BU: So, Bob, can you share with us in general what the Inkwell Awards are all about?
BOB: The mission statement for the INKWELL AWARDS is to promote and educate on the art of comic book inking. It’s also about recognizing our best artists annually through our live awards ceremony at host show Heroes Con in Charlotte, NC in June. This ceremony has been running consistently for seven years ever since promoter Shelton Drum contacted me to invite us to their venue after the previous people were unable to fulfill their agreement.
BU: Can you explain in your words what an INKER does?
BOB: “Inking is the art of enhancing an illustration through the means of redrawing pencil lines with ink and its related tools. This enhancing, or ‘ink editing’, would elaborate in the areas of, but not limited to, weight, space, depth, definition, contrast, texture, composition and design.”
BU: So, it’s obviously very important…critical in fact.
BOB: Inking is the only craft of comic book production creating that is done exclusively for comics.
BU: Really? I honestly wasn’t aware if that.
BOB: You’re not alone! Your average person, even some editors, don’t quite understand what it is and that’s where the education comes into play.
BU: So how DO you educate people?
BOB: So many still quote the “tracer” dialogue from Chasing Amy which doesn’t help the ignorance out there and it’s simply not funny anymore. So, we advise in many ways. Our website is one way. It is a comprehensive and expansive platform consisting of dozens of links to inker articles, interviews, galleries, tutorials, side-by-side samples, and even an inker directory/database.
BU: Wow. So, you even have tutorials! I think tutorials are a great venue for learning. This is really a great work you provide. I am one of those people that learns more easily with a tutorial, so I find this portion of great value.
BOB: It certainly is important to us. Even our annual Joe Sinnott Inking Challenges show dozens of sideby-side examples where other inkers ink Joe’s tight and loose pencils, showing clearly through comparison what the inkers bring to the table, and those pages are then auctioned off for fundraising and subsequently collected into a book.
BU: OH MY GOSH! I am now even a greater admirer of what you do. This is a full spectrum web experience …… almost like going to school online!
I thank you on behalf of Inkers everywhere!! You get the Bags Unlimited Golden Collection Protection Award!
100% of the funds go to education. No one receives a salary. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inker
BIO * Hired by Marvel in 1992, two years after I graduated art college as an inker. I was to replace rock star inker Terry Austin after four issues of Jim’s new series Warlock & the Infinity Watch. I worked a decade straight for Marvel (which culminated in the critically-acclaimed and award-winning Black Panther series from 1999-2002 as inker and fellow “storyteller”) along with the creative team of Christopher Priest and Sal Velluto. I’ve been doing that now for 25 years.
Worked for publishers DC, Image, Malibu, Acclaim, Valiant, Penny-Farthing Press, Egmont, Harris, Fat Cat Funnies, New England Comics, Wildstorm, IDW, Kingstone Media and many more.
I also wrote my “Inkblots” column for Sketch Magazine in the late 2000s and that wrapped up at FirstComicsNews.com where I’m still listed as a columnist.
With the formation of my 501© (3) non-profit Inkwell Awards, (which bloomed from those columns in 2007-2008), I had to retire from doing that. I also co-created the spokesmodel character Ms. Inkwell with artist Randy Green in 2010 which has been interpreted by artist greats and about a dozen live spokesmodels.
The Inkwells are now celebrating their 10th anniversary of their unique mission of promoting the art form and recognizing the artists of comic book inking.
You can find me at www.almondink.com where I try to live up to my line of “updated monthly”.