Dog doodles by Sussex artist Hercule Van Wolfwinkle become a hit

They look a bit RUFF! Doodling father’s ‘rubbish’ pet portraits showing animals with cross-eyes, wonky legs, crooked necks or droopy snouts become internet hit

  • Phil Heckels, 38, from Worthing, West Sussex, creates his artworks under pseudonym Hercule Van Wolfwinkle
  • Office worker admits his creations are ‘c**p’ but is inundated with about 150 requests a day from pet owners
  • Unwilling to accept payment, he gives proceeds to homeless charity, Turning Tides; has raised over £5,000
  • He had initially put a jokey post on Facebook saying ‘pet portraits for £299’; some donate £3, others £300 

These are the hilariously bad pet portraits people are queuing up to pay for.

Phil Heckels – who uses the pseudonym Hercule Van Wolfwinkle – admits his creations are ‘really c**p’ but the office worker has been inundated with requests from people desperate to see his interpretation of their beloved pet pooches.

The 38-year-old father, from Worthing, West Sussex, discovered his ‘unique talent’ after doodling a picture of his dog, posting it on Facebook and finding friends offering to pay for one of his portraits.

Since then, strangers have inundated Mr Heckels with around 150 requests a day. So far, he has completed 220 portraits.

As he was unwilling to accept payment, kind-hearted Mr Heckels has sent all his proceeds to homeless charity, Turning Tides and has raised more than £5,000 for the good cause.


Phil Heckels – who uses the pseudonym Hercule Van Wolfwinkle – admits his creations are ‘really c**p’ but the office worker has been inundated with requests from people desperate to see his interpretation of their beloved pet pooches


The 38-year-old father, from Worthing, West Sussex, discovered his ‘unique talent’ after doodling a picture of his dog, posting it on Facebook and finding friends offering to pay for one of his portraits


Strangers have inundated Mr Heckels with around 150 requests a day. So far, he has completed 220 portraits


As he was unwilling to accept payment, kind-hearted Mr Heckels has sent all his proceeds to homeless charity, Turning Tides and has raised more than £5,000 for the good cause


These are the hilariously bad pet portraits people are queuing up to pay for, which invariably appear to be caricatures


Mr Heckels said: ‘It all started when I was trying to coerce my son into making some thank-you cards’


It doesn’t take the artist long to draw his masterpieces. The quickest one so far took Mr Heckels about 30 seconds


Mr Heckels said: ‘I have had so many requests it’s a bit of a lottery if you get one now. I have had to manage people’s expectations’

However, he is now overwhelmed by requests, with a backlog of around 600 pictures still to do.

Mr Heckels: ‘It all started when I was trying to coerce my son into making some thank-you cards. 

‘I sat with him and doodled a picture of our dog. It was really c**p so I put a jokey post on Facebook saying “pet portraits for £299”.

‘A few friends contacted me asking me to draw their pets and then I started getting random requests from strangers who had seen the pictures. 

‘That’s when I set up my “business” Facebook page.

‘When my mate suggested setting up the Just Giving page, I thought I would give it a try and see if I could reach the original price I had posted of £299. I had no idea they would be so popular.

‘I have a full-time job, a wife and a kid. I am just a normal bloke and haven’t really drawn in my life other than at school. I didn’t even do GCSE Art or anything.

‘Soon I found myself sitting crossed-legged on the floor while my wife watched Netflix churning out several portraits a night.

‘Some are obviously better than others. In the main, I just try to draw what I see and it basically comes out as it does. I think I have only started again twice. It is what it is.

‘Soon I found myself sitting crossed-legged on the floor while my wife watched Netflix churning out several portraits a night,’ said Mr Heckels


‘A few friends contacted me asking me to draw their pets and then I started getting random requests from strangers who had seen the pictures,’ said Mr Heckels


The artist’s Just Giving site states: ‘Hercule has two styles of portrait, one super realistic full colour which is just like looking at a photograph or alternatively the more contemporary black and white portrait that will grace any home’


Seeing the potential of his artworks, Mr Heckels set up his ‘business’ Facebook page; above, one of his tortoise subjects


‘When my mate suggested setting up the Just Giving page, I thought I would give it a try and see if I could reach the original price I had posted of £299,’ said the artist


Phil Heckels said he had no idea his artworks would be so popular; above, another of Hercule Van Wolfwinkle’s masterpieces

‘They don’t take me long. The quickest one so far probably took me about 30 seconds but I have had so many requests it’s a bit of a lottery if you get one now. I have had to manage people’s expectations.

‘Some people donate beforehand and some people wait until they have their portrait. Some have donated a little before and the rest after.

‘There is no set amount – £3 to one person is the same as £300 to another – and I want it to be something everyone can get involved in.

‘It all started as a laugh and a bit tongue-in-cheek but I am really happy to be raising so much money for Turning Tides and if one day I can quit my job and become an artist, even better.’

To donate, please visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/portraitsbyhercule or https://www.facebook.com/portraitsbyhercule


Hercule Van Wolfwinkle does ‘wonderful portraits of your fur babies’, according to Mr Heckels’s Just Giving site page

‘It all started as a laugh and a bit tongue-in-cheek but I am really happy to be raising so much money for Turning Tides and if one day I can quit my job and become an artist, even better,’ he said


‘I have a full-time job, a wife and a kid. I am just a normal bloke and haven’t really drawn in my life other than at school. I didn’t even do GCSE Art or anything,’ said the artist

A selection of some of Phil ‘Hercule Van Wolfwinkle’ Heckels’s artworks – no doubt taking pride of place in their owners’ living rooms

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