You won't see his art hanging in a museum, but Phil Heckels' drawings of family pets are bringing joy to his friends — and raising money for a good cause.
Heckels lives in England, and about six weeks ago, he asked his son to make a thank you card. He worked on his own piece of art, drawing their dog Narla, and posted a picture of it on Facebook, joking that it was available to buy for just £299 (about $390). It wasn't a great drawing, and Heckles was shocked with seven friends asked him to sketch their pets.
Word spread and more requests started coming in from people, so Heckels, who works in commercial real estate, started a Facebook page with the tongue-in-cheek promise to create "extremely realistic pictures." Heckels told CNN he does "genuinely try quite hard to draw them" while also "having a laugh with it. People seem to be enjoying it and I'm certainly enjoying it."
When one client insisted Heckels accept payment, the artist instead asked that they donate to charity, and he has since launched a fundraiser for one of his favorite charities, Turning Tides, which helps the homeless. So far, Heckels, who estimates he's finished 220 portraits, has raised $15,000 for the organization. He told CNN his drawings have provided "a little bit of fun and a little bit of light," and he would "die a happy man if I could spend the rest of my life doing this."
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