Phil Heckels is 38 years old and comes from Worthing, South England. This Brit has found himself rising to internet stardom from what might seem like one of the silliest reasons; he tried to help his son with a thank-you card.
It all started six weeks ago when Phil was trying to get his 6-year-old to make a thank you card for family. Phil decided to draw the family dog, a black Lab named Narla, as a way to inspire his sons creativity. Later he thought he would upload his creation to Facebook and jokingly added a caption offering to sell it for £299, that’s over $500 Canadian.
He never expected anyone to buy it, even Phil thought it was no good. But before too long he was inundated with offers for the work. By the end of that same day he also had seven requests from friends who wanted him to draw their own pet. Within days his reputation had spread and the requests and commissions came pouring in.
Heckels, who works full-time in commercial real estate, then set up a dedicated Facebook page offering his services as “Hercule Van Wolfwinkle,” a pseudonym he’s been using on the social network for more than a decade. He didn’t stop approaching it with humour, “extremely realistic pictures which will grace any household,” reads the tagline on the page. But photo-realism this is not; googly eyes, oversized limbs and wonky features abound, and Heckels says he is working at the limits of his artistic talent. “I genuinely try quite hard to try and draw them,” he said, pointing out that he didn’t even study art at GCSE, the English equivalent of a high school qualification.
But that hasn’t stopped him from enjoying the process. “I’m just having a laugh with it,” Phil said. “People seem to be enjoying it and I’m certainly enjoying it.”
He hasn’t made much money with his work, one person insisted on paying him, but rather than take the money for his entertaining creations he decided that he would do something else; “I can’t take any money for it so give some money to charity,” Heckels said he told the client.
He later set up a JustGiving fundraiser for Turning Tides, a homelessness charity his family has supported for years. The fundraiser has generated nearly £17,000 (over $29,000 Canadian) at the time of posting.
Phil said he is passionate about ending homelessness. “It’s an absolute basic human need to have a roof over your head,” he said, adding that he will keep drawing as long as people are donating and he is enjoying his work. So far, he has drawn around 220 portraits, he said, with “well over 1,000 requests” backed up. He’s not sure he’ll be able to get to them all but he’s going to do what he can to keep helping.
This effort is more than enough to be your Good News Story of the Day, which you can find in full here, but it’s also Phil’s attempt to bring joy to the world that is inspirational “It is like a little bit of fun and a little bit of light when there isn’t much to be cheery about at the minute,” he said. “I would die a happy man if I could spend the rest of my life doing this.”
Take a lesson from Phil, just because you might not think you are great at something, like drawing, doesn’t mean people won’t appreciate it. Might be worth a try!
Story and Image from CNN.