(New Bedford, MA/USA—May 6, 2020) The Kubert School had their annual scholarship awards event earlier in May via a virtual scholarship ceremony through Google Meet, due to the Covid-19 global pandemic. The Inkwell Awards’ 11th Dave Simons Inkwell Memorial Scholarship Award of $1000 was presented to second-year student Ryusei Sawada. The school posted an announcement of all award recipients on its website.
Sawada is an aspiring artist originally from Tokyo, Japan, whose ultimate goal is to work for publishers like Marvel, DC, and Image as an inker/artist. He entered the Kubert School right out of high school.
Normally, according to The Inkwell Awards’ founder/director Bob Almond, the non-profit would send a representative to the Dover, NJ institution to attend the live ceremony and personally congratulate the winning student. But due to shelter-in-place orders, they were unable to, and school director Carol Thomas informed him that the school had already set up remote learning, which will remain in place until the end of the year.
“There were some timing issues but the virtual ceremony was a great idea,” said Almond. “This way the lucky winner was able to get even more public recognition. Kudos to school director Mike Chen and the Kubert School staff for getting it done despite many challenges. We hope to be there next year to shake the hand of the winner.”
The Inkwells created the scholarship award on behalf of their ink artist friend and committee member, Dave Simons, shortly after his passing in 2009, with the approval of his sister, Bette Simons. Bette shared the following statement:
“We are all navigating uncharted waters in this current environment. With unity, strength and faith we will manage to get through this and be stronger. Even considering all that is happening in the world right now, we must still manage to maintain some sense of normalcy which is why, for the 11th year, I am honored to recognize the recipient of The Dave Simons Inkwell Memorial Scholarship for 2020.
For those of you that do not know Dave or perhaps even his accomplishments, I can tell you that he devoted his entire life to being the best artist he could be and only wanted to get better. He was always critical of his work, looking for the most seemingly insignificant detail that would have made it even just a little bit better.
He was a mentor to many and was mentored by many of the best in the business. He thrived on interacting with others, sharing ideas and inspiration. He had great successes and crushing failures but with the failures, he never lost sight of the fact that he was doing what he loved most.
It will be 11 years next month since Dave passed and I miss him every day. I have no words to express my gratitude to all of the people that continually support this scholarship program. It takes relentless effort and dedication to be able to make this presentation in Dave’s memory every year. For that, I am eternally thankful.
Congratulations to this year’s recipient Ryusei Sawadi. I wish you much success and happiness.”
Dave Simons (1954-2009) was an American artist known for his work on the characters Conan, Ghost Rider, Red Sonja, Howard the Duck and Spider-Man for Marvel Comics, and “Forgotten Realms” for DC Comics. He was also a storyboard artist for the award-winning animated TV show, “Courage the Cowardly Dog,” while simultaneously handling the art for DC’s comic book spin-off. To date, Inkwells has raised $11,000 in his name to students in need.
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.