From 2011 until 2018, the 501(c)(3) non-profit Inkwell Awards hosted the Joe Sinnott Inking Challenge, where Inkwell special ambassador Joe rendered two drawings a year to be inked. The purpose was to show fans and the public the importance of the inker’s role, and the art was auctioned as a major fundraiser event.
Through scans of the finished pieces and an animated GIF showing the variety of inking approaches compared to the pencils, viewers could see for themselves the vital role an ink artist plays in the art form.
Both professionals and amateur artists participated. (Six of the eight Challenges were collected into book form.) In January of 2020, Mr. Sinnott retired from the event after retiring almost a year earlier from his work on the Spider-Man comic strip (with Stan Lee & Alex Saviuk), well-earned after a nearly 70-year career. Sadly, Joe died of natural causes on June 25, 2020.
Because this occurred during the global pandemic, there was a simple and limited funeral and no memorial. Fans, friends and loved ones of Joe that had been involved in the Inkwell Challenge program had hoped for one more round but then Joe was gone. So when former Inkwell member Joe Goulart presented founder/director Bob Almond with an art gift, they discussed a way to bring some closure for those participants who didn’t get to say goodbye.
Joe G. asked Ron Frenz if he would draw a tribute to Joe as a celebratory and “farewell” piece for the Inkwells. Since Joe Sinnott had inked Ron on many covers and had a good run on Marvel’s Thor, Ron and Joe G. generously donated the heartfelt Thor piece attached.
Joe’s son, Mark Sinnott (recently “taking up the torch” as an Inkwell special ambassador himself), enthusiastically approved of the project. Mark and Bob decided to invite both professional ink artists who were friends, colleagues, disciples and admirers and also “bring the band” back together with most of the former contributors to the previous Inking Challenges to have a last chance to honor the legendary master artist and exceptional human being. This was born the Joe Sinnott TRIBUTE Inking Challenge!
The plan is to have the boards completed and ready to be auctioned to the public by the one-year anniversary of Joe’s passing this June; it plans to be a loving tribute to our “patron saint of inkers,” Joe Sinnott.
If you are an interested, established pro comic book artist and want to participate you can contact Bob Almond to inquire at firstname.lastname@example.org but we are not officially accepting requests because almost 80 invitations went out a few days ago. But we’d be happy to put you on a standby list in case several invitees don’t reply back or decline to participate.