Have you ever tried something new and found you were SO terrible at it that you simply couldn’t stop laughing? When we let go and give ourselves the freedom to fail, amazing things can happen! Grab your sketchbook and get ready to giggle—today we’re learning why people pay big bucks for portraits by an artist who has an uncanny talent for being really bad at his craft.

There’s a lot to be said about the magic of humor and humility. But since a picture is worth a thousand words, we’ll just take a moment to let this one speak for itself!

What is “good” art anyway?

Art arrives to us in many different forms. But, whether it’s through music, sculpture, painting, or dance, good art always inspires some sort of reaction. And the majority of reactions to pet-portrait artist Phil Heckels’ art is, well, pure warm-fuzzy joy!

These drawings are a little ruff.

What started as a silly attempt at drawing the family dog has blossomed into a wonderful example of how we can all accomplish something great, even by doing something we aren’t very skilled at.

Phil Heckels posted his first dog portrait on Facebook, and people absolutely fell in love with his raw, quirky caricatures. Soon after, he was receiving requests for portraits of other people’s pets!

But wait, there’s more to this tail. Let’s watch this heartwarming video by CBS This Morning for a closer look at how Phil got started, and how he is using his “bad pet-drawing” skills to make the world a better place!

Thank you, CBS This Morning, for shining light on the real-life people that are out there making a difference!

Want to see more of Phil’s…er…Hercule Van Wolfwinkle’s pet portraits? Follow him on Facebook. And, if you want to commission your very own imperfect illustration, just send him a message with a photo of your pet!

Phil encourages you to donate what you can easily afford. Suggested donations for each portrait land at around $400 (USD), which would provide breakfast and a hot shower for over 21 people at Turning Tides Homelessness.

Why do people love these drawings so much?

Even after all his success drawing funny furbabies, Phil still doesn’t consider himself an artist. But there has to be a reason why other people have fallen in love with his unconventional illustrations, right?

The obvious answer is because they are HILARIOUS—and let’s face it, we all need a hearty chuckle these days—plus, who doesn’t love their pets to the ends of the earth?! But if you ask me, underneath it all, I think we love these sketches because they help us remember that beauty often lies in imperfection. When we embrace our flaws and allow ourselves to laugh about our own ridiculousness, wonderful opportunities can begin to unfold around us!

A happy accident.

You just never know where life will take you. But, if you can approach the inevitable ebb and flow of ups and downs with a little humor in your heart, it’s sure to end up being something imperfectly beautiful.

Here’s another article about a beloved artist who was famous for transforming “mistakes” into happy little accidents, and in doing so, he inspired generations!

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  1. CBS This Morning. “U.K. Doodling Dad Launches Joke ‘Pet Portraits’ Business, Raises Thousands of Dollars for Charity.” YouTube, 3 Dec. 2020, www.youtube.com/watch?v=jZ6EMDx0Fds&feature=emb_title. Accessed 14 Jan. 2021.

Renee Laroche-Rheaume

Outreach Coordinator

Renee is a graduate of FIDM, and has held jobs in several industries such as apparel manufacturing, retail, professional office work, and even hospitality! Her creative outlook, wide variety of experiences, and desire to notice the beauty around us make her a great addition to the EWC team!