St. Mary’s Hospital 06/02/19
At all our events, we collaborate with the kids, asking them to help us design characters and color them in then they keep everything we make together. Here our Ink Well gents are smiling big after a wonderful day, drawing with the children at St. Mary’s Hospital, where we drew bat and spider men, Toms & Jerrys, and lots of caricatures!
These children are dealing with serious life-limiting issues like Down syndrome, severe burns, and other difficulties but they never fail to bring joyous hearts and tireless creativity to every one of our events. We are grateful to share this special time.
Thanks to our new Event Director, Tim Savage, for taking charge and thanks to our stalwart volunteers, Stefano Imbert, Ray Alma and Dennis Calero.
Covenant House of California 05/25/19
We can accomplish amazing things if we work together and put our whole energy and heart into it! In under just 1.5 hours, the fantastic young adults at Covenant House California designed original characters, developed a storyline, and recorded their own claymation car race.
Thank you to the leadership of new Event Director, Michael Daedalus Kenny, and our trusty volunteers, Jeremy Arambulo, Matthew Bennett, and Joseph Scott.
Bellevue Hospital 05/18/19
At this Bellevue Hospital event, the kids drew images of nurturing and protection. We asked them what they imagined when they thought of those words. Many said mom and dad, but they also said they felt protected by nature: the trees, flowers, and butterflies dancing through life along with them. Their pets, friends, and sports heroes reinforced their strength too. The more we talked of gratitude for these people, animals, and places in our life, the more we realized how much power there is all around us.
Thank you to our Event Director, Jane Archer, and to our dear volunteers: Dayna Gonzalez, Pedro Delgado, Elizabeth Winter, Dennis Calero, and Joyce Pedretti.
05/15/19 Mount Sinai Hospital
Pedro Delgado guest hosted this special edition of our KidZoneTV show, where we showed how to make “tessellations,” or repeating patterns on single sheets of paper. Pedro demonstrated how through a process of cutting and taping repeated designs, you can tile infinitely- especially with the help of a photocopier.
Our KidZone TV show is recorded in the Hospital studio and gets beamed into all the hospital rooms at once via closed-circuit TV. The kids draw along with us and call or text in to the show, all from the comfort of their beds.
Gilda’s Club 04/04/19
Today we helped the children of Gilda’s Club discover how simple paper can transform into all sorts of amazing things! We folded and glued and snipped and drew until a cool turtle named, Timmy started ambling around. And a jet shot into a sky full of aliens. A couple of owls, eyed, nibbled, and digested some funny food on a string. And then the kids even created intricate games that everyone could play together!
Thanks to our Director of Events, Franz Palomares and volunteer, Elana Amity, for leading such a lovely night. And we are forever grateful for the welcome we receive every time we visit the staff and families of this special support center that provides counseling and care for those dealing with cancer.
3/23/19 New Alternatives for Children
This time at New Alternatives for Children, we made “out of this world” artwork: the kids invented alien seahorses, basketball and soccer ball space people, fire breathing caterpillars, and then they designed their worlds and spaceships. One young artist, who particularly likes working with collage, decided to take his artwork into the thiiiiirrrrrd dimension and made a 3D diorama. Another kid asked us the very serious question of what would happen if aliens sucked out all of our brains and ate them for their dinner! We discussed the matter thoroughly but decided not to draw that one.
We had so much fun, and everyone agreed we’d like to visit outer space again Thank you to our Event Director, Lisa LaBracio, for leading the night and to our superstar volunteers: Elana Amity, Stefano Imbert, Marty Macaluso, Abby Merrill, and Tim Savage, and most of all to the kids who bring fantastic energy and dedication to all our collaborations. We are grateful for such special moments, especially when they make drawings for us to keep too like the beautiful thank you card you’ll see in our pics!
3/20/19 Mount Sinai Hospital
Happy Spring Equinox! This month I began our live drawing show at Mount Sinai Hospital with an explanation of all the new creatures we see crawling and bouncing and flapping around in spring, like bunnies, nesting birds, and brand new puppies too. Kids texted in with requests, including one to draw bow ties on rabbits and on a goldfish, which I was happy to oblige. 🙂 ~Elana Amity, host of the Ink Well’s “KidZone TV” drawing show
3/13/19 Gilda’s Club
This was a beautiful celebration of the superheroes inside of each and every one of us! The brave kids at Gilda’s Club are dealing with cancer in their lives and so we talked with them about where they draw their power, what makes them feel strong, and how can we turn those traits into all kinds of super characters. The children unleashed their brilliant imaginations on personalities and back stories including Pizza girl who flings hot cheese at her villains, a gorilla astrophysicist who lives on the moon, a Spider Ham sidekick, and the most unsettling, “Eye Finger Switch!” Thanks to our volunteers: Ray Alma, Elana Amity, Scott Brundage, Dennis Calero, Lisa LaBracio, and Elizabeth Winter and to our fearless leader Franz Palomares for leading this super duper night!
So much talent in this house! Our Director of Events for the Ronald McDonald House, Jane Archer, taught how to create characters from cancer treatments and medication to help the kids see them in a little more familiar and less intimidating light. The kids picked right up on the theme and designed intricate characters, many with healing powers or traits of strength and bravery.
Afterward we gave each child their own drawing set and a Curious George book to keep. And the kids gave us lots of drawings too, including our own portraits : )
There are some real artists here and we were proud to meet them and their lovely families.
Ink Well West Volunteer Appreciation Party! 2/16/19
What a joy to celebrate another wonderful year, providing free arts activities to brave kids! We all got together for a hearty dinner and catch up at the great Tam O’Shanter in Los Feliz. We are so proud to call this incredible crew our family. Thank you for sharing your infinite talent, imagination, heart and soul with the children we serve.
Covenant House of Los Angeles 2/16/19
Today we got the chance to teach the art of comic books to the Covenant House California youth! We began by showing how to pencil out your ideas, then craft a storyline, throw it all away and start over again and again until you get that arc, those villains, heroes and vision that you truly want down on your panels. The ideas and characters these talented young people came up with and the energy they brought were humbling. Thank you for letting us share this very special time with you and for always helping us learn as much as we teach. Thank you to our Event Directors, Joseph Scott and Michael Daedalus Kenny, and to our beloved volunteers who hail from #Disney, #Nickelodeon, #Marvel and much more: Jeremy Arambulo, Chad Frye, Valerie H. Nielsen, Ashley Simpson, Monica Tomova, Elizabeth Winter and Marla Frazee.
Mount Sinai Hospital 2/13/19
This was the loveliest Valentine’s Day in many a day! Our live closed-circuit TV drawing show is beamed into all the Mount Sinai Hospital kids’ rooms at once and the kids all get their own art kits so they can draw along with us. They can call or text us too if they feel like chatting while we draw.
On this special day I showed how to make rabbits, dogs, cats, and lions, all composed of heart shapes. One boy called in with a request for a turtle and a pigeon, another called and said, “draw me a realistic lion!” With his permission I used my cell phone for a reference because I hadn’t drawn a real lion in many a day but thankfully this big cat came out just great. I was thrilled when I got an image texted back of the beautiful lion another child had drawn while listening to and following my lion lesson!
At the end of the show, some of the kids asked me to meet them in the activities room so I could see their drawings. They were gorgeous and could have filled the most marvelous zoo! One little boy asked if he could have the bunny I had made and so that hopped right over to him. In fact I gave away all the art I made to the kids I met because that’s what we always do at our Ink Well events- we create together and the kids keep all the art.
I loved chatting with these children about all the wonderful traits that animals have- all those teeth and talons and feathers and fur. This was a day full of love and creativity and I am grateful for being a part of it. Thank you, kids, and staff of Mount Sinai Hospital! ❤️
IWF Event Director, Mount Sinai Hospital
Childhelp Kids at Nickelodeon Studios!
We are deeply grateful to Nickelodeon for welcoming our Ink Well kids once again for a private tour and drawing session with Nickelodeon animators! This time we welcomed the fantastic kids of Childhelp!
We introduced this eager, artistic crew to the many people of all backgrounds that it takes to get a cartoon on-air and showed that art is not only a great tool of self-expression, it’s also a viable career opportunity!
Here are just a few of the amazing opportunities we all got to have together on this very special day: we went into the private booth of Nickelodeon’s Radio Station and got to meet the DJ! We delved into Nickelodeon’s animation archive, which was filled with rare original artwork from ages of cartoons past. We got to watch a movie in the official Nick personal theatre about everything that’s going on at Nick: future projects, community involvement, and all the current shows. We continued through the studio, meeting artists and execs along the way. Everyone was so gracious and it was so inspiring for the children to get to have all this special one-on-one time.
Nickelodeon itself is a museum and we enjoyed the thousands of original artworks hanging on all the walls. We ended our tour and adjourned to a big conference room, where animators, Darin McGowan and Miguel Puga, gave an extraordinary presentation on how to storyboard a cartoon and how to draw the characters of The Loudhouse (which is Nick’s #1 rated show!).
We then talked earnestly with the kids about how we all as artists got involved in a career in animation, and how our life-long love for drawing led us there. We also discussed the many non-artist related opportunities at Nickelodeon, trying to emphasize all the opportunities available in the animation world. Finally, we did what we do best and just drew with the kids and showed them how to be creative no matter the medium, and to never be afraid to follow your dreams- whatever they may be!
We would like to specifically acknowledge each member of the Nickelodeon team for all they did to help us with the tour… Carson Smith for being our point man and coordinating this whole day with us. He is maybe the chillest man on the planet. 🙂
His assistant, JuliaGuillen, for supporting so much of this interactive tour and handing out beautiful Nick gift bags to each of the kids afterward.
Eric Brown for his stellar tour guide skills and gentle, patient, and engaging demeanor he gave to each kid along the tour. He clearly loves his job and we loved having him as our guide!
To our good friends and collegaues, Darin McGowan and Miguel Puga, for donating their time wholly and gladly, sharing so many tips and insider’s insight that will be invaluable to the kids for all time. Your talent and kindness are legendary.
And finally to our fearless West Coast Director, Joseph Scott. You are how we keep doing these meaningful, life-changing events. We owe you everything, you shining sun. ☀️
St. Mary’s Hospital 1/20/19
We had a spectacular day, drawing with the children of St. Mary’s Hospital! We’ve been coming to visit these kids for years and they always fill us with such joy and amazement as they bring boundless energy and imagination to every bit of art we make together. This time we drew Scooby Doos, big tough gorillas, and silly monkeys too. One little girl even helped us draw a Princess Monkey! Some kids got their caricatures done while others learned character design. We are deeply grateful to our all-guy gang of volunteers that came to draw today: Tim Savage, Marty Macaluso, Joe Vissichelli, Scott Brundage, and our fearless Event Director, Ray Alma, who lead the show. Thank you, beautiful kids and staff of St. Mary’s! We’ll be back again soon!
Mount Sinai Hospital 1/16/19
I started off with Frosty and Olaf. These two characters helped me demonstrate all kinds of fun aspects of character design: costumes, perspective, and background setting.
Then one of the kids called in, requesting a snow queen, so as I drew, we talked about traditional portrayals of pretty princesses and how we might use new colors, shapes and personalities to reimagine traditional roles.
One girl texted in her own drawing that she was making along with us from her room: it was a fabulous, action packed portrait of a girl, moving in front of other figures. I guess my lessons in perspective and character design got through because she incorporated all of it into one fantastic scene!
After the show, I bumped into two of the art therapists who had been working with kids as they watched our show. They told me how much everybody enjoyed it and so that was the perfect end to a marvelous night. Thanks, kids, for watching and we’ll see you next month! ~Elana Amity, IWF Event Director
Mount Sinai Hospital 12/19/18
Bellevue Hospital 12/15/18
We felt privileged to share a quiet morning with the children at Bellevue Hospital. Together we created holiday cards, filled with cartoon characters and images of love and gratitude. At the end, the children got up one by one and described to the group what they had created:
One boy drew “Thank You” out of balloon characters and brilliantly carried the balloon strings to the inside of his card, where a little boy was holding them. There he wrote how much he appreciated a friend who was kind to him. A young girl drew a wintry scene where light struck the snow-covered ground and refracted into letters, spelling “Love” because she said, “when the snow falls and the light hits it just right it feels like love to me.” There were magician Santas, saber-toothed tigers, robot Godzillas, wolves and monkey Santas too.
Each child left with their own holiday gift of a sketch book and drawing set so they could keep creating on their own. And we all left with full hearts and beautiful memories of these brave kids. Thanks to our Ink Well volunteers: Drew Dernavich, Scott Brundage, Ellie Rahim, Barbara Garrison, Elizabeth Winter and a huge welcome back to our dear Jane Archer. Thanks also to the fantastic staff at Bellevue Hospital for always being so professional and helpful in all of our activities.
Wishing everyone a happy holiday season with many messages of love to all!
11/11/18 New Alternatives for Children
We celebrated Fall to its fullest this week at New Alternatives for Kids, a center for children going through foster care and special medical needs. Leaves became sting rays, rabbits, giraffes, spiders, birds, and beyond. As our ever-creative batch of kids reimagined what a leaf could be, more and more ideas poured out and soon they were making second, third, and fourth projects – and even taking leaves home with their Blick drawing materials so they could keep creating! Everyone was excited to use the secret ingredient – googly eyes – but they got even craftier! One girl, who never leaves home without her own little baggie of craft materials, just so happened to have a cotton ball – perfect for completing her bunny.
Thank you, dear volunteers: Tim Savage, Pedro Delgado, Elana Amity, Scott Brundage and huge gratitude to the one and only Lisa LaBracio, who collected all these beautiful leaves and led this wonderful activity for us all.
New Alternatives for Children provides health and social services to children with disabilities and chronic illnesses. It focuses on children in foster care and adoptive homes.
10/24/18 Ronald McDonald House, L.A.
Our skin crawled with excitement as we and the wonderful the Ronald McDonald House kids had a spooktastic Halloween party in Hollywood! We all drew spooky pictures, made bat puppets, and painted some ferociously good faces.
We are grateful to our beloved volunteers who made all this come about: Jeremy Arambulo, Michael Daedalus Kenny, Christian Lignan, Joseph Scott, Ashley Simpson
The Ronald McDonald House provides a home-like environment for families with critically ill or injured children who must travel to fulfill their healthcare needs.
10/19/18 Gilda’s Club
Gilda’s Club’s annual halloween party was frightfully fun! We face painted Darth Vaders, drew caricatures ghoul-ore, the kids fluttered about with their bat puppets and everyone left with arm fulls of art by the artists behind Ice Age, Marvel Comics, Mad Magazine, TED Ed Animation, Rugrats, The Venture Bros and much more!
Thank you, trusty volunteers who made this night possible: Ray Alma, Joan Chiverton, Barbara Garrison, Lisa LaBracio, Maria Scrivan, Ed Steckley, Elizabeth Winter. And thank you to the beautiful families and staff of GC, who always welcome us so warnly.
Gilda’s Club is open to children who have been diagnosed with cancer, have a parent or loved one who is living with cancer, or are grieving the death of a loved one to cancer.
Mount Sinai Hospital 10/17/18
What an honor to welcome the stupendous Peter Kuper of Spy vs. Spy, Mad Magazine, and graphic novel fame to our KidZone TV drawing show at Mount Sinai Hospital! He joined our indomitable host, Elana Amity, on our live, closed-circuit show that gets beamed to all the kids’ rooms at once. The kids are equipped with drawing kits and can call in with questions and comments as we “virtually” draw together.
This time, Elana and Peter drew Halloween-y scenes, including Spy vs. Spy characters that were stuck together by a pumpkin on their heads, a totem pole built by a robot out of cats, birds, and fish, and then they drew a talking tree.
All that great art went straight up to the kids for them to keep. Thank you, everyone, for another fabulous creative night together!
Mount Sinai Hospital 09/26/18
These two gents. We are so lucky to have them on our Mount Sinai Hospital drawing team. Thank you, Peter de Séve, for bringing your New Yorker cover drawing, Ice Age character designing amazingness to join with the Nickelodeon-Disney-Cartoon Network animating fantasticness that is Pedro Delgado. The kids loved drawing migrating animals with you on our drawing show this week. ❤️And thank you, Elana Amity for being the hostess with the mostest as always.
Mount Sinai is one of the oldest and largest teaching hospitals in the United States and it provides continuous activities and programs for the kids in its child-life program.
Bellevue Hospital 08/13/18
Tonight we conjured characters out of inanimate objects! The kids made bats and baseballs into brothers; tacos into tap dancers; letters and numbers and candy became a carnival of personality.
These children have faced severe, isolating challenges and are separated from their families as they receive counseling and treatment. It is deeply moving to sense them slowly shift from hesitance and wariness to laughing and playing and creating as we draw together. By the end of the night, one girl who had been very withdrawn in the beginning, ran back into her room to fetch her own artwork and put on her own little exhibit for us. She has definite talent and a signature style we’re calling “manga pointillism.” We hope that she and all these beautiful children keep drawing, keep dreaming and healing and feeling the nurturing connection between us all.
Thank you, wonderful children and staff of Bellevue, for always welcoming us with such warmth and energy, and to our beloved Ink Well volunteers for sharing your time and talent: Ray Alma, Todd Broder, Willy Hartland and Elizabeth Winter.
St. Mary’s Hospital 07/29/18
We cherish our days spent with the St. Mary’s kids. Despite serious challenges, these children always welcome us with open hearts and smiles and wonder.
This time we taught how to draw movement by using elongated poses, action lines and more. These kids have deep creative ability and they showed it as they riffed on Chilly Willy roller skating in the snow, Barney dancing a jig, and roaring dinosaurs, stomping all over the place!
Thank you, kids, for bringing so much beauty to the world. Thank you to our Event Director, Ray Alma, to our volunteers: Dennis Calero, Timothy Savage, Adrian C. Sinnott, Joe Vissichelli, Elizabeth Winter, and a special welcome to new Ink Weller, Willy Hartland of Beavis and Butthead fame! We were also honored to have Dennisia Slabakis join us from Carnival of Love Foundation! We are grateful to the St. Mary’s staff for always making this such a very special experience. Thank you all.
Mount Sinai Hospital 07/18/18
We got to draw live, in-studio with patients on our KidZone TV Show at Mount Sinai Hospital today! The kids helped our guest host, Pedro Delgado, and volunteer, Sangjun Chon, put on a show about “juxtaposition.” We drew mice and elephants, rainbows on rainbows, top hats on shapes. For the patients who couldn’t join us in the studio, we got to draw with them over closed-circuit TV. Thanks all for another wonderful show!
Mount Sinai is one of the oldest and largest teaching hospitals in the United States and it provides continuous activities and programs for the kids in its child-life program.
Gilda’s Club 06/28/18
The kids dove into underwater scenes tonight by first sketching out sea creature characters and backgrounds, then using watercolors to create an underwater wash effect over their drawings. They did a wonderful job, experimenting with mixed media!
Thank you to the kids and staff of Gilda’s Club and to our Ink Well volunteers: Justin Bilicki, Ellie Rahim, and Event Director, Franz Palomares!
Covenant House of L.A. 06/20/18
It was a joy to meet the young adults at Covenant House. We got to show them how to do stop motion, draw monsters, cartoons, and more. We appreciate how patient and earnestly engaged everyone was. That’s what it takes to make good stuff happen!
We are grateful for our volunteers, Jeremy Arambulo, Steve Hirt, Christian Lignan and to our guest host, Michael Daedalus Kenny, and West Coast Director, Joseph Scott.
Mount Sinai Hospital 06/20/18
If you can draw a square, a line, and a circle, then you can draw anything. Today we showed the kids how to make cartoon characters out of the simplest shapes.
A million thank yous to our dear Pedro Delgado, who stepped up to host the show today. And thank you to the strong kids who imagined and laughed and drew along with us.
New Alternatives for Children 6/14/18
We were blown away by the New Alternatives for Children kids’ sand paintings! Check out their masterful designs and inventive ways of using real sand to create summer scenes.
Thank you so much to the NAC staff and kids for having us, to our wonderful Event Director, Lisa LaBracio, and to our devoted volunteers: Pedro Delgado, Barbara Garrison, Stefano Imbert, Abby Merrill and Julia Sarcone-Roach.
After the event, we gave each child their own art kit so they can keep on creating. Go, kids, go!
St. Mary’s Hospital 5/10/18
We feel so fortunate to have come to know and love the kids at St. Mary’s over the years. Despite dealing with challenges like cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, paralysis, and burns, these children bring boundless joy and creativity to every activity we do together. Today we helped the kids learn how to draw Disney cartoon characters like Mickey and Minnie Mouse, the Little Mermaid, Lilo & Stitch, as well as drawing the kids’ caricatures.
Thank you, St. Mary’s staff, for always being so welcoming and professional, thanks to our Ink Well volunteers for just being the best: Howard Beckerman, Pedro Delgado, Tim Savage, Adrian Sinnott, Joe Vissichelli, and a huge shout out to Dennis Calero for leading this entire event!
Camp TLC 5/5/18
We loved making super hero self-portraits with the Camp TLC kids! We asked the campers to think of their own strengths and skills, what they’re proud of, and how they’d like to help people. Then the kids transformed wooden and paper figurines into their super-selves!
Thanks to Camp TLC, the Boys and Girls Club of Hollywood, and to our Ink Well volunteers: Jeremy Arambulo, John Dubiel, Chad Frye, Steve Hirt, Nora Meek, Valerie Nielsen, Ashley Simpson, Zane Yarbrough, and W. Coast Director, Joseph Scott. A huge welcome to first timers, John, Steve, Nora, Valerie and Zane! And thanks to Batman for swooping in too 🙂 The Camp TLC serves children who have experienced life or medical trauma.
NY Foundling Career Day 04/25/18
Mount Sinai Hospital 04/18/18
Mount Sinai Hospital 03/28/18
Ink Well event-theme contest winner, Elizabeth Kamke, inspired our night of drawing astronauts, rockets, and a special birthday picture of Spiderman in Space for one little girl’s 9th birthday!
Lots of kids called and texted: one girl wanted to know what our favorite outer space movies were, and a little boy called in to chat with Pedro as he built a space suit out of rectangles- the boy said it reminded him of Sponge Bob in space.
Thank you, kids, for having us and for keeping your eyes up to the stars, to Pedro Delgado for your supersonic drawing skills, and to our shining star of a host, Elana Amity. ⭐⭐⭐
Mount Sinai Hospital 02/21/18
We had a wild drawing show at Mount Sinai Hospital this week! New Yorker cartoonist, Corey Pandolph, and DC/Marvel Comics artist, Dennis Calero, taught how to draw superheroes while the kids texted in advice, like “make Superman’s costume all the colors of the rainbow!” and “draw a bunch of flying fish!” Then they made Corey and Dennis have a speed draw-off, where they drew as many characters in as little time as they could, which was hilarious.
Thank you so much to Elana Amity for hosting, to Corey and Dennis for volunteering, and to all the kids at Mount Sinai who helped us put on a fantastic show.
New Alternatives for Children 02/10/18
The Valentine’s fun continued at New Alternatives over the weekend! We brought heaps of crafts for the kids and they made the most heart stopping cards and pictures to give to their loved ones. Thank you very much, NAC, for having us, to our Event Director, Lisa LaBracio, and to our loyal volunteers: Elana Amity, Sergey Aniskov, Drew Dernavich, Abby Merrill and Tim Savage.
Gilda’s Club NYC 02/08/18
We made mountains of Valentine’s with the Gilda’s Club kids! There were so many creative ideas like a pop-up bouquet, love-lorn dragons, smitten kittens and big-hearted horses. Thank you, kids and Gilda’s Club staff, for welcoming us and thank you to our volunteers: Dennis Calero, Joan Chiverton, Pedro Delgado, Dayna Gonzalez, Elizabeth Winter, and to our Director of GC events, Franz Palomares for leading such a great event.
Ronald McDonald House of L.A. 02/04/18
We were very happy to join with the children at Ronald McDonald House of Los Angeles this week to create Valentine’s Day cards. We helped the young artists make cards and gave them their own Valentine’s treats of sketch books, colored pencil sets as well as some healthy snacks. Thank you so much to our volunteers who hailed from Disney, Nickelodeon, DreamWorks and more: Jeremy Arambulo, Christian Lignan, Ashley Simpson, and of course to our trusty West Coast Director, Joseph Scott, for making it all happen.
Mt. Sinai Hospital 01/17/18
On our KidZone TV show at Mount Sinai Hospital this week, Elana Amity taught how to draw Winnie the Pooh and Piglet in honor of it being A.A. Milne’s birthday! And Dennis Calero drew Batman with a wide open mouth, asking the kids to suggest a food Batman should be eating. One patient said, “a pot of honey!” thus combining our two themes. It was adorable. ❤