“My Brand” at Covenant House of Los Angeles 05/05/22
Such a meaningful time connecting with the young adults at the Covenant House tonight! We all searched for three words that spoke about who we are, what feels true, and then applied that to our favorite form of artistic expression. Together we branded dance, music, video game, beauty and fashion lines!
We came up with an activity idea that’s downright FLAPALICIOUS! Funky Birds was a drawing activity designed by our new Event Director, Micheline Hess, that’s perfect for this time of year. It encouraged the imaginations of the kids at Bellevue Hospital, to take flight as they drew and accessorized their pick of the many birds that live in NYC and return each Spring.
Bluejays got boots, Robbins got ready, and Pigeons got primped on rich black paper books we sent along with oil pastel crayons that can double as paint. The kids really made these vibrant colors, pop!
Enormous gratitude to Tifara León, who coordinated this event with us and guided the kids along at Bellevue!
Our hearts are full of gratitude to Fia de Séve and her father, Peter, who hand crafted these beautiful coloring books, full of empowering adventures for the Ink Well kids!
Fia raised the money to print these books herself and now she and her mom, Randall, are delivering them in person, along with sets of crayons, to our partners at New Alternatives for Children, Bellevue Hospital, and St. Mary’s Hospital.
Resources like these have been so invaluable to the children we serve throughout these past couple years of restricted in-person activities. We are so heartened to see young people like Fia catch the spark of supporting others in their community, especially through the healing power of art.
Thank you to this talented family of artists for sharing your gift with the Ink Well kids!
Aaand round 2 of 1-point prospective drawing with the Red Door Community kids. This time Dennis Calero welcomed artists, Elana Amity, Stefano Imbert, and Elizabeth Winter to the scene and together they watched in amazement as after a quick lesson, the kids were creating twirling roses, spinning one-toothed robots, drifting hot air balloons, beaming rainbows, and a super galactic daisy windmill gear thingy!
One-point perspective drawing with Red Door Community kids! Dennis Calero taught how to turn most any object 3D using simple techniques and the kids took off with it, making pyramids, spheres, and all kinds of original characters.
Thanks to Pedro Delgado, Timothy Savage, and Elizabeth Winter for volunteering! And thanks to this wonderful center, supporting families experiencing cancer.
Covenant House of California – Claymation 101 03/03/22
We got to join the Covenant House of California youth for some sweet Claymation 101 this week!
Right off the bat these bright young things picked up on how to keep it simple and pick a few traits to make your characters unique. We talked about letting your imagination form the clay as you go and explored techniques like how to make parts stick using cross hatching, how to blend colors, and accentuate features to convey a mood.
Then we secured our phone cameras to take three steady snaps as the figures moved across the screen and next thing you know, you’ve got your first claymation short!
In just an hour, this talented crew kicked out original characters like a robot panda, a bouncing blue frog, twirling ghostly octopus, a proud Viking Santa, a determined inch worm and more. They went with their instincts and used pencils to create puppets and a Broadway-bound singer even gave our tiger a triumphant theme song!
The possibilities are infinite when we form supportive communities like this and give each other creative space. We talked with each youth about what they like most about the arts and they were hungry to try animation, film, ceramics, theater, graphic design, and vocal arts. We shared how working as a Production Assistant is how many of us got our start in animation and also how there are creative aspects to every field nowadays and that everything from libraries to corporate offices and schools need people with creative abilities. We know they will go far and hope to have helped spark some ideas of how to begin.
Thanks to our artists, Matthew Bennett (Blue Sky, Raven, Nickelodeon, Insomniac Games…) and Elizabeth Winter (Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, Paramount, MTV…) for volunteering.
Mardi Gras Mask Making with New Alternatives for Children 02/16/2022
The bright minds of New Alternatives for Children helped us design original Mardi Gras masks tonight. The kids marched out a marvelous parade of carnival creations like Pig and Panda masks, a Sonic the Hedgehog reveler, Rainbow Sparkles Everywhere designs and more using feathers, beads, glitter and all sorts of other fun materials that we shipped to them in advance.
Thanks to our volunteers, Stefano Imbert, Tim Savage, Elizabeth Winter, and Zane Yarbrough for your guidance, and to our Event Director, Lisa LaBracio for coordinating and leading this awesome night!!
Handmade Cards with the Red Door Community 12/15/21
We are honored to participate in Red Door Community programming to support children facing a parent’s cancer diagnosis, treatment, or loss. At this event we were heartened by how much the kids helped one another learn to draw holiday characters like reindeer, Santa, menorahs, and more. It’s these “found families” that can truly carry us through anything.
Thanks to our volunteer artists Elana Amity, Tim Savage, and Elizabeth Winter for leading the night’s activities!
New Alternatives for Children: Homemade cards & gifts 12/01/2021
Give the NAC kids some paper, markers, and tape and you will get boundless wonderful creations back! At this event we created holiday cards and decorations that the kids could give as gifts to their loved ones like: stand-up elfs, a “wolf-mer-croc,” talking presents, big-eyed trees, Sonic Santas, and much more!
Thanks to Lisa LaBracio, who is the Ink Well’s Event Director for all activities at New Alternatives, for guiding this lovely night. And to Matthew Bennett, Tim Savage and Elizabeth Winter for volunteering!
Ideas were falling like leaves from the New Alternatives kids! Together we designed canvas trick or treat totes and original leaf characters. The kids thought up the best haunted house robot storm stories ever and blew us away with their designs.
We at the Ink Well Foundation are always working to keep our footprint light to leave a healthier environment for generations to come. Thanks to Blick Art Materials we gave each child their own renewable art supply kit!
Huge hugs to our Event Director, Lisa LaBracio for guiding us with such warmth and support and to our volunteers Matthew Bennett, Oded Naaman, Timothy Savage, Joseph Scott, Elizabeth Winter, and Zane Yarbrough for sharing your time, wisdom, and encouragement.
“How to Draw Emotions” activity with the Red Door Community Kids! 8/26/2021
This week we brought animators and comic book illustrators to show the Red Door Community kids how to draw any emotion in just a few lines!
We kicked it off with a challenge from the kids: “show happy in seven lines or less!” Zane Yarbrough took to his sketch pad and showed arcs under the eyes, naturally content eyebrows, a great big smile, and with the sixth and seventh stroke, some darling dimples. Some siblings took it to the next level by drawing curious aliens vying with goofy ghost busters while hungry tigers hunted in the bushes below! Oded Naaman showed how when tigers are hungry, they get furrowed brows and Jenny Fine showed that when girls get sleepy after so much running around, both eyelids can close with drowsiness. Elizabeth Winter wanted to see what flowers look like when they’re worried so all the kids had a go at drawing dizzy daisies, riveted roses, and trembling tulips. We got one last big challenge from a boy who said, “so how would you make a robot look happy?!” and Joseph Scott, with his background on Futurama, brought out an old metal friend who loves to joke around!
Thanks so much to the Red Door Community for having us by. The Red Door Community 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.
Handmade Coloring Books by Peter & Fia de Séve for Children at Bellevue Hospital 7/25/2021
So touched by these photos, sent to us by Bellevue Hospital. These children are receiving in-patient care for psychiatric challenges and are often isolated from family and friends for long periods of time. While we await pandemic restrictions to lift and our in-person events to resume, we’ve been sending the kids creative projects through the mail.
Here they are filling handmade coloring books that world-renowned character designer and illustrator, Peter de Séve, and his daughter, Fia, made especially for them. The characters and scenes depict courage, strength, and friendship and were sent with a personalized letter, letting the kids know they are in our thoughts every day and we can’t wait to see them again!
A big part of what the Ink Well does is make sure the kids we work with at hospitals and foster care centers each have their own art kits so they can keep creating on their own after our events. Here’s our trusty Event Director, Timothy Savage, handing off the latest goods to St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children today!
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, Micheline 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!!!