Artist and illustrator Dave DeVries takes children’s drawings of imaginary monsters and superheroes and uses a combination of acrylic paint, color pencils and an airbrush to render them with awesome realism. Part of his process includes interviewing the child artists to get an even better feel for what their creatures really look like. What begin as strange and cute doodles end up as truly terrifying, yet sometimes also hilarious, glimpses of a child’s imagination brought to life.

"It began at the Jersey Shore in 1998, where my niece Jessica often filled my sketchbook with doodles. While I stared at them, I wondered if color, texture and shading could be applied for a 3D effect. As a painter, I made cartoons look three dimensional every day for the likes of Marvel and DC comics, so why couldn’t I apply those same techniques to a kid’s drawing? That was it… no research, no years of toil, just the curiosity of seeing Jessica’s drawings come to life."

This ongoing project is called The Monster Engine. DeVries is currently accepting commissions for new pieces. He also published a book and limited edition poster of his Monster Engine illustrations, both of which are available here.

[via Lost At E Minor and Marvelous]

Macau-based web designer and developer Varun Thota uses a toy plane that his dad found inside a chocolate Kinder Egg to create an ongoing photography series entitled My Toy Plane, in which a commercial airliner appears to soar over dramatic cityscapes. If it weren’t for the presence of his arm in each shot, you’d probably assume that the plane itself was real. We nearly did.

Through the photos, he not only gets to explore his interest in aviation, but also to build relationships with the people around him. He says, “The thing I enjoy most about the series is how fun it is to include other people in it. It’s always fun to show people the plane, tell them the story and then ask them for a helping hand in taking the shot.”

Follow Varun Thota on Instagram to check out more awesome photos from his My Toy Plane series.

[via My Modern Metropolis]

When French illustrator Thomas Lamadieu looks up at the patches of blue sky between city buildings, he imagines fanciful characters existing in the geometric gaps formed by the neighboring buildings. Lamadieu shoots photos of those patches of sky and illustrates them for an ongoing series entitled Sky Art. Thus far he has drawn pictures on the skies over streets and enclosed courtyards in France, Germany, Belgium and Canada.

Head over to Thomas Lamadieu’s website to view more images from his whimsical Sky Art series.

[via Colossal]

When you’re walking around town something as ordinary as a bent railing might not draw your attention at all, let alone make you wonder how it happened in the first place. But if you’re a street artist named OaKoAk (previously featured here), you don’t just notice the damaged railing, you envision a tiny Bruce Lee as the cause and then make it happen so the rest of us can enjoy the fruits of your awesome imagination.
[via OaKoAK]

When you’re walking around town something as ordinary as a bent railing might not draw your attention at all, let alone make you wonder how it happened in the first place. But if you’re a street artist named OaKoAk (previously featured here), you don’t just notice the damaged railing, you envision a tiny Bruce Lee as the cause and then make it happen so the rest of us can enjoy the fruits of your awesome imagination.

[via OaKoAK]

It’s been a few months since we last paid a visit to the Department of Awesome Animal Hybrids. Netherlands-based artist Redmer Hoekstra creates beautifully surreal illustrations that combine animals and humans with machines and everyday objects. Hoekstra’s hybrids are wonderfully imaginative. The pages of a book are the wings of an owl. A mother pigeon is a teapot feeding a brood of gaping teacup chicks in their serving tray nest. The metallic skin of a submarine is peeled like a banana to reveal a humpback whale inside.

Visit Redmer Hoekstra’s Behance page to check out more of his dreamlike illustrations. He also has an online shop offering books, prints and postcards.

[via Colossal]

All of these fantastic photos were taken in the same 11.8 x 13.5 x 7.8 ft space and without the use of any photo manipulation. As though recreating worlds that only exist inside her dreams, Korean artist JeeYoung Lee painstakingly transforms her small studio, sometimes over the course of weeks and months, into surreal and vibrant worlds. Within those handmade worlds Lee then photographs herself. The amount of time and effort she devotes to creating and setting up the props and then lighting the scene - all to capture a single photo - is extraordinary.

Each elaborate scene has its own backstory, some are inspired by Lee’s own life while others have roots in old Korean fables. Sometimes it takes a moment to locate her, but she’s always there.

JeeYoung Lee’s awesome self-portraits are currently being shown in a solo exhibition entitled Stage of Mind at the Opiom Gallery in Opio, France through March 7, 2014.

Visit the Opiom Gallery website for more photos.

[via My Modern Metropolis]

English artist Craig Davison creates series of paintings that beautifully illustrate the awesome power of childhood imagination and our limitless ability to play pretend as our favorite movie characters. He draws from a wide variety of movies, but the pieces seen here all revolve around Star Wars.

Kids play their hearts in the foreground while their shadows loom larger than life in the background as the fictional characters they’re pretending to be. Tree branches have become light sabers, cardboard tubes and a hair dryer work equally well as blasters, a garbage can and a colander are all you need to be R2-D2 and C3PO, and a pair of headphones serve as Princess Leia’s cinnamon bun hairdo.

Visit Craig Davison’s website to check out more of his delightful and nostalgic artwork. Then go grab a tree branch and meet us at the park for a light saber duel.

[via Nerd Approved]

We just learned about a wonderful new addition to the Department of Awesome Parenting. It’s a family tradition, called Dinovember, created by writer Refe Tuma and his wife. Every night in November, after their children have gone to bed, the pair set about creating a new scene involving their children’s dinosaur toys which makes it appear as though the tiny dinos came to life overnight and had all sorts of mischievous fun. They cook, paint, pretend to be knights and dragons, take other toys hostage, and play the kids’ boardgames. They’ve even teepeed the bathroom.

Tuma explains, “In the age of iPads and Netflix, we don’t want our kids to lose their sense of wonder and imagination. In a time when the answers to all the world’s questions are a web-search away, we want our kids to experience a little mystery. All it takes is some time and energy, creativity, and a few plastic dinosaurs. Childhood is fleeting, so let’s make sure it’s fun while it lasts.”

The photos you see here are just a small sampling of this delightful project. Follow each new installment of Dinovember over on Facebook.

[via My Modern Metropolis]

This awesome mural is the work of Waone, half of the Ukranian street art duo known as Interesni Kazki (previously featured here), and Seth Globepainter. The calligraphic work was done by Viktoria and Vitalina Lopukhiny. The artists collaborated to create this amazing piece at the Kyiv Mohyla Academy in Kiev, Ukraine. They titled the mural “Vita sine litteris mors est” which means “Life without literature is death.”

[via Interesni Kazki and Vandalog]

Stephanie Kaloi’s young son recently underwent knee surgery and was sent home with a walker and knee immobilizers. Unfortunately he hates using them because of the pain associated with first being made to use them while he was still in hospital. But something amazing happened. Following an Instagram conversation with fellow Star Wars fans, Stephanie’s friend, comic artist and illustrator Ben Dewey, transformed the little medical walker into an awesome AT-AT Walker.

"To say this is above and beyond any expectations we had is an understatement: this thing is incredible. Dude loves being able to call Darth Vader (his favorite character) for instructions, and has mastered the sound of a laser being fired. More importantly, the goal was accomplished: our son happily walked all around our living room firing lasers at us for nearly an hour without once being scared that the walker would cause him pain. He’ll need the walker for another three weeks, and having him happy to use it is a huge leap forward for his recovery.”

The Force is strong with this little boy.

Visit Offbeat Families to view more photos of the AT-AT Walker.

[via Neatorama and Offbeat Families]