The Department of Awesome Parenting just discovered yet another amazing parent who turns their child’s school lunches into a mini art show. Minneapolis-based freelance designer and illustrator Bryan Dunn, aka The Bag Dad, has been illustrating his son’s brown paper lunch bags for two years now, ever since the boy’s very first day of school.

Each colored pencil drawing takes Bryan about 20-30 minutes to complete. He usually works on them during his own lunch break. Because the bags don’t always make it back home after school, Dunn started photographing each bag before filling it with his son’s lunch.

You can see them all over on The Bag Dad Facebook page. You can also follow his lunch bag artwork here on Tumblr.

[via Twisted Sifter]

Taiwanese cardboard artist Kai-Xiang Xhong created this completely awesome cardboard Iron Man suit that’s not just a life-size model, it’s also wearable.

"I used pepakura technique. But I did not add any special color on the surface. Keeping the cardboard color and texture was deliberate. That’s my style."

Click here to watch a brief video in which Xhong describes his project.

Head over to the Stan Winston School of character Arts to check out more of Kai-Xiang Xhong’s cardboard creations.

[via GeekTyrant]

Today the Department of Awesome Parenting pays tribute to Chu Huang, a father in Zhejiang Province, China who, instead of simply telling his young son that he can be anything he wants when he grows up, spent a month building a spectacular golden Iron Man suit for his son to grow into.
Huang is a doctor who works long hours at his own clinic and is rarely able to take a day off. His professional life is so busy that he mostly sees his son at night just in time to read him a bedtime story. He wanted to do something special for the boy and, knowing how much he loves fictional characters in armor, decided to handcraft a full-size Iron Man suit just for him.

"Having no prior experience in crafting such costumes, Huang spent over a month scouring threads on hobby forums and websites, seeking advice and instructions. Over the next month, Huang spent his free time in the evening crafting the suit; drafting and cutting the pieces out of EVA plastic sheets, spray painting the pieces, and then fixing the pieces together and making final adjustments to the suit. His son watched him intently throughout the entire crafting process."

Huang’s Iron Man suit features a Chinese flag on the chest and a yin-yang symbol on the palms of its hands. His son was so excited by the completed suit that he immediately asked his dad to put it on so he could show his kindergarten classmates.
Visit RocketNews24 to learn more about Chu Huang, Iron Dad.

Today the Department of Awesome Parenting pays tribute to Chu Huang, a father in Zhejiang Province, China who, instead of simply telling his young son that he can be anything he wants when he grows up, spent a month building a spectacular golden Iron Man suit for his son to grow into.

Huang is a doctor who works long hours at his own clinic and is rarely able to take a day off. His professional life is so busy that he mostly sees his son at night just in time to read him a bedtime story. He wanted to do something special for the boy and, knowing how much he loves fictional characters in armor, decided to handcraft a full-size Iron Man suit just for him.

"Having no prior experience in crafting such costumes, Huang spent over a month scouring threads on hobby forums and websites, seeking advice and instructions. Over the next month, Huang spent his free time in the evening crafting the suit; drafting and cutting the pieces out of EVA plastic sheets, spray painting the pieces, and then fixing the pieces together and making final adjustments to the suit. His son watched him intently throughout the entire crafting process."

Huang’s Iron Man suit features a Chinese flag on the chest and a yin-yang symbol on the palms of its hands. His son was so excited by the completed suit that he immediately asked his dad to put it on so he could show his kindergarten classmates.

Visit RocketNews24 to learn more about Chu Huang, Iron Dad.

After breaking a bone and getting stuck with an itchy cast for six weeks, some people make the best of it by decorating that cast. mental_floss assembled a great collection of examples of people turning an unfortunate occurrence into an awesome opportunity for self-expression.

Nicholas Frausto decorated his mother’s cast with Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night. Artist Zak Kinsella used the Doctor’s TARDIS to transform his friend Laura Keeney’s cast into one capable of traveling through time and space. J. Giz Patterson used spray paint, paint pens and metal spikes to turn his cast into a punked out x-ray. And, perhaps best of all, Katie of Love Paper Paint helped turn her injured son into his Iron Man, his favourite superhero.

Visit mental_floss to check out more fantastically decorated casts.

San Francisco-based design professor and illustrator Miguel Cardona transforms ordinary paper coffee cups into bold works of art. Because of the curved surface of his canvas of choice, each piece is rendered freehand and he thoroughly enjoys the challenges that this presents:

"You have this three-dimensional object that is in your hands, you can pull the cup in a different direction and hold the pen still. You can also hide a lot of flawed perspective. You don’t need a desk, it can be done anywhere, and to protect it, you can stack it in another blank cup. The cup itself can hold your art supplies and is itself, a display stand, it’s quite the perfect design."

Cardona’s subjects vary from pop culture character and icons to robots, monsters, and even bodily organs. But these beautiful illustrations aren’t quite as awesome as what he does with them. Miguel sells each finished piece for $20 and donates 100% of the proceeds to Project Night Night, which donates baby blankets, children’s books, and toys to children in homeless shelters.

Visit Miguel Cardona’s website to check out more of his fantastic illustrated coffee cups.

[via Design Taxi and Cool Hunting]

The Department of Awesome Parenting just got even more awesome thanks to the ongoing efforts of an inspired pair of artist parents in the Kirby family. Every single day they decorate napkins for their two sons’ school lunches with an endless parade of characters from movies, comics, cartoons, and some fantastic character mashups as well.

"The napkin images are shared at lunch with their friends and teachers. The napkins are themed to the happenings in or around all of lives."

The images you see here are just a small sampling of their illustrated napkins. Follow them here on Tumblr for a complete gallery and to keep up with each new creation.

[via Neatorama]

For his ongoing X-ray Series French illustrator Chris Panda reveals the skeletal anatomy of cartoon, comic book and video game characters.

It’s a delightfully unconventional play on classic colouring books. But jeez, we never realized that Jessica Rabbit was suffering from such severe spinal curvature. Ouch.

Click here to view the rest of Chris Panda’s awesome X-ray Series.

[via Obvious Winner]

Ohio balloon artist Jeff Wright of Wright Entertainment (previously featured here) has created an awesome new balloon suit. We’ve already seen him decked out as Balloon Buzz Lightyear and Balloon Mario riding Balloon Yoshi. Now Jeff is back in all his inflatable splendour as Balloon Iron Man.

Jeff made his inflatable Iron Man armor using 500 balloons after being challenged to do so by blinkbox, who wanted to do something special to celebrate their early digital release of Iron Man 3.

Jeff, who works as a volunteer in an orphanage in Bolivia, jumped at the challenge — and the result is stunning. Made up of hundreds of balloons carefully intertwined, he has artfully recreated the legendary red and yellow suit with meticulous attention to detail.

Jeff comments: “I was trying to decide what costume to do next when I got an email from blinkbox. I’m a huge fan of the Iron Man films and couldn’t resist the challenge. After some careful planning I was ready and asked a friend to film the whole process right here in Bolivia.”

Visit Laughing Squid to check out a couple of Jeff’s videos showing how he made the Iron Man suit and how to make your own inflatable Iron Man helmet.

We recently featured an awesome LEGO sculpture of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles that was on display at the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con. Here are two more amazing superhero sculptures created by LEGO’s Master Builders: a 7-foot-tall Superman and 6.5-foot-tall Iron Man. It looks like Iron Man’s eyes and arc reactor actually light up too. Super awesome!

[via Nerd Approved]

Spiritual Hero is an awesome series of sleek digital renderings, created by Italian artist Antonio Strafella, envisioning comic book, movie, and cartoon characters as beautiful religious icons. He says of his own work:

“These icons have various aspects in common: saints do miracles and superheroes have superpowers, both are venerated, opening the conflict between faith and zealotry.”

[via Beautiful Decay]