Created by founder and director Bob Almond, the Challenge involved Sinnott, the organization’s first special ambassador, drawing or loosely sketching two characters for which he was known (or not have ever rendered) and then professional and amateur artists inking and/or embellishing them. The program was designed to educate fans, the public and other professionals regarding the process, contribution and inherent value of inking, a major part of the Inkwells’ mission. All of the blueline inked pages, signed by Sinnott and the inkers, were later donated by the contributors and auctioned on eBay, providing valuable fundraising for the organization.
“As you all know, this past year, with the cancellation of the ‘Spider-Man’ syndicated strip, I decided to retire from comic-related work. This also included my participation in the Inkwell Awards’ annual Inking Challenge. It was a great privilege to play a part in all of these challenges, and I always enjoyed seeing everyone’s take on embellishing my pencilled drawings. I look forward to the release of the upcoming collection of the Joe Sinnott Inking Challenge in book form, and was glad to be a part of this for so many years. Now it is finally time for me to sit back, relax, and enjoy a well-deserved retirement. I look forward to seeing many great things from the Inkwell Awards. I thank you all for supporting them and being a part of this great organization.”
The Inkwells have also collected each year’s pencils-to inks comparisons in book form and a final, sixth one will be available in the coming weeks. Almond said, “We are immensely proud of this series of books as launched by Jim Tournas, Enrica Jang and Renee Woodruff. We truly thank Joe and son Mark for their stellar cooperation and accomplishments over the years. He more than deserves his happy retirement and we all agree that we want Joe to be nothing but happy and healthy after an extraordinary career of almost 70 years.”
The Inkwell Awards is the only official 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to promote and educate regarding the art form of comic-book inking, as well as annually recognize the best ink artists and their work. Established in 2008, the Inkwells are overseen by a volunteer committee of industry professionals and assisted by various professional ambassadors and contributors. They sponsor the Dave Simons Inkwell Memorial Scholarship Fund for the Kubert School and host the Joe Sinnott Hall of Fame Award.