We had bags of fun designing homemade Trick or Treat totes for Halloween! We sent the kids canvas tote bags and fabric markers and they took off inventing SpiderMan Monsters, mousey caterpillars, Frankensteins, and Jack o’ Lanterns! Thanks to Ink Well artists Stefano Imbert, Tim Savage, and Lisa LaBracio for volunteering. New Alternatives for Children is a center for children with disabilities and chronic illness with a focus on foster and adoptive families. #fostercare #adoption
Mad Libs Story Time Part II 08/26/20
Dennis Calero and Lisa LaBracio returned for Part II of our mash-up story party mix with the New Alternatives for Children kids! They helped the kids launch a grand finale to their stories by sending their characters into space. There were pizza princes on Pluto, googey-eyed cool dude aliens, space ships, and stars galore. Dennis took all the kids’ ideas at the end and compiled them into one interstellar party poster!
The kids will continue to draw their ideas out with their own art kits, thanks to the support of our donors and Blick Arts sponsorship. 💛
Mad Libs Story Time! 08/12/20
We had a blast making up stories and characters with the creative kids of New Alternatives for Children! The kids used the art kits we sent them to draw out their plots like: Batman frozen in a castle but saved by love melting his shackles; Rapunzel hunting lobster for a giant feast; and butterflies fluttering over to help someone with a broken down car.
Lisa LaBracio of TED- Animation fame taught how to build story progression with a main character, conflict, and resolution and Dennis Calero of Marvel, DC, X-Men comics and more showed how to create scale and character flair with just a few lines. Thank you to everyone who participated and we’ll see you again in a couple weeks!
New Alternatives for Children serves children with disabilities and chronic illness with a focus on foster and adoptive families.
Ink Well Art Lessons: Episode 9 “Superhero: Spiderman!” 8/12/20
We received a special request from a young member of the New Alternatives for Children foster and adoptive care center. A little boy asked if one of our artists could help him learn to draw Spiderman. So we called up our volunteer, Dennis Calero, who created this fantastic Spidey how-to!
Micheline Hess mentors up and coming artist from the Covenant House 8/10/20
We had the privilege to connect one of the young artists we spoke with at the Covenant House last week with pro artist, Micheline Hess, for a one-on-one mentorship chat. Amia created her own excellent pitch book for a story that she hopes to present to Netflix someday and Micheline helped her work through the ideas, characters, and methods of approaching studios with new ideas. Best of luck to Amia in all her endeavors!
Micheline Hess & Jeanette Moreno King talk pro arts careers with the Covenant House youth
Check out our chat with the fiercely talented Covenant House youth! Ink Well volunteers, Micheline Hess and Jeanette Moreno King, discuss portfolio building, networking, and innovation in the professional arts with this group as they begin to explore future career paths.
Pen Pals Program: Unicorn and Mermaid
Boss Baby creator and children’s book author/artist, Marla Frazee, helped us make a dream come true for one of our Ink Well kids. 6 year-old Nadia has been in foster care since infancy and is currently working through anxiety issues. She said she loves unicorns and mermaids more than anything in the world and wishes she could be a mermaid and have a unicorn friend. So Marla carefully crafted this scene to help her imagine just that in this loving, relaxing scene.
We are grateful to adoptive and foster care support center, New Alternatives for Children, for introducing us to Nadia.
Covenant House 07/07/20
Ground-breaking comics, children’s book, and digital artist, Micheline Hess, and animation all-star of Futurama, Simpsons, and Scooby Doo fame, Jeanette Moreno King, Zoomed in to talk with the youth at Covenant House California about how to get established in the professional arts and keep moving forward once you’re there. We explored portfolio building, networking, and the wide variety of professions these young adults may want to consider as they move into the working world.
Covenant House California provides homeless kids with a safe environment, education, employment and a chance to become independent, self-sufficient adults.
Pen Pals Program: Super Mario
We felt super privileged to share this Super Mario painting with one of our Ink Well kids! This little girl is dealing with autism and has been really missing her school routine and friends. She told us that a painting of Super Mario would cheer her up, so Timothy Savage took the time to hand paint this watercolor just for her. We mailed her the original and emailed a digital copy that she could share with all her friends.
Thank you to our artists and partner organization, New Alternatives for Children for helping us connect through creativity with children in foster and medical care today and always.
Pen Pals Program: Mermaid and Fish
We were introduced to a young girl in foster care, who is working through anxiety by learning breathing techniques and other relaxation practice at New Alternatives for Children. She asked if we could make her a mermaid coloring page. So we called up our volunteer and board member, Peter de Séve, and he made this original artwork just for her! We sent it to her digitally so she could print it out again and again and color it in however she pleases for all time.
Hooo wants to draw an owl? 06/28/20
In this video drawing lesson, you can learn to create your very own wise winged friend with big eyes, sharp talons, and colorful feathers galore!
Thanks to Elana Amity and all our volunteers for staying connected with Ink Well kids through this and many other remote art activities.
Student-Made Activity Pack 05/26/20
Long-time Ink Well volunteer, Adrian C. Sinnott tasked his Farmingdale State College visual communications students to come up with originally-designed arts & crafts activities that our kids could easily access remotely.
What these students created is one of the finest collections of fun we’ve ever seen and we are so very proud to share it with the children we serve! Our kids are feeling the isolation of health and home-life challenges acutely right now and it’s efforts like these that keep everyone feeling supported, loved, and recognized. Thank you so much to everyone who contributed!!!
“Squiggles” Coloring Book 04/26/20
Our West Coast superstar animator, cartoonist, and illustrator volunteers have just created a new coloring book for the Ink Well kids! These books will get sent out to children dealing with illness and hardship in hospitals and foster care centers across the country. It’s vitally important that we maintain close connections with these kids, providing encouraging, stimulating activities to fight isolation and to keep growing in health and hope. Thank you, volunteers, for making this possible!
Matthew Bennett, Chad Frye, Valerie Hildreth, Joseph Scott, and Ashley Michelle Simpson.
“Toon-ify” Coloring Book 04/07/20
In this “toon-ify” coloring book, our artists depict a realistic object, animal, or person then show how to transform it into a cartoon. The kids get to create their own cartoon version then color the whole thing in! This is just one of many remote activities we’re doing to keep our collaboration with children in health and foster care support going strong during these particularly isolating times. 💪
Thank you, Ink Well artist contributors: Elana Amity, Delfin Barral, Howard Beckerman, Joan Chiverton, Sangjun Chon, Pedro Delgado, Drew Dernavich, Rami Efal, Chrissy Fellmeth, Dayna Gonzalez, Lisa LaBracio, Marty Macaluso, Oded Naaman, Ellie Rahim, Timothy Savage, Adrian Sinnott, and Elizabeth Winter.
Video Art Lesson: Squirrel in the Park 04/01/20
From her apartment in New York City, Elana Amity shows how to draw a classic New York squirrel! We’re sending videos, coloring books, and other encouraging activities like this to children in hospitals and foster care centers coast to coast to keep our community connection strong for children facing illness and hardship.
Mount Sinai Hospital 03/18/20
Since we couldn’t physically go to our Mount Sinai Hospital drawing show this week, our volunteers worked overtime to create handmade St. Patrick’s day coloring pages to give to the kids via the hospital staff!
Thanks to our wonderful co-hosts, Elana Amity and Pedro Delgado for making this special gift possible for hospitalized children who may be experiencing even further distancing from friends and family right now.
St. Mary’s Hospital 2/08/20
We were feelin’ so much love at St. Mary’s Hospital this weekend as we created handmade Valentine’s Day cards with the kids! Despite dealing with severe physical illnesses and injuries, over 50 children came down to the rec room and sat with us to talk about what they loved, who they were grateful for, and what characters those people would like to have on a card all their own. We drew proud roosters, flowering trees, and roses visited by bumble bees. Then we gave each child their own drawing kit, thanks to our arts sponsor Blick Arts, so they could keep making more cards or whatever they feel inspired to create on their own.
Thanks very much to the fantastic St. Mary’s staff for welcoming us back time and again to collaborate with these special children. And our hearts are full at the generosity and kindness of our trusty professional artist volunteers: Bil Donovan, Adrian Sinnott, Elizabeth Winter, and our Event Director, Tim Savage.
Ronald McDonald House of Los Angeles 12/21/19
It was a joy to help the children at RMH LA design their own homemade holiday cards. These kids spend long periods away from home while receiving treatment for serious illnesses so it is especially meaningful to maintain connection and bonds with friends and family however possible. These messages and drawings are a wonderful way to stay close with loved ones.
Thank you to our volunteers, Jeremy Arambulo, John Dubiel, Valerie Hildreth, and to our Ink Well West Director, Joseph Scott, for coming together in this holiday season for these beautiful kids!
Mount Sinai Hospital 12/18/19
Bellevue Hospital 12/7/19
What a moving and special holiday treat it was to make handmade cards with the children of Bellevue. Each child carefully designed their own images on the front of their cards, and then within, wrote messages of love and gratitude and hope for a good new year. Let’s all strive to provide them with the supportive, encouraging community they deserve and the happier days they have wished for!
We are grateful to the Bellevue staff and our Ink Well volunteers: Elana Amity, Joan Chiverton, Stefano Imbert, Lisa labracio, Abby Merrill, Elizabeth Winter, and to our Event Director, Jane Archer, who put this beautiful evening together.
Mount Sinai Hospital 11/20/19
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
St. Mary’s Hospital 11/10/19
We’ve been drawing with the children at St. Mary’s Hospital for years and yet are surprised every time by their rapid-fire fantastic ideas and indomitable sense of humor. We are so grateful to share this special creative time with them, talking about their favorite characters and imagining scenes then drawing it all out together on paper.
It’s our volunteers that make these beautiful moments possible. Thank you, Ray Alma, Adrian Sinnott, and Tim Savage so much for bringing your DC Comics, Mad Magazine, animation, and book illustration skills and life-long awesomeness to these wonderful kids.
St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children is a non-profit healthcare center for children with special needs and life-limiting conditions.
Gilda’s Club Halloween Party 10/18/19
The Gilda’s Club kids and families let us draw them as goofy characters, put whacky puppets on their fingers, and paint all over their faces last night! Every year it is our happiest halloween thrill to volunteer at Noogiefest. This year one boy, dressed as ketchup bottle, helped us make more condiments for his costume while polling everyone on whether ketchup or mustard were the best (ketchup won!) A budding young artist helped us design active finger puppets like swirling ghosts and flapping bats. And many kids wanted their faces painted as clowns, spiders, and dinosaurs! Thank you to our Event Director, Franz Palomares, and our volunteers, Ray Alma, Elana Amity, Sergei Aniskov, Dayna Gonzalez, and Elizabeth Winter. And many thanks to the wonderful staff of this welcoming center for all those dealing with cancer.
10/16/19 Mount Sinai Hospital
Thanks to all the kids who tuned into our drawing show at Mount Sinai Hospital! Amos the therapy dog was our guest star model and the kids asked us to draw him in superhero costumes like Bat Man and Super Man. Then we got more requests for drawings of Ariel and Aurora, which we gave out along with other halloweeny sketches of pumpkins, witches, and black kitty cats! Paws in the air to our awesome hosts, Elana Amity and Pedro Delgado!
We kicked off Halloween month right by making masquerade masks with the awesome New Alternatives kids! As always, they came up with totally innovative ideas for their projects, making masks that looked like a garden with butterflies and bees, a dancing bear, a Frankenstein mummy, a Transformer, and even one that was just nothing but googley eyes!
Thank you to our volunteers: Elana Amity, Joan Chiverton, Barbara Garrison, Willy Hartland, Stefano Imbert, Abby Merrill and Ellie Rahim and to our Event Director, Lisa LaBracio.
New Alternatives for Children provides health and social services to children with disabilities and chronic illnesses with a focus on foster care and adoptive homes.
09/18/19 Mount Sinai Hospital
We’re all puffed up about protecting the ocean for generations to come. So tonight we drew some of the many wonderful creatures who live there with the kids at Mount Sinai Hospital on our live drawing show! Our KidZone TV show is recorded in Mount Sinai’s own production studio and is beamed into all the kids’ rooms at once. The kids each have their own drawing kit and they call in or text their questions and comments to us and sometimes even join us in the studio!
Monster Magnets at the Society of Illustrators! 08/10/19
What a magnetic day! The legendary Society of Illustrators hosted our crafts party today with children from all over our foster, vulnerable, and adoptive care community. It was so good to come together to share imagination and laughs. These incredibly creative kids made up their own monster magnet characters, using “fabric paper” that they cut into many shapes and then decorated with markers, pipe cleaners, faux hair, and googley eyes. We made everything from lurking crocodiles to halloween creatures to robot aliens from outer space!
Thank you to New Alternatives for Children and NY Foundling for coordinating with the many beautiful families you serve. We are forever grateful to the Society of Illustrators for opening their space to us and for providing food and gifts for all the children. And we are thankful as always for our Ink Well volunteers who bring their rare skills and abundant kindness with them to each and every event: Elana Amity, Bil Donovan, Stefano Imbert, Lisa LaBracio, Ellie Rahim, Tim Savage, Adrian Sinnott, and Elizabeth Winter.
Star Wars Night with the Camp TLC Kids! 08/09/19
We had an out of this world time with the many many kids who came out for Camp TLC at the East L.A. Boys and girls club! These young Jedi masters helped us draw all the Star Wars characters and then invented their own original space-themed characters. We were in the perfect inspirational setting with lots of Star Wars cos-players roaming around, having light saber battles, and playing soccer with kids. A stellar time was had by all.
We were also very happy to share the 45 gift bags we packed, complete with sketch pad, pencils, and erasers so that the kids can keep on creating on their own. Thank you, Blick Arts, for making this possible! And a huge thank you to Caroline Baumis and Joseph Scott for organizing this special evening, and to our beloved volunteers: Jeremy Arambulo, Matthew Bennett, Valerie Hildreth, Nora Meek, and Michael Daedalus Kenny.
St. Mary’s Hospital 07/28/19
We were over the moon to be back drawing with our dear friends at St. Mary’s Hospital this weekend! Our pro volunteers Scott Brundage, Dennis Calero, Tim Savage (Event Director) and Joe Vissichelli all took the time to dream up original scenes with each child. The kids helped us design the characters, backgrounds, and to choose each and every color that filled it all in. Many lucky kids got their very own caricatures done too. 💛💛💛
Mount Sinai Hospital 06/19/19
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!