Making a difference through art doesn’t always require the hand of a fine artist. At least that’s what a man from south England has recently proved by raising thousands of pounds for charity through his viral amateur drawings of people’s pets.
Phil Heckels, 38, was trying to get his 6-year-old son to make a thank you card, so he decided he would draw the family dog, a black Labrador named Narla, to create some inspiration for the kid. The man then uploaded a photo of his drawing on Facebook, jokingly offering to sell it for £299 (around $390). Little did he know that within days he would be inundated with offers for his work, with thousands of messages from people asking him to draw their pets.
Heckels, a real estate agent without any art classes in his resume, then set up a dedicated Facebook page offering his services under the pseudonym of Hercule Van Wolfwinkle. Not long after, he received an avalanche of messages from people asking commissions of their pets, which went viral in no time.
So far, Heckels finished more than 220 such amusing portraits, all featuring cross-eyes, oversized limbs and quirky features abound. The best of it all, instead of charging for the drawings, Heckels asks for a donation to his online fundraiser for Turning Tides, a local homelessness charity his family has supported for years.
The fundraiser has now generated more than £20,000 ($26,000), all of which will go to the charity’s cause of ending homelessness. “It’s an absolute basic human need to have a roof over your head,” said Heckels, adding that he will keep drawing as long as people are donating and he is enjoying his work.