If you need a brilliant storyline, just ask the Gilda’s Club kids! All we had to do was ask them what they saw in their mind’s eye and we wound up with space chariots, metal birds with jet packs, and slime people!Thanks to Elana Amity, Dennis Calero, Oded Naaman, Timothy Savage, Elizabeth Winter for volunteering and to Franz Palomares for directing this event. It is a very special thing to create together when we or our loved ones are going through cancer. We deeply thank these children for letting us be a part of their healing circle at Gilda’s Club.
With the help of Bellevue Hospital staff, we asked children receiving in-patient psychiatric care to visualize what makes them feel peaceful strength: is it playing sports, laughing with friends, exploring nature? Then the kids kept those images close to their hearts by drawing them on their very own t-shirts!
They did a marvelous job, creating moons with clouds drifting by, butterflies visiting flowers in a garden, figures doing martial arts, and even an adorable potato character.
A huge thanks to Blick Art Materials for their support in providing fabric markers and t-shirts, and to our Event Director, Dennis Calero, for coordinating. We are so grateful for all the energy and support that continues to make these important bonding events possible.
Handmade Coloring Books from Peter and Fia de Séve! 05/22/21
We were thrilled to receive these handmade coloring books from IWF Board Member, Peter de Séve, and his daughter, Fia.
We jumped on the vid chat to thank them and Fia explained that she and her dad worked together to design characters and scenes of courage and strength in the hopes that our kids may feel that power in themselves as they face their challenges and that they may know we are supporting and encouraging them every step of the way.
Indeed we are, Fia, and we’ll be sending these on very soon.
Luther Burgess of New Alternatives for Children finished up his original brand design with Ink Well volunteer and Broadway show poster master, Stefano Imbert.
We’ve been working with Luther for a month to create a unique brand all his own, incorporating imagery like his signature mustache and glasses, and symbols that speak to him like a crown, NYC skyline, playing cards and an all-around art deco style.Luther says he wants everyone to “Show Your Colors” with the world, sharing how important it is to express yourself as you are, to love and be proud of everything that makes you YOU.
We’re grateful to Luther for letting us be a part of this creative journey and for being such a supportive voice for others striving to express themselves.Thanks to Ink Well Event Director, Lisa LaBracio, and NAC’s Linda Peck who organized these opportunities to work together. And also huge thanks to our other volunteer artists in the earlier mentor sessions, Joan Chiverton, Matthew Bennett, and Elizabeth Winter.
Luther is taking his logo to the next level, filling his Basquiat-style crowns with symbolism and very clever designs like forming letters out of clusters of numbers and making faces appear in the negative space between initials. Our featured Ink Well artist, Joan Chiverton, helped him pull elements of his own signature style into his work, like his green glasses and mustache. And another Ink Weller, Elizabeth Winter, helped him explore the Art Deco influence she recognized in his decisive lines and strong, radial rays.
Thank you very much to Linda Peck for hosting again. This is a fascinating creative journey and we’re honored to be a part of it!
Cartoon characters bloomed as we celebrated Earth Day and the arrival of spring with the Gilda’s Club kids! We anthropomorphised sunflowers, roses, and dahlias then composited them into a final scene. The kids helped us come up with a story about how all the flowers were chit chatting as a gardener walked quietly up in amazement. She never knew her garden had so much personality!
Thanks to our volunteers, Elana Amity, Dennis Calero, Pedro Delgado, and Elizabeth Winter and to the Gilda’s Club staff for helping to organize such a bountiful fun time. And a huge bow to the fantastic imaginations and great energy brought by all the kids!
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.
What a privilege to meet our latest friend from New Alternatives for Children. This very promising artist asked us to help him create a logo that incorporated his style and the things he cares about most. We followed his already very advanced lead and taught him a few tips about his favorite new medium, a digital drawing tablet.
Thank you very much to Linda Peck for hosting, our Event Director, Lisa LaBracio for leading the lessons and volunteers, Matthew Bennett and Elizabeth Winter for all the great tips from the visual effects and animation trades!
Homemade Valentine’s Day Cards with the kids at Childhelp! 2/13/21
Love and gratitude beamed from the Childhelp kids’ homemade Valentine’s Day cards! The kids created the most ingenious characters and messages like a hotdog who said, “I relish our time together,” a lollipop who said, “I think you’re sweet,” and they helped us come up with our own scenes like an octopus who was “stuck” on a pufferfish, a ladybug who didn’t want to “bug” anyone but asked if you’d be their Valentine, and on and on.
The kids showed encouragement for one another as we all learned new skills together. We’re proud of them and hope they feel pride in their beautiful work. Every day is a chance to grow and heal together as a community and we thank the Childhelp staff for helping us put this special night together, and our volunteers for sharing their animation, character design, and multimedia techniques! Ink Well volunteers: Jenny Fine, Tim Savage, Peter de Séve, and Elizabeth Winter.
Quick Sketch Tips with the Gilda’s Club Kids 01/07/21
Such a joy to join with the Gilda’s Club kids for a night of drawing fun! We taught about negative space, action lines, facial expressions and making characters out of finger outlines. The kids picked right up on it, making farmer girls, coy butterflies, and studious explorers. Then they helped us build our own scenes like aviators zipping around the sky and juggling clowns being tickled by lions!
Thanks to IWF Event Director, Franz Palomares, for hosting, Elizabeth Winter for volunteering, and all the Gilda’s Club staff and kids for joining in the fun!
Gilda’s Club: a network of clubhouses supporting people whose lives have been affected by cancer.
Party Animal Mask Making with New Alternatives for Children 12/29/20
We were so happy to join the wonderful NAC crew to mix and match giraffes and crocodiles, monkeys, and toucans at our New Year’s eve mask-making party! Now the kids are really ready to roarrrr in 2021.
Thank you to IWF Event Director, Lisa LaBracio, and NAC Support Specialist, Shelsey Valdez, for organizing and to Founder/volunteer, Elizabeth Winter, for sharing her zebra and Monsieur Jellyfish mask-making skills! New Alternatives provides support for children in foster and adoptive care, many with special medical needs.
Homemade Holiday Gifts for the Children of Bellevue Hospital 12/08/20
The children of Bellevue Hospital are being treated for severe psychiatric issues and so often must remain in the hospital, away from home for extended periods of time, even over the holidays. To make sure they know how much we’re thinking of them now and always, we’re sending each child a design-your-own holiday stocking, filled with art supplies, including fabric markers they can use to decorate their stockings. We also called upon all our incredible artist volunteers to make special hand-made cards for each child, filled with messages of love and support. Special thanks to Maria Scrivan for donating a box of her “Forget Me Nat” and “Nat Enough” book series and to Victoria Kann who also donated from her “Pinkalicious” series to give to the kids as stocking stuffers. And to our art supply sponsors Blick Artsfor these fabulous design-your-own stockings and fabric markers!
Ink Wellers who hand made cards for the kids: Matthew Bennett, Howard Beckerman, Dennis Calero, Tom Cardone, Joan Chiverton, Pedro Delgado, Bil Donovan, Michelin Hess, Victoria Kann, Lisa LaBracio, Marty Macaluso, Abby Merril, Oded Naaman, Tim Savage, Maria Scrivan, Elizabeth Winter
Folded Drawings with the New Alternatives Kids 11/12/20
We had another big drawing party with the beautiful kids in medical, foster, and family support care at New Alternatives for Children. This time we all made folded drawings where we take a piece of paper, fold it in fourths, draw the head, then the torso, then the legs, then the feet without looking at the whole, and in the end we all unveiled our hilarious, collaborative creatures!
Thanks to Ink Well volunteers, Matthew Bennett, Dennis Calero, Willy Hartland, Tim Savage, Joseph Scott, Peter de Séve, and to our Ink Well Event Director, Lisa LaBracio, for putting everything together!!
Halloween Totes with the New Alternatives Kids 10/14/20
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 and to Blick Arts for the beautiful canvas totes!
New Alternatives for Children is a center for children with disabilities and chronic illness with a focus on foster and adoptive families. #fostercare #adoption
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. 💛
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!!!
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.
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.
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.
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.
We drew fabulous fables with the kids at Mount Sinai Hospital today! Our illustrious host, Elana Amity, described classic Aesop’s tales like The Fox and the Crow and the Tortoise and the Hare then showed how to portray the stories in one telling drawing.
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. 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 and to our art supply sponsors, Blick Arts, for the beautiful paper and drawing supplies!
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!
We are grateful to our Ink Well artists, Willy Hartland, of “Beavis & Butthead” fame and award-winning short, “New York City Sketchbook.” And Pedro Delgado who currently works on “Our Cartoon President.” And to our Event Director, Elana Amity, a fine artist who has exhibited around the world.
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.
We hosted a Disney Thanksgiving on our KidZone TV drawing show this month! Mickey and Minnie and Donald Duck and more were all dining, dancing, laughing, and being grateful for one another in scene after scene, requested by the kids who called in or texted from their rooms. Then we were thrilled to have two kids come draw with us in the studio and another who came down to serenade us, singing the entire Mickey Mouse theme as we drew!
Thank you to all the kids who participated in this fantastic feast of the imagination. Happy thanksgiving to you from our devoted hosts, Elana Amity and Pedro Delgado, and from all the artists at the Ink Well!
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
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.
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.
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!