It all began with “crappy” pet drawings. Weeks later, this dad from West Sussex, England, has raised over £5,000 ($6,500) for a homeless charity with his hilarious animal portraits!
A few weeks ago, Phil was making some thank you cards with his six-year-old. While making the cards, he thought of doodling a couple pictures of their dog.
Phil is no artist; he has never drawn in his life. And as he expected, his dog drawings turned out to be “rubbish.”
He decided to share the doodles on his Facebook just for laughs. He said in the caption that his pet portraits were on sale for “£299. No VAT.” as a joke.
Surprisingly, a friend commented and asked him to draw her dog. Many more followed, and by the end of the day, he had drawn around five pet portraits. Everyone—including him—had a good laugh about the funny drawings.
Phil’s post was shared many times, and that’s when he started getting messages from strangers who want their own pet portraits from “Hercule van Wolfwinkle,” his alias.
“I think people just found them funny, at a time when there’s not loads to smile about,” he told BBC.
He granted these requests and did the illustrations for free. Phil also shared them on social media along with funny fake reviews.
Some people were actually willing to pay him for the humorous doodles, but he just can’t accept their payment, knowing they don’t look that great. That’s when he thought of using this unique opportunity for the greater good.
“I couldn’t take their money – the pictures are rubbish. So I set up a Just Giving page and suggested people donate instead,” Phil said.
He also set up the Pet Portraits by Hercule Facebook page with the same objective: to raise funds for his local homelessness charity, Turning Tides.
The demand for his drawings eventually grew, and so far, the 38-year-old has raised over £5,000 for the cause!
Phil is now producing 150 drawings a week and has a backlog of over 600 requests.
While he has a lot of fun creating the cartoons, the volume of requests has become a bit too overwhelming for him since he still works a full-time job in commercial property.
To make sure he manages his fans’ expectations, he put up a disclaimer on Facebook saying that people can continue to donate any amount to the charity and send him pictures of their pets, but it’s not considered a payment. He can’t guarantee that everyone will get a drawing because he can’t possibly do them all.
Amazingly, one person actually donated £299 ($390)—the “value” of his original image—to the charity. One man loved Phil’s drawing of his dog so much that he got it tattooed on himself!
“I can’t believe how it’s taken off,” he said. “It’s just a bit of fun for everybody, including me. When it becomes too stressful, I’ll have to stop. But I’ll try to make as much money as I can for Turning Tides.”
This artist’s next goal is to raise £10,000 ($13,000).
Check out the gallery below to see Hercule van Wolfwinkle’s wacky pet portraits. They’ll make you laugh out loud for sure!