwell sounded better and it matched the Yahoo mailing list name where the idea was discussed and coincidentally Bob’s personal website name ‘The Bob Almond Inkwell’.
Q) “Can I leave anonymous comments at the site?”
A) Sorry, we do not allow anonymous comments. Posters must include their real name and valid email address to each post. The Inkwell Awards reserve the right to not approve of any messages submitted for whatever reason, part of which may include missing or faux ids and/or emails, spam, negativity or rudeness, profanity or crudeness, etc.
Q) “Are you an official non-profit organization? There are so many non-profit charities out there and I don’t know who’s legit.”
A) Yes. We are filed as an official 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization. This is why we offer tax-exempt receipts for donations given.
Q) “Do you have a multi-tiered membership plan that I can join?
A) No, not yet. While this has been a topic of discussion for about a year, we do not yet have the available resources to coordinate this plan. But it’s definitely something we will incorporate once we can.
Q) “How can I help to financially support the organization?”
A) Supporters can help us raise funds in a few ways. If you’re an artist you can contact Director Bob Almond about sending an art donation. Retailers can do the same if they have collectibles to donate. Such donations can be auctioned off in our ongoing eBay auctions. These items can also be collected at conventions that we attend. Please keep in mind that anything donated should not have material that is too risque or controversial as we reserve the right to not auction such items. And the more recognizable properties usually gets the most bang for the buck on eBay. Always check with us when in doubt. Credit for such donations will take place at our Comic Art Fans gallery where they will be posted and possibly/additionally in our annual donation book. <UPDATE: THIS BOOK ENDED IN 2013> You can also purchase items like books, t-shirts and prints from our site’s Store page or from our booth at shows (we also sometime hold raffles at the booth). Straight cash can also be donated by either clicking the Paypal button on the right sidebar (“Click to donate to the Inkwells”) or given at our booth at any convention that we attend.
We are not set up at this time for credit cards. We can only accept payment via Paypal, checks or money orders (personal checks will require a 7-10 business day clearing period), or by cash at a convention.
Q) “What do the donated funds actually go towards?”
A) The quick but vague answer is ‘operations’. The long but clearer answer is operational matters such as eBay fees, shipping (comps, brochures, etc. to our people, Inking Challenge blueline boards, books to be signed by artists for our website store and at shows, books from printer, etc.), legal filing fees, shipping supplies (envelopes, tape, rubber stamps, labels, etc.), printing supplies (toner and paper/boards for prints, signs, shipping labels, etc.), convention items (display cases, display portfolios, raffle tickets, plastic bags/sleeves, etc.), promotional items (banners, brochures, presentation cards, t-shirts, etc.), educational books (printing costs), occasional software or equipment (ballot software, scanner, printer, etc.), travel expenses (gas, flights for me and award recipients, sometimes fee for space like at Baltimore Con or NYCC, parking, tolls, food & drink, etc.), volunteer expenses (ticket fee, food & drink, parking, etc.), model expenses (some clothing like shirt, skirt, stockings, gas, lodging, food & drink, occasional need for a new size tuxedo gown, dry cleaning of tuxedo gowns after usage upon return, model incentive if applicable to performance, etc.), trophies from trophy shop and engraving, fundraising tools (buying blank cover variants from retailers at wholesale cost, plastic sleeves to protect print and original art, sketchcards printed, etc.), and other programs like the COMPliments Program (wholesale costs for retailers and the Dave Simons Inkwell Memorial Scholarship Fund to Kubert School ($1000). There are probably a few things I’ve forgotten.
Thankfully we have a few sponsors like Danny Best who pays our annual web hosting and domain fees. The Joe Kubert School Art Store covers the comic boards for our Sinnott Challenge. Sometimes we get a sponsor for our books printing costs like previously Harrison’s Comics & Pop Culture and Blaq Books. And many promoters comp us free space such as Heroes Con, Pittsburgh Comicon, Granite State Comic Con, Southcoast Comic Book & Toy Show, Rhode Island Comic-Con, The Comic Book Show, North East Comic Con, and Albany Comic Con).
Q) “What is the COMPliments Program?”
A) Created by Bob in 2008, this program allows ink artists to receive hardcover collections of their work that a publisher doesn’t offer. Some publishers used to send such collected work (known as ‘comps’, as in complimentary or free) to their writers, pencilers and inkers but later changed the policy to exclude the inker. The Inkwell Awards are affiliated with notable and voluntary retailers who generously offer the books at wholesale cost (originally for free) for the Inkwell’s donated funds to pay for and offer for free to the Hall of Hame recipient artists.
Q) “Can I support the organization in other ways?”
A) Absolutely! We’re on several social networks so you can ‘like’, ‘add’ or ‘friend’ us there and ‘share’, ‘retweet’, etc. our announcements. You can ask about volunteering for us at shows, perhaps to cover the booth, help assist the Ms. Inkwell model, help collect donations at shows where we aren’t attending, to be on our rotating Nomination Committee or NomCom, or any other position or need we may have. (We’ve been working on creating an actual Volunteer Network but it has not yet been possible to utilize the system.) Or you can offer to join the organization as a contributor. Please be aware that all services offered would have to be voluntary as we do not pay anyone income for their services, just with credit and swag. You can email Bob to inquire. (And be sure to vote on the live ballot every year in April/May and attend the awards ceremony if you’re attending Heroes Con in June.)
Artists can also participate in annual or one-shot programs like The Joe Sinnott Inking Challenge or the Ms. Inkwell Gallery book by contacting Bob. We can offer you a tax-exempt receipt for all art/merchandise donations (please ask).
Q) “Can I try out as a Ms. Inkwell model?”
A) Yes. An interested female party can email our Ms. Inkwell Live Model Liaison Louis Small, Jr. and forward your info (height, size, hair color, experience (if any), etc.) and photo files to be kept under consideration. Like other volunteer options, this is not a paying gig. There is an incentive reward for exceptional work collecting donations but this is purely up to the prerogative of Louis and Bob Almond in regards to whether it should be offered and how much, if any. The organization will credit models who serve with credit on the site, brochure and other promotional materials and there is the option to stuff our brochures with small promo items like business cards or flyers to promote the model.
Q) “I’m just learning about the organization. What is the normal/annual schedule of events for the Inkwell Awards?”
A) The summer tends to be our ‘off’ season and each new season really kicks off for us operationally in the fall for us (website updates, special book project production, convention hopping, and fundraising through donation collecting and auctioning is active all year round). We recruit our Nomination Committee (NomCom). We start the new Joe Sinnott Inking Challenge by inviting artists to ink bluelines of Joe’s rough or tight pencils. We might invite/accept new ambassadors to the roster. By the winter we’re collecting the ballots of nominees from the NomCom and commence with tallying them and validating them as eligible and the Joe Sinnott Hall of Fame Awards nominees are finalized by the internal HoF NomCom (separate from the regular NomCom). The spring leads to us finalizing the ballot. We annually attend our one of two major convention tour stops at Pittsburgh Comicon in April. Our annual donation book is produced in the spring after collecting scanned files of all new, unpublished original art donations all year round. We send funds for the Dave Simons Inkwell Scholarship Fund to the Joe Kubert School of Cartooning & Graphic Art in the spring and an award recipient is chosen by the school in May. The ballot goes live on the website homepage in April/May and anyone is allowed to vote within a two week timeframe. The final results are tallied, trophies are order, and travel plans are made for the other big, annual convention stop in Charlotte, NC for the Heroes Con. Our annual live ceremony takes place at Heroes Con in June which is when the season ends.
Q) “What is the silver inkwell?”
A) This is a small but special award offered for a limited amount of people for services rendered above and beyond the call of duty. To date they have been awarded to: any core committee member who serves at least one year gets one, Any NomCom participant who serves for five years gets one and Joe Sinnott got a retroactive, unique one in 2012 as Special Ambassador.
Q) “Can I vote in the spring ballot? What are the rules?”
A) Anyone can vote. You can be a professional in the industry (creator, distributor, retailer, editor, publisher, etc.) or simply a fan. You are only allowed one vote as the ballot rejects duplicated IP addresses. The ballot is set up to require a vote in every category. If you need reference for ink artists because you are not familiar with a nominee you can refer to our inker database for assistance. If there are any ink artists on the Inkwell Core Committee or the NomCom they are not eligible for nomination. Hall of Fame winners can only receive one trophy ever.
Q) “I dig the art files, Ms. Inkwell photos/art, logos, etc. found online from your organization/website. Can I use these on my site/ blog/ news article/ gallery, etc. or to make prints to sell or to print in a book, etc?”
A) Yes and no. Any logos or images used for further promotion and exposure for the benefit of the Inkwell Awards is allowed….please include our website link: http://www.inkwellawards.com in such a scenario. But if you would like to use our images from our website or social networks for your own benefit, this is not only not appropriate as it takes possible funds away from us, but it infringes on our copyright and trademark of those properties. The logos, names, design of the character and likeness of Ms. Inkwell, etc. are all filed and owned by the organization. When in doubt please email/write to Bob Almond to ask for permission.
Q) “I offered an idea or asked a question or need information and I have not heard from anyone I contacted. What gives?”
A) We are honestly very limited in regards to manpower and time as, like you, we have regular employment elsewhere, some with pressing deadlines, and the need to make an income to pay our bills and what little extra time we have we try to devote to the organization. But this often means that we may not be able to reply promptly (if at all) to all correspondence. Or your idea might be great but it’s not realistic at this time to utilize it due to the lack of resources. For that we sincerely apologize.