Father’s Day Proud Papa Gallery of Greatness

Some of the best things about being a child are the boundless energy, unbridled imagination and a future filled with endless possibilities. The best thing about a child’s art is that it contains elements of all these things… and that every work is a masterpiece.

In honor of Father’s Day, I asked my dad friends to submit their kids’ artwork. Whether it was something recent, something old, or commissioned specifically for this collection, the only requirement was that the papas be proud of it. What I received was an avalanche of awesomeness. Drawings. paintings and sculpture bursting with energy, imagination and endless possibilities. And lots and lots of color. If you know me and my design work, you won’t be surprised if I “borrow” a color palette or two for future projects.

Curating this collection was no small feat, and after considering several options, I chose to group them by subject matter. This creates a nice mix of age, gender and medium in each batch. I realize there are a lot of pieces here, and that most of you probably get bored at art galleries (I know I do)… but please look through the entire gallery. This is spectacular work with some very hilarious, touching — and even rage-filled — back stories.

So welcome to the inaugural* FATHER’S DAY PROUD PAPA GALLERY OF GREATNESS (brought to you by Starbucks). Enjoy the exhibit, and please touch the artwork — it’s even more awesome zoomed in!

Artwork credits key:
Title of work

Artist name, age
Father of artist (links to their website/blog)
Artist’s (or artist’s dad’s) description


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Hola Hand

pencil, crayon on paper
JJ, 3.5
Brent Almond
While he clearly got some help writing “Hola,” the hand trace and vibrant, Latino colors are all him. Definitely going to nick this palette for my next logo project…


What I Want to Be When I Grow Up
paint on paper
William, 5
Aaron Gouveia
Most kids had “doctor” or “police officer.” Not my budding scientist. He shocked all his teachers by busting out with “paleontologist,” and then went on to define what a paleontologist does!


May Flowers
paint, construction paper, hand on canvas
Sarah, 21 mos.
Michael Pace
Sarah is 21 months old and she just recently created this hand print on canvas using green paint and red construction paper. Since Sarah loves flowers, her teacher helped her create the rose petals on the top of her finger tips while learning that the month of May brings in many colorful flowers. Drawback from this lesson: We have a few rose bushes in our backyard and Sarah has been grabbing at the blooming roses. It’s some sort of miracle that she hasn’t gotten a hand full of thorns.


Father-Daughter Handprints
marker on paper
Rianne, 10 mos.
Ricky Shetty


acrylic on paper
Liam, 9 mos.
Josh Kitzmiller
Here’s my son’s very first work of art. Wasn’t exactly self-done, but… It’s awesome all the same! His name is Liam and he’s 9 months old. It’s kind of self-explanatory. A little art project done while I was at work and greeted with when I got home! Perfect gift.


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marker, crayon, tissue paper
Nicholas, 6
Scott Behson


paint on paper
Paul, 9
Mitch Chaitin


You Broke the Screen Door
marker, pencil, crayon on paper
Calvin, 6
Robert Duffer
Two years ago we had a 100 lb chocolate lab staying with us and it burst through the patio door. I was not pleased. I expressed this to the dog.


Transformer Family Portrait (Family Mode, Controller Mode)
markers on construction paper
PJ, 4 1/2
Chris Nichols
Picture 1 is a picture of me, my wife and PJ, along with a very small version of my car. I annotated the picture for you :). Picture 2 is what Picture 1 looks like after PJ folds it up into what he says is a video game controller. Making a controller out of a picture was pretty imaginative for the little bugger.


Next Year on the Bus
marker on paper
Sarah Jane, 5
Chris Bernholdt


L is for Love
pen on construction paper
Sami, 4
Brian Gawlak
In addition to cooking at home, I also homeschool my four year-old twins. Today’s assignment was to draw a picture using the letter of the day, which was L. I looked at the picture, confused, and asked my daughter: “What’s the L in the picture?” She replied: “L for love because I love you daddy.” I had to share #prouddad    


Family Portrait
tattoo ink, arm
Isabella, 6
Josh Misner
When my youngest daughter, Isabella, was only six, she had a, well, “interesting” way of drawing people, with extra-long torsos and short, tiny legs. She ended up drawing a family portrait of all six of us, and I fell in love with it so much that I had it tattooed on my arm as an upper armband. To this day, it is still the #1 most asked-about tattoo on my person; people go nuts for this one! 


Letters Under the Door    

pencil on notebook paper
Liam, 5
Oren Miller
Sometimes I’m in the bathroom just so I can have five uninterrupted minutes of peace. But I rarely get them, because my five year-old boy insists on sending me “letters” under the door. I can’t be mad at him. Sometimes his notes tell me he loves me, sometimes his notes tell me he loves his mom, sister, or dog, and sometimes his letters tell me he loves the world or the universe — complete with pictures of the Milky Way and the planets.


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Still Life Study One & Still Life Study Too
tempera paint on paper
Zack & Nick, 7
Bill Peebles
A brief description of these is mentioned in this blog post.


plastic cup, clay, paint, tile
SJ, 6
Larry Bernstein
We are not a particularly artistic family but this one is cool. People mention it when they see it hanging in the kitchen. It was made to celebrate Israel’s birthday.


paper plate, markers, stickers
J Bean, 4
Eric from Dad On the Run


Birthday Card

marker on paper
Andre, 5; Ario, 2; Alyre , 1
Pierre Calzadilla
My boys made me an awesome Birthday card — best one ever and all three were able to make their mark! My oldest drew Giant Sequoias and a bear to mark our awesome vacation in Yosemite for my birthday. 🙂


acrylic paint on canvas
Ally, 9
Jeremiah Delatycki
Our nine year old daughter Ally wanted to paint her mother a picture for her birthday. After carefully examining the color scheme of the adjoining rooms that would frame the picture, she decided to paint a sunset. But by the time I finally bought the canvas and the paint it was almost Father’s Day. So this should really be my picture, too. But the jury is still out on that.


finger paint on printer paper
Chris, 3
Carter Gaddis
From Father’s Day last year, hangs in my cubicle at work.


Electric Guitar under a Rock ‘n’ Roll Rainbow
wax crayon on white construction paper
Imogen, 5
James Hudyma
One year ago, before a miraculous surgery, my daughter was legally blind so I’m still very emotional about anything she is able to do now that she couldn’t before. Maybe this isn’t a great drawing for a typical five year-old but to me it is a masterpiece. She told me the lightning bursting out of the guitar shows that it is electric and she just added the rainbow because rainbows are pretty and then decided to color the rainbow with rock ‘n’ roll colours, whatever that means.


Flowers, hearts and music

markers, stickers & bows on construction paper
Barbara, 3
Tommy Riles


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Jungle scene
crayon and watercolor
Chris, 7
Brian Edsell
It’s a jungle scene, complete with a monkey, giraffe, elephant and coconuts. This was one of his last art projects from first grade.


Hanging in There

Juliana, 7
Christopher Lewis


Jellyfish Father & Son

crayon on placemat
Tucker, 4
Chris Routly
This crayon collaboration was created by my 4 year old son Tucker and me. I was doodling jellyfish (for an upcoming children’s book I am writing and illustrating) on the back of a restaurant placemat with those cheap crayons they bring for the kids, and Tucker decided that he wanted to draw one too. It was the first time he’s ever really taken much interest in attempting successfully to render something that is actually fairly easy to recognize when it was done. As a cartoonist myself, who has had dreams about drawing with my kids since before they were conceived, this was a really special moment for me.


The Family Farm

construction paper, craft foam, foam stickers
Adalyn, 3.8
James Zahn
Farming runs in my family, and while we don’t own a farm, we do a lot of gardening here at our house (known as “Rock Father HQ”) and it’s quite evident that the “farming bug” is present in my oldest daughter, Addie. She loves helping Daddy work the earth while wearing her John Deere “Dirt Makes Me Cuter” hat, and on those rainy days, she likes building the DUPLO Barn, or doing some similarly-themed crafts. This piece (created on April 11, 2013) has been a fixture on our refrigerator since completion — a concept created by my little one, and executed with a little assistance from Dad. Everything contained in “The Family Farm” is exactly where Addie wanted it — right down to all of our names floating in the clouds. I just helped with some grown-up things like cutting with scissors. My wife came home from work just as we were finishing this project, and summed it up in three words: “This is great.”


What I Would Do If I Had A Dragon

marker and tempera paint on paper
Adam, 8
Chris Bernholdt
The premise of the painting was if you had a mythical creature what would you do with him? Adam chose a dragon and since he likes hamburgers, he is having a cookout and the dragon is supplying the flame for the flame broiling. The Dragon also has a gold aura around him, which is his invisible protection dome that protects Adam and his hamburger! This is my favorite one of his. The Dragon’s name is Shock. He shoots lightning shockwaves out of his mouth, too. 🙂


Horse Nursery
watercolor on wood
Alyson, 10
Matt Todd
She loves horses and she loves art. This weekend, she painted a “nursery” for her toy horses – complete with polka-dots! She even painted the roof in stripes. She’s quite proud of it (and I am, too)!


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acrylic paint on canvas
Emme, 5
Mike Adamick
A Fathers Day gift in a pseudo-Jackson Pollock splattering of awesome



paper, crayons, stickers
Benjamin, 20 mos.
Henry Amador


Abstract Painting

watercolor on illustration board
Heidi, 2
Chris Bernholdt


Beautiful Rainbow

paint on paper
“The Boy,” 5
Nick Dawson
Paint on paper, folded in half and reopened.


Ariel and The Hulk
acrylic paint on canvas
Cameron, 5; Parker Grace, 2
Brandon Klinetobe


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Angry Birds: Robots!
marker on paper
Lukas, 5
James Austin
Depicts a new game he wants to invent, as detailed here.


Sumo Fishing
Magna Doodle, Photoshop
Nico, 3
Steve Spatucci
Nico was really cranking out the drawings when he first got his Magna Doodle, and I got in the habit of taking pictures of them. Most of them didn’t seem like anything specific, but when he did this one, it instantly looked like a sumo wrestler reeling in a fish, so I pulled it into Photoshop and added some simple color. That’s all his original line work – I didn’t add or remove anything. I hope he’ll look at in a few years with as much amazement as I had when I first saw it.


markers on paper, MS Paint
Loreli, 6 & 7
Eric D. Bolton
Sorry, I couldn’t just pick one. These all were created when she was six and seven. Starting from upper left and going counterclockwise: Samurai Power Rangers (6); Captain America (6); Spider-Man in Swim Shorts (6), Raphael (7); The Hulk (7); Red Samurai Ranger (7)


crayons on coloring book
Jay, 6
Carter Gaddis
Raymond, the mascot of the Tampa Bay Rays. Jay, my older son, used crayons to color it and add a caption on Father’s Day last year. It hangs in my cubicle at work.


Wall O’ Watercolors
watercolor on coloring book pages
Xander, 3.5
Scotty Schrier
These were all from an Easter water coloring book that my sister bought Xander. After coloring the bunnies, he wanted to go for something more ‘”heroic.” Also, if you look to the right, there’s my contribution… Molten Man!


Hello Kitty
markers on paper
Kiana, 7
Dave Taylor


Iron Man
crayon on pink construction paper
Matthew, 4
Zach Rosenberg
Today my son had a breakthrough. He usually flat-out will not draw “stuff” – we’ll say “draw a car” and he just scribbles. But today I asked him to draw Iron Man and he actually did it. So, attached is Matthew’s Iron Man. This was significant because it was really the first time he looked at something and copied it (in that special kid way). He also was able to mostly spell “Iron Man,” which was awesome. He was super proud!    


water bottle, glitter, Sculpey, yarn, cloth, colored pencils, crayon, stereo
Renny, 10
Kevin McFadin
Renny had to do a biography book report in English class for Black History Month, and they couldn’t opt for the “usual” such as MLK, Obama, Rosa Parks, etc … In her usual out-of-the-box manner, she stunned me with Hendrix. She devoured a book on Hendrix (“He played with his TEETH!!!!”), wrote the report, delivered and made a “bottle buddy” to go with it. I had no choice but to let Jimi and Renny take over…


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I hope you had as much fun looking through these as I did putting them together. There’s some real talent here! Which were your favorites?

A HUGE THANK YOU to all the dads who sent in the artwork. You are raising some amazingly creative and expressive kiddos.

*If I decide to make this an annual tradition, and you’d like to be notified when I’m accepting submissions, shoot me an email or leave your info in the comments.

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