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Crappy Pet Portraits Work Wonders

Updated: Dec 6, 2022

Englishman draws 'rubbish' pet portraits and ends up raising, thus far, over £25,000 for charity.

Phil Heckels, 38, from West Sussex, had never drawn in his life. But one day found himself making ‘thank you’ cards with his 6 year old son and had to be creative. He drew some doodles on the cards and later posted them on Facebook as the work of fictitious artist "Hercule van Wolfwinkle".

To his surprise, his friends thought they were original and funny. People asked him to draw portraits of their pets and at first Hercule did it for free. But after the word spread and he started to get more requests, he decided to use his ‘talent’ for a good cause.

He set up a Facebook and JustGiving page and started to raise money for UK homeless charity Turning Tides and he has raised more than £25,000 through his “crappy” drawings so far. He said he "gave up counting" when he had received at least 3,500 requests for pet portraits.

"Phil is exceptionally self-effacing but he has really brought a smile to so many at such a difficult time,” Ruth Poyner, Head of Fundraising and Communications at Turning Tides, said.

On Hercule van Wolfwinkle's JustGiving page he describes his chosen charity: Turning Tides is the largest provider of services for single homeless men and women in West Sussex and they believe everyone has the right to a home, regardless of the difficulties and issues they may face in their lives. Turning Tides know anyone’s life can unravel into homelessness, so they bring together compassionate individuals and organisations who work tirelessly to transform the lives of people in our local community and to change perceptions of homelessness.


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