Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Inkwell Awards: The Sinnott Inking Challenge

Joe Sinnott.  The name immediately evokes to mind many things: legendary inker, community-respected veteran artist, gentleman, fan-favorite and art partner of Jack Kirby.  For the non-profit organization the Inkwell Awards, Joe is their Hall of Fame namesake and recipient, a living representation of what the art form of inking is really about with a decades-spanning career of work to prove it.  

This year The Inkwells wanted to try out a new, additional way of expressing their mission of promoting, educating and recognizing inking and its artists.  Utilizing two of Joe's original penciled images of Namor the Sub-Mariner and Dr. Doom, the organization offered a variety of ink artists in the community a rare opportunity to ink over the pencil art of an inking legend, The 2011 Joe Sinnott Inking Challenge.  Both characters are instantly familiar from Joe's long run on Fantastic Four, where he inked a number of artists, including a career defining run over Jack Kirby, along with Rich Buckler, George Perez and John Byrne. 

The art, previously donated on blank variant cover comics for fundraising, was enlarged and converted to blueline on comic-sized boards before being sent out to the chosen inkers. "Some of the inkers challenged themselves to capture the feel of Joe's clean line work while retaining their own individual style,” Bob Almond, founder & director of the Inkwell Awards, stated.  “Others, especially those inkers known for their finishing work, took the spirit of the drawing and amped it up to the next level, bringing in their own sensibilities and drawing skills.  Neither approach is ‘wrong’ and seeing both methods actually enhances the experience."

By posting the images side-by-side in their ComicArtFans gallery, this will allow the public to compare the pieces and see what each artist brings to the table and educate people about what inking involves.  "This was a concept inspired by promoter Steve Morger's annual Inking Panel which takes place at his 'Super-Con', now the 'Big Wow Comicfest' (,” said Bob Almond, “and he gave me his enthusiastic blessing about using the idea for our needs.

"We hope that this will become an annual event,” continued Almond, “and Joe, in anticipation of upcoming films, will be penciling two more cover pieces, Captain America and Thor, as donations and we will use those images for the 2012 Sinnott Inking Challenge. So check out our gallery and you can be the decider on who led the challenge in inking Joe Sinnott!"

The list of inker participants all lending their generous time and effort spans from the legends of the bronze-age right on up through the modern-age and today's hot talents: Mike Allred, Kent Archer, Terry Austin, Rick Bryant, Ernie Chan, Klaus Janson, Jay Leisten, Pablo Marcos, Jose Marzan, Jr., Mark McKenna, Bob McLeod, Al Milgrom, Dan Parsons, Sean Parsons, Jack Purcell, Josef Rubenstein, Tom Schloendorn, Jim Tournas and Bob Wiacek. Some of the inked pieces are already posted at the gallery, with more being added as they come in: 
Dr. Doom:

Another aspect to this project is fundraising.  This June marks the scheduled first live awards ceremony for The Inkwells at Heroes Con with Inkwell committee, ambassadors, contributors, and spokesmodel Ms. Inkwell in attendance and with all of the public invited to attend and join the fun.  The organization is co-sponsoring the costs of the event with Heroes which will especially include all travel expenses of the award recipients who will be announced exclusively that weekend.  So besides the usual ongoing fundraising achieved through their online auctions, this is another opportunity to do so.  The pages of original blueline-inked art will be up for auction at ComicArtFans starting Sunday March 20 and will probably run for more than one week.  They can be found at the Inkwell Awards auction page at

The Inkwell Awards ( is a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote and educate about the art form of comic book inking and to annually recognize and award the best ink artists and their work. Now in the midst of their fourth year, the organization is overseen by a number of industry professionals such as founder & director Bob Almond, Jimmy Tournas, Bob Shaw, Nathan Massengill, Daniel Best and Kris Fenol who make up the IA core committee and Adam Hughes, Mike Marts, Ethan Van Sciver, Mark Brooks, Sal Velluto, Mike McKone, and Trevor Von Eeden who make up their IA ambassadors, and numerous contributors such as Mark McKenna, Dan Panosian, Louis Small, Jr. and Randy Green among others. They sponsor the Dave Simons Inkwell Memorial Scholarship Fund for the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon & Graphic Art and host the Joe Sinnott Hall of Fame.

The 2011 Inkwell Awards ballots go live April 1st-30th so please vote!

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