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UPDATE: THE BALLOT BOX IS NOW CLOSED FOR THE 9th SEASON. THE WINNERS HAVE BEEN CONTACTED. RESULTS WILL BE ANNOUNCED FRIDAY JUNE 16 AT THE HEROES CON 7TH LIVE AWARDS CEREMONY AND IN PRESS ANNOUNCEMENTS FOLLOWING THAT EVENT. THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!
Ballot Voting for the 2016 Inkwell Awards categories is now open at the following link
New Bedford, MA/USA—April 12, 2016) Who’s your favorite inker? The Inkwell Awards, a non-profit organization devoted to the education and promotion of the art of comic book inking, invites all to vote for the industry’s best of the year. The official public ballot will be available on the Inkwells’ homepage from April 15 through April 30.
Voting is open to fans and professionals alike. In addition to “Favorite Inker,” categories include “Most Adaptable,” “PROPS” (inkers deserving more attention), the “S.P.A.M.I.” (Small Press And Mainstream Independent) and “All-In-One” for pencillers who ink their own work.
As a courtesy, also listed on the ballot are the nominees for the Joe Sinnott Hall of Fame (“HoF”), a lifetime achievement honor for an outstanding inking career of 25 or more years in American comics, whose winners are chosen by an internal committee (to avoid a “popularity contest” where recent names have more influence than past masters).
Two years ago the Special Recognition Award (SRA) was introduced and nominees for it also listed on the ballot with voting being done internally. This lifetime achievement honor differs from the HoF award due to one or more factors such as the artist being out of the “public eye,” having limited name-recognition due to semi- or full retirement or death, limited-yet-influential output, social barriers such as gender/race, or other factors that might otherwise limit them from being nominated for a traditional HoF award. The SRA nominees are not listed this year but they will be discussed at the awards ceremony along with the SRA award recipients.
“We’re as excited as ever for this event, where the best of the best ink artists and their work get the recognition they deserve,” said Bob Almond, founder and director of The Inkwell Awards. “Though inkers have their fans and followers, many often go unnoticed or glossed over by most awards events. Ours caters specifically to ink artists and allows them to be recognized and appreciated in various categories. The more voters, the better.”
Once voting ends after April 30, the winners will be announced at the live awards ceremony at Heroes Con in Charlotte, NC on Friday, June 16th.
The Inkwell Awards is an official 501(c)3 non-profit organization whose mission is to educate and promote the art form of comic-book inking, as well as annually recognize and award the best ink artists and their work. Now in its ninth year, the organization is overseen by a committee of industry professionals and assisted by various professional ambassadors and numerous contributors. They sponsor the Dave Simons Inkwell Memorial Scholarship Fund for the Kubert School and host the Joe Sinnott Hall of Fame Award.
(New Bedford, MA/USA—March 31, 2017) The non-profit Inkwell Awards, devoted to promoting the art of comic book inking, is offering the artwork for their seventh annual Joe Sinnott Inking Challenge, beginning in April. They have an additional “spin-off” Challenge program, The Sinnott Inking Challenge Spotlight, which this year focuses on the pencil art of legendary creator/artist/writer/publisher Neal Adams. That art will also be on the auction block in April.
“The original Sinnott Challenge has been such an ongoing success, we decided to expand the program last year, with even better results,” said Bob Almond, founder and director of The Inkwell Awards (AKA “The Inkwells”). “We added something new to showcase other contemporary, fan-favorite talents, only on a smaller scale with more established artists who may not have participated in the original program. Last year we proudly featured the amazing pencils of DC co-publisher Jim Lee and this year we’re thrilled to have the great Neal Adams.”
The original Inking Challenge program educates the public about inking by having industry legend and Inkwell Special Ambassador Joe Sinnott do a tight pencil of a character plus a “breakdown”, or rough sketch. This year, the characters are Marvel’s recent film success Dr. Strange and DC’s soon-to-be blockbuster-film-star Wonder Woman. Sinnott’s art is scanned and the file sent in blue-line form to various inkers around the globe to finish and/or embellish in ink. This year, as an additional Challenge wrinkle, both drawings were looser.
Ink artists contributing their skills this year include Neil Vokes, Rusty Gilligan, Alex Garcia, Michael Munshaw, Mark McKenna, J.L. Straw, Johnny B. Gerardy, Mark Stegbauer, Vaughn Noel, Ken Branch, J. David Spurlock, Keith Williams and dozens of others, including members of the Sinnott family. All submitted art may be viewed at The Inkwells’ ComicArtFans gallery. All pieces for this challenge are personally signed by Mr. Sinnott and include a certificate of authenticity.
The Challenge Spotlight program was launched last year by former committee member Erick Korpi with full authorization from Lee and DC Comics. This year’s spotlight on Neal Adams was handled by Inkwells supporter Joseph Goulart and finalized by Almond. Like Lee, Adams chose the specific page but for an extra challenge he chose a sequential sequence instead of a splash or pin-up. All pages will be signed by the inkers and Neal Adams. All will include a COA as well. Submitted pages at press time include those by Jose Marzan Jr., Branch, Kevin Conrad, Richard Bonk, Williams, Sal Velluto, Gerardy, Rodney Ramos, Gerry Acerno, Arne Starr, Mike Barreiro and several students from the Kubert School. Almond added, “Much kind thanks to Neal, Joe and all involved for their cooperation, support of our program, and appreciation of ink artists.”
Auctions for the Adams Challenge art will begin April 1 at the Inkwells’ eBay store and every other week thereafter with the Joe Sinnott Challenge art being offered and possible some late page additions included for the Adams event. The Sinnott art will eventually be collected into book form. Previous book collections in various editions, along with other merchandise, are available for donations to the organization through their Web Store.
Bernie Wrightson, one of the industry’s most respected and celebrated fantasy, horror, comic-book artists/creators/painters/inkers, has passed away at age 68 after a long illness. One of the four members of “The Studio” (along with Jeffrey Jones, Michael Kaluta and Barry Windsor Smith), Wrightson was one of the select few from the “Frazetta School” of inking whose mastery equalled the original influence, and who in turn influenced new generations to come.
Beginning his professional career at DC Comics in 1968, Wrightson worked for many publishers but is best known for his work on and co-creation of the Swamp Thing for DC, his seminal b/w work for Warren Publishing, and his Franklin Booth-inspired, pen-illustrated adaptation of Mary Shelley’s FRANKENSTEIN published by Marvel. For the last 20 years, Wrightson became equally well-respected as a creator designer/concept artist for Hollywood films. He was the first recipient of The Inkwell Awards’ Special Recognition Award (SRA) in 2015.
“Bernie was one of the best examples of new talent coming into the field. I think he carried the EC tradition on.”
—Joe Orlando (Former EC artist and DC editor on SWAMP THING”)
“…He had the best inkline in the business. His work has an amazing grace to it.”
—Len Wein (Writer and co-creator of Swamp Thing)
“There’s never been, to my knowledge, a brush man that could hold a candle to what Bernie’s laid down…”
—Michael W. Kaluta (Artist and Studio-mate)
“Bernie was so well-rounded. He can draw anything…Bernie really was the standard in horror…[he] transcends comic books.”
—Kelley Jones (Artist heavily influenced by Wrightson)
We at the Inkwell Awards offer our sincerest condolences to Bernie’s family and friends.
I heard about Dave’s passing on Facebook today and found brief coverage at The Beat. I typed up a few comments on my timeline, copied below, but I hope there will be more coverage elsewhere. You can read more at his Wikipedia page.
“Rest in peace to ink artist Dave Hunt (1942-2017) He was an ink assistant for Giacoia, Esposito and especially Joe Sinnott for many years before graduating to solo inking jobs in the bronze-age. I only met him 1-2 times at the now-defunct Ramapo NY High School comic cons in the ’90s. We talked briefly and he was a decent guy who I sadly didn’t get an autograph from. But his work over John Byrne and others on Marvel Team-Up and miscellaneous projects left a good impression on me and others.”
A wonderful article from Dan Panosian’sFacebook wall yesterday Friday January 13 on the various essential aspects of inking. He’s a master of the art form and, as a contributor since the Inkwell Awards launched in 2008, has even graciously designed our Inkwell Awards logo! We print the article here with Dan’s permission. Bob
There’s been a lot of discussion about inking lately among professionals. The vast majority of my early career was spent inking. Lots of inking. Inking, for those that aren’t familiar with the term is the black line work aspect of the art before it’s colored. Sometimes Inkers are called Tracers. It makes sense, in many cases the pencils they’re inking are so finished looking that they may not really require inking. But in some cases, an Inker is adding finesse to the drawing. Fixing little mistakes or adding texture. The role of the Inker varies from project to project. And like all professions, some are better at it than others. But there are some fundamentals that are essential to comic book inking.
Inking and line art drawing is basically using lines and in some cases, tones, to replicate Light and Shadow for 2D purposes. Understanding that alone is the perhaps the most important aspect of both drawing and especially inking. Using lines to visually inform the viewer of how light is affecting an object. Or, how it isn’t – in the case of shadows. Simple, right? You would be surprised how often that sort of thinking is abandoned, particularly in the comic book art-form. Even with professionals.
At times, artists forget that very important concept for the sake of artistic expression and call it Style. Style is key in the art world. It separates one talent from another. A well crafted style of drawing or inking becomes, in a sense, much like a signature. It’s what separates us and makes our artistic expression unique. It’s why you like one artist and not another. A style either appeals to you or it doesn’t. Regardless of whether or not a style appeals to you – it’s key that the style adheres to the same rules of nature and what we relate to everyday when we open our eyes. The Principles of Light and Shadow.
So a style can be fancy or it can be bare. It can flourish and it can even occasionally break rules. But unless, you’ve first mastered drawing, like say – Picasso, breaking the rules for the sake of style is a big mistake. It’s not “telling the story” with ink. Drawings are the tools of visual storytellers. If your drawings convey your story – you’re a successful storyteller no matter what the style. But if your style interferes with the story flow- you’re failing. An illustrator can be extremely detailed or extremely bare-bones in their approach but the objective should always be story. That goes for inking as well. If the inking is off, that can affect the reader’s attention. Their eyes try to correct or make sense of what they’re seeing. That is a determent to story and unless it’s intentional -should be avoided.
To demonstrate the most simple and most powerful aspects of inking I’ve used this beautiful Winnie the Pooh coloring book illustration as an example. Years ago, Dick Giordano gave me the most important inking advice of my career. He said to always imagine a light bulb at some point/place in the drawing. If the light shines from the top of the page that means every object with a top and bottom line [ like a cylinder ] is affected. The top line is light and naturally the bottom line is heavier. Suddenly, the object [ cylinder ] has the illusion of real solidity and weight. If both lines are the same line weight, it’s harder to demonstrate weight. It’s a simple concept.
Of course there are examples of single line weight illustration. But if an inker is employing varying line weights and the Principle of Light and Shadow is messed with – things can be confusing. It won’t make as much visual sense. If an inker just likes using a bouncing line weight because it looks pretty – it will lack sophistication. Comic books and sophistication? It’s possible!
So in the example below – note that even the tops and bottoms of feathers employ the same well executed line weights. But let’s remember it’s for a coloring book. There’s nothing wrong with that. But for a comic book, that sort of flourish misinforms the viewer. Style overrides substance. Style is important but it should never distract from story.
Another quick note. Many inkers freeze up on faces. Suddenly they pay more attention and forget that the bottom of a nose has weight – not quite as much as a chin – but it extends outward and creates a shadow. And thus- a heavier line is required to properly illustrate that. The same with the eyebrows. They extend over the the eyes. Our eye lashes have a natural “black” line to them. So the top of the eye should be pronounced. It will make the eyes pop more. Just like they do on our faces in real life. Hair has shadows too. It clumps, it waves. The top of the hair should be light and the bottom should be heavier – just like other objects.
For that matter, notice the trim lines on the “egg” or whatever that object is that the owl is carrying. Some lines are simply there to illustrate a change in color. Similar to the lines encircling Owl’s eyes. They don’t have weight. The should simply denote a change in color – not depth.
Anyway, stuff to think about.
WHAT IS IT?
The Inkwell Awards invites you to the seventh annual Joe Sinnott Inking Challenge. Our Hall of Fame Award is named after Joe and, with his approval and support, we have taken a couple of his pencil donations intended for our fundraising, originally rendered on blank variant cover comics, and blown them up and converted them to bluelines for inking. We have chosen ink artists who are A) part of our organization, B) Inkwell award recipients, or C) notable for their career inkwork ranging from the veteran embellishers of the silver-age through to the respected delineators of today, but any inker can take part, including novices. Since last year some of you who missed previous Challenges asked me to be added to the list and you are included here. For fundraising and educational purposes, we’d like to know if you would be willing to voluntarily participate in inking one or both of these pieces. We will take the final images and post them on our Comic Art Fans gallery in comparison to Joe’s initial pencil art in order to showcase to the public the contributions of various ink artists and what they bring to the table. Secondly, these pieces would be auctioned off to raise funds for our vital operational needs and philanthropic programs like the Dave Simons Inkwell Memorial Scholarship Fund to the students of the Joe Kubert School and our COMPliments Program which allows HoF inkers who are singled out from receiving collections of their work from publishers to receive them through us and not have to purchase them, as well as trophies, flying in award recipients to the annual ceremony, etc. Last year’s successful program (not counting the Jim Lee spin-off) brought in over $3000 on our eBay auctions and this year we anticipate an even better outcome. You can see previous samples of donations from our first five years at our Comic Art Fans gallery (top left labeled links).
All proceeds raised go 100% strictly to the non-profit and the only members paid for their services are legal, accounting and the spokesmodel as a productivity incentive. WHAT TO DO?
If you are interested in contributing please email BOTH myself <firstname.lastname@example.org> and senior contributor Tom Schloendorn <email@example.com to confirm that you have the tools/capabilities to print up a hi-res blueline file on 11X17 2-ply Strathmore vellum board to ship back to me and we will promptly email you the hi-res file of either one or both images– please specify what you want…files will be emailed out within 24 hours of requests in most cases (THE SAMPLES HERE ARE LO-RES SIMPLY FOR REFERENCE)…or if you don’t and are an established, published professional and you’d like us to ship either or both pages of bluelined boards to you, please forward your shipping address to us in your reply. If you cannot participate, no need to reply, we totally understand about your busy schedules and lives making it a challenge (plus, if we do this again, we’d probably touch base with you again). But should you know of another notable inker willing to participate please pass on their email address so we can invite them….however, we have the right to not include a request and please be aware that no work is guaranteed to be included in our subsequent book collection. But to be eligible for the book you MUST send us a 300dpi hi-res scan at full size upon completion and before shipping. We will be following-up with friendly reminders prior to the deadline. The deadline is Saturday, March 25, 2016 (11 weeks). THE ART MUST BE SHIPPED AND RECEIVED BY Mark Sinnott at:
44 Spaulding Lane
Saugerties, NY 12477
***Joe Sinnott will sign every page. If you leave his blueline signature blank then he will sign it there (but it won’t be in the scan if used in the book). If you ink in his sig, he will sign the page outside the borders or wherever there is a good spot. Mark will subsequently ship them to me to make out item descriptions. Auctions will run subsequent to that in 2-4 waves in April. (The less-inclusive Neal Adams Spotlight Challenge art will run in March.)
SPECIFIC INKING NOTES: You can ink it ‘as is’ or reinterpret it, bringing something extra to the table….this year we will have a Dr. Strange and a Wonder Woman, both somewhat loose, with no real tightly-pencilled option due to Joe’s tight schedule (very often what happens in an assignment). You are encouraged to ink the logos to motivate more auction bids but you don’t have to.
Please LMK if you have any questions.
* reply to myself and Tom if interested and request the hi-res blue line file(s) to be emailed or (to vets) the blueline print up(s) to be mailed with your shipping address.
* ship the art back upon completion to the Mark Sinnott address above. After that you can post it online publicly as long as you plug that it’s for the 7th JOE SINNOTT INKING CHALLENGE for the INKWELL AWARDS (http://www.inkwellawards.com) to promote and educate about the art form of inking and to raise funds for their non-profit organization and their annual Dave Simons Inkwell Memorial Scholarship Fund to the Kubert School.
* we will be happy to mail you tax-exempt receipts upon request for your contribution.
* we will contact you later if we plan to include you in the book collection for the previous year’s contributions and get your bio/photo/comment information.
Thanks much for your time, effort, and support, especially those who have been involved in this program for several years (you know who you folks are;-)).
Finally! 5 years in the making, Bob Almond’s personal pet project is a physical reality! Unlike the Inking Challenge books which target both education on inking and act as a fundraiser, this ‘Good Girl Art’ Gallery book is strictly for fundraising. At 116 pages, this full color book with cover art by Bill Sienkiewicz and Mike Okamoto examines the creation and history of the non-profit Inkwell Awards’ sexy spokesmodel since her debut in 2010. It reproduces past covers, collects Ms. Inkwell artist donations, and in the gallery we present 32 b&w and color interpretations of the lovely India Wells along with prelims, pencils before inks, alternate versions, and comments from several of the contributors. Plus the live spokesmodel photo rollcall of ladies in black and their show stats. All editions will be signed by co-creator Bob Almond and present spokesmodel Hailey Skaza-Gagne. This will be added to the Inkwell store but for now you can email Bob at firstname.lastname@example.org and pay $20 plus $5 for domestic s&h (international buyers can ask about s&h). 25 copies are on hand with more coming early in 2017! While supplies last! See preview pages below:
Mark your planners! This is the verified and official list of conventions and events we’ll be attending. I’ll be traveling with/setting up for the non-profit along with spokesmodel Ms. Inkwell Hailey Skaza-Gagne at each stop unless it says otherwise. This is going to be a much busier than usual year for us but besides our regular con supporters some new supportive shows are bringing us out to new locations and that certainly helps with exposure. FCBD is pending for me.