A Dog's Life with Anna Webb joined by HerculeV an Wolfwinkle


Phil Heckels, AKA Hercule Van Wolfwinkle, is a pet portrait artist with a self-proclaimed ‘ultra-realistic style’ that has gained him worldwide fame and an ever-increasing gaggle of disgruntled customers trying to get their hands on him!


But all of that changed one late summer afternoon in 2020 when, whilst trying to coerce his young son into making some thank you cards, he doodled a picture of their family dog. The picture was rubbish, so naturally he stuck it on Facebook.
Little did he know that post would go viral and his work would soon be in high demand with requests for portraits flooding into his inbox in tens of thousands from all over the globe.


Hercule’s self-proclaimed ‘ultra-realistic’ style is akin to that of a small child who has never seen an animal before and is only just learning how to hold a pencil properly, but people like it. A large social media following and worldwide media coverage catapulted Hercule into the limelight and he has used this exposure to raise money for his chosen charities, Turning Tides Ending Local Homelessness and StreetVet.


Hercule does not take paid commission requests. All of the portraits are free and are just uploaded to his social media pages in return for a discretionary donation to the charity (more information can be found on the Facebook page).


To date he has raised over £260,000 and counting and this fundraising has seen Hercule receive a Points of Light Award from the Prime Minister, recognised by The Big Issue as one of their 100 Change Makers for 2021, and named as the ‘Creative Fundraiser of The Year’ at the 2022 Just Giving Awards.

 Tune into the episode here