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.
TODAY is the 2nd non-profit Inkwell Awards BLACK (ink) FRIDAY! All items listed in our website’s Store is 50% off the listed prices this weekend (as long as funds are received by midnight Sunday the 27th EST) plus s&h. Books! DVDs! Prints! and more, while supplies last! (T-shirts are a flat $5 each but please email us to ask about the remaining designs, colors and sizes as they aren’t presently listed in the store.) You can follow the instructions when you add items to the cart like about using a special code to activate the discount. If there are any problems while shopping please simply email Bob at email@example.com
As the mission statement on the banner masthead above says “To Promote and Educate About the Art of Comic Book Inking”. It’s basically what we do and have done now for going on nine years.
We at the Inkwell Awards never shine a poor, public light on any publishers regarding a lack of inker credits and recognition, preferring to keep it all positive and speak in generalities. I and some organization members also work for Marvel & DC and one has to be sure to not go over the line when it comes to a professional, freelance relationship and promoting one’s non-profit mission on the promotion of inking. But having said all that, I also believe that a publisher should be given kudos when doing a job well-done, from our perspective at least. This article will be somewhat of a high wire act;-)
Between 2000 and 2007 I had some areas of concern about changes regarding inking/inkers from publishers that had to do with inker credits being removed from solicitations, removed from trade or HC collection covers, and not being included under swatches of sample art in handbooks, magazines, special projects, etc. (There are other areas like the Eisner Awards suddenly removing their voting category for Best Inker after several years of activity, editors skipping the production step of inking in comic books by using Photoshop manipulation of the pencils with cleaning & darkening, and other stuff, all not really applicable to this article.)
From everything I’d been aware of DC Comics had/has kept all traditional credits for inkers in place. Thanks to former committee member Erick Korpi, who had been attending the monthly DC meetings in Manhattan as a guest: he opened up a dialogue with us and the likes of executives Jim Lee, Dan Didio and Mark Chiarello and prompted us to send them Inkwell gift bags (brochure, Joe Sinnott Challenge book, t-shirt) for the next gathering. From there it lead to Jim (and his able assistant Eddy Choi) authorizing and approving our efforts in organizing the spinoff event from the Joe Sinnott Inking Challenge with the JSIC Spotlight on Jim Lee, our first artist for this program. Besides the program being a huge hit in the realm of education about what inkers do, by selling the various original art blueline pages in our auctions, all signed by Jim and the ink artist, they helped us raise just shy of $6000. No small feat of support! I hold nothing but praise for the team at DC.
I have done most of my career work at Marvel Comics going on 25 years (and have been a fan/reader since 1976) so I had been very much on top of what the House of Ideas was producing. I’d like to salute the team in the collections/special projects department for making a bold effort to bring inker credits back to where they had been before the millennium. I had reached out and tried opening up a dialogue with Marvel and I found what I felt was the right time in the summer 2015. I even offered the department senior editor Jeff Youngquist our services in any way. It took Jeff a while to reply but considering that many emails sent to editors sink into a black hole or limbo, never to be responded to, he replied three months later with an apology and an honest “no promises” statement. He’d keep it “in mind” and “look into it”. It was noncommittal but realistic; I’d cross my fingers but not hold my breath.
Later, while working with the collections office for two columns of the Black Panther by Christopher Priest: The Complete Collection (sharing art/design extras, reformatting an afterword, etc.) I again offered our services to Mark Beazley and Jeph York and Jeph and I had some subsequent back-n-forths regarding identifying who inked what. I even organized an Inkwell “Credits Council” of comic book original art experts for those questions I couldn’t answer and/or to validate my answers.
Recently I finally picked up an item my retailer at Rubber Chicken Comics had been holding for me, The Captain America 75th Anniversary Magazine. Now I don’t pick up every Marvel magazine or handbook or special project (but I do get a lot of Marvel Masterworks editions and several trade collections) so I’m not quite omniscient about all their output. But this magazine impressed me. Ten or more years ago, a project like this would have been very different and not in a way the Inkwells would appreciate. This had inker credits almost everywhere! If that product was representative of what these departments have been producing then we commend them for giving recognition credit where it was due and, at the same time, showing honor and respect towards the art form of inking and it’s artists. Jeff, Mark and Jeph have shown nothing but professionalism and integrity in their words and actions and we’re completely thrilled at La Casa Inkwell. I will be certain to promote them at my annual live awards ceremony at the end of the season in June that I mc at Heroes Con, much like I did about DC at the last ceremony.
I see promise with both companies and their respective teams. May they continue to carry the torch high!
Now if only the Eisners will take us up on our repeated offers to help THEM!
To celebrate the release of the long-awaited MS. INKWELL GALLERY book this fall (co-produced by Harvey Awards nominated Red Stylo Media), the Inkwell Awards decided to release it’s first interview with Holly Black AKA Hailey Skaza-Gagne, their present, fan-favorite spokesmodel Ms. Inkwell. After a brief period of artists mistaking her for her predecessor Anna White, she has carved a path and left an impression all her own. The organization has had a proud history and roster of ladies take on this role but what is it about Hailey that has made her the most prolific and fundraising successful version to date while most of the others only appeared once or twice? Hailey took a few moments to sit down and talk to us recently so you can find out more about her right here:
IA: Where are you from and what is your background with comics/conventions and cosplay?
HAILEY: I’m from New Bedford, MA, just like Bob! I am not a comic buff but I was introduced to a lot of pop culture growing up and I know a few things here and there that have always interested me, especially Marvel Comics and Marvel Studios’ films. I’ve only been attending conventions for the past 2 years or so and I’ve only cosplayed for about a year but it was loads of fun and I plan to do it in the future when I get a chance.
IA: How did you hear of the Inkwell Awards and how did you become the Ms. Inkwell spokesmodel?
HAILEY: I heard of the Inkwell Awards after I became good friends with director Bob Almond through a mutual friend <Inkwell volunteer Darnel Staley>. After I expressed my interest in the comic convention world and my knowledge of geek pop culture he offered me a volunteer position which I was more than happy to take and over time I assumed the role of India Wells AKA Ms.Inkwell which I absolutely adore.
IA: Is your name Holly Black or Hailey Skaza-Gagne? You’ve been publicly listed and called both.
HAILEY: It’s Hailey:) At first I decided to take on persona of ‘Holly Black’ (which BTW was intended to contrast the previous spokesmodel alias of ‘Anna White’) because I felt like using that
alias would make it easier for me to separate my convention life and my real life but, in reality, I’d just rather be called Hailey. Trying to run two, separate Facebook accounts and trying to
keep up the whole Holly thing turned out to be more difficult than I expected so from here on out I’d rather be known now and forever as Hailey Skaza-Gagne, or just Hailey because its way
easier than trying to remember and pronounce my two last names:)
IA: What do you think of the character that you portray? Do you feel that you bring anything extra to reinforce her persona or add to her image?
HAILEY: I really love the character I portray! When I’m working as the spokesmodel I feel like me being my happy, bubbly self is the little, extra kick that I bring to the table and the character. My fangirl enthusiasm is authentic and I’m always thrilled to be at a show, whether a return visit or a new venue. It honestly never gets old.
IA: What do you like best about representing the Inkwell non-profit organization?
HAILEY: In itself, the fact that I am an essential part with raising funds for the non-profit is the best! Besides that I get to meet various artists who donate to us that are a lot of fun to chat with and know. Not just the creators, but also the fellow, volunteer Inkwell members! I’ve made many friends who I’m excited to revisit at various shows.
IA: What shows have you attended with the organization? Do you have a favorite venue and why?
HAILEY: Not counting the ones I attended as a cosplay volunteer who assisted the former Ms. Inkwell Anna White, I’ve attended 9 shows, 1 ceremony and 10 convention appearances to date- from 2015 Heroes Con, Connecticut ComiCONN, Hartford Comic Con, Albany Comic Con, and Rhode Island Comic Con, and for 2016, the Kubert School awards ceremony, Albany Comic Con, Heroes Con, and recently Twin Tiers Comic Con and the Terrificon at the Mohegan Sun <formerly CT ComiCONN>, but my all time favorite location has to be Heroes Con in Charlotte, NC. It’s where I first made my debut as Ms. Inkwell and there’s always something exciting going on there wherever you look. And its also the biggest show of the year that we attend!
UPDATE, JULY 12: While we waited for the ceremony video to be uploaded and prepared, I posted the full, original transcript on June 23 below. Tech-God Rhys Evans was able to set up the video above today and upon viewing you’ll see that I clearly had to improvise and cut out most of my prepared speech to make time for all of our guest speakers and award recipients who made statements. Now we have the best of both worlds. (Video taken by James McGee) Bob
Welcome to the Inkwell Awards 9th annual, and 6th live, awards ceremony! To all the new attendees, a sincere thanks for your support for the recognition of and promotion for the art form of comic book inking, and for returning attendees and members, much gratitude for your ongoing solidarity. This year we have a special treat and privilege to share with you. We are tossing the script and usual structure of the ceremony for a more than worthy reason as we will be starting off with a milestone, special appearance and presentation by Jim Steranko. But before I officially present him, I want to make a request and a note: please refrain from using any flashbulb photography while Jim is on stage. And second, Jim will be discussing a variety of things related to inking and among those things will be mentioning of a couple of notable ink artists who happen to be the latest lifetime achievement award recipients. They will be further mentioned later when I present all of the 2016 award winners. So now that we have that all covered, I am truly honored at this time to call to the podium, illustrator, publisher, author, musician, escape artist and Eisner Hall of Fame comics creator, Jim Steranko!”
Before proceeding I want to give a Heroes’ thank you to Shelton Drum who reached out and welcomed us six years ago for this convention to be our host show. I also want to pass the love on to Andrew Mansell, Rico Renzi, Trey Alexander, Karla Marsh and the entire Heroes Con staff. Unlike some, Shelton and company are not dismissive of ink artists. They are true supporters, friends and fans of inkers and it’s thanks to them that we get our own day to be heard and recognized.
(New Bedford, MA/USA—June 20, 2016) The Inkwell Awards has released the names of the winners of its ninth annual awards for excellence in the art form of comic book inking. As before, nominees were chosen by a separate and independent nomination committee. Voting via live ballot at the non-profit advocacy’s website ran from April 15-30. One winner was chosen in each of five categories based on American-based interior comic-book work cover-dated 2015.
Separately, the Inkwells selected internally the two recipients of the annual Joe Sinnott Hall of Fame Award and the Special Recognition Award (SRA) category. Winners were contacted and some invited guests were present to receive their trophies at North Carolina’s Heroes Con, the host show for the Inkwells, for the sixth live ceremony on Friday, June 17. Winners and nominees are listed below, along with the percentage of vote received, where applicable. Continue reading POST-SHOW: THE 2016 INKWELL AWARDS AWARD RECIPIENTS ANNOUNCED!
(New Bedford, MA/USA—June 9, 2016) Results from the 9th annual Inkwell Awards will be presented at the inking advocacy group’s 6th live awards ceremony this June 17-19 at Heroes Con in Charlotte, NC. Eisner Hall of Fame award-winning creator Jim Steranko will be making a special appearance at the event.
“Graphic artist, comic book writer/artist, historian, magician, editor, publisher and film production illustrator….Jim is a modern Renaissance Man, globally recognized and respected in the sequential art medium for his epics and innovations in the field” said Bob Almond, the non-profit organization’s founder and director. “Having a legendary icon like him speaking on behalf of ink artists and the art form of inking is an immense honor.”
The Inkwells have five categories: Favorite Inker, the “Props” award for under-recognized professionals, the S.P.A.M.I., for Small Press And Mainstream-Independent work, Most-Adaptable Inker and the “All-in-One” for the artist who inks his/her own pencil art. Thousands of voters visited and voted from April 15-30 at the group’s website to show their support.
The awards ceremony is scheduled for Friday (not Saturday as in the past), June 17, 5:00 PM at the Charlotte Convention Center in room 209-210. In addition to Steranko, other speakers include host and presenter Almond, hostess Holly Black as spokesmodel Ms. Inkwell, legendary creator Mike Grell and award-winning author (and Inkwell special ambassador), J. David Spurlock. Announced with the award-winners will be the two recipients of the annual Joe Sinnott Hall of Fame Award and the second recipient of the Special Recognition Award.
Gifs have really taken off on Facebook lately. And after we launched our Joe Sinnott Inking Challenge spin-off program The Sinnott Inking Challenge Spotlight (the first one being on JIM LEE), I was impressed to see that FB friend and artist Patrick Blaine had cobbled together the Superman images by starting with Jim’s pencils and flashing like a dozen inked versions in succession for the viewer to visualize what each inker brought to the table. This gif, posted 4/13, went viral and was shared 1037 times (to date) for the first, incomplete version and 854 times (to date) for the updated version posted the next day! I contacted thanked Patrick for creating this brilliant tool for bringing exposure to our eBay auctions and for capturing and displaying within seconds to anyone not in the know exactly what the unique contribution of ink artists is. As an anonymous FB observer posted on Facebook on April 15:
“Very cool. I’ve always understood how penciling, coloring and even lettering styles can differ from person to person. Never could quite wrap my head around inking though. This shows the same pencilling inked by different inkers. I think I finally get it.”
UPDATE: THE BALLOT BOX IS NOW CLOSED FOR THE 8th SEASON. THE WINNERS WILL BE CONTACTED THIS WEEKEND. RESULTS WILL BE ANNOUNCED FRIDAY JUNE 7 AT THE HEROES CON 6TH 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