An Eden Prairie illustrator's daily doodles on his son's paper lunch bags have gone viral and earned him the nickname "Bag Dad."
Bryan Dunn's lunch bag cartoons have been featured on blogs by Ellen DeGeneres and Amy Poehler, among others, his Facebook page has over 5,000 likes, and the lunch bags were quite a hot topic on Reddit.
It all started when Dunn's son, Rowan, had to bring a paper-bag lunch to camp due to his dairy allergy. As a way for Rowan to feel confident and for him to keep track of the brown paper bag, Dunn drew cartoons on it, the Pioneer Press says.
Now, a few years have passed, and every night Dunn sits down and sketches out "whatever random thought comes to his head" on the lunch bag, he told the newspaper. On Creatureland Studio, Dunn wrote sometimes Rowan, now 7, has requests for drawings, either from him or other classmates.
The bags are known as "collectors items" at Rowan's school – he's kept just a few, and the rest he hands out to other kids at lunch, Dunn wrote on Facebook. Some teachers have also gotten some and others are hung on the wall in the art classroom.
"It's funny, my son, wife and I are so accustomed to my drawing on things, that when we hear of reactions like [kids excited to bring one home] we're surprised, to us they're just used lunch bags," he wrote on Creatureland Studio.
Dunn said all the attention was surreal, telling the Star Tribune, "I mean, they're just lunch bags. I think people like that I'm doing it for Rowan, and doing it every day."
But Dunn said on Facebook that he likes to get all the attention, "mostly because when I show the boy things like this he says 'Dad, we're famous!'"
Dunn told the Pioneer Press, drawing on the bags is "part of building that memory for when he's older of a parent who just did something."
It's the new form of the lunchbox note, and he's not the only Twin Cities father sketching drawings on lunch bags. The Star Tribune says Brent Schoonover, an illustrator who lives in St. Paul, drew a cartoon on his daughter Josie's lunch bag when she started preschool – and when she liked it, he decided to continue the daily doodles.
Both Schoonover and Dunn have been told they should sell the lunch bags online, but they both agree that for now they're just for their kids.
Dunn plans to keep drawing cartoons for his son until he loses interest, but he's stretching it out as long as he can by drawing things that are in line with what Rowan and his friends like, the Pioneer Press says.
After that, there's always the Internet, Dunn said.
Dunn and Schoonover's lunch bags were also featured on KARE 11, watch the video here.
For other parents that have doodled on their kids' lunches, check out the Twitter hashtag #lunchbagart.