A PET portrait artist has raised more than £50,000 for charity with his "silly" drawings.

Phil Heckels from Worthing started doing comical "rubbish" portraits of pets last year under the name of Hercule Van Wolfwinkle.

The 38-year-old was inundated with requests after he shared a doodle of his own dog Narla on Facebook and offered to do commissions, initially as a joke.

READ MORE: Worthing dad Hercule Van Wolfwinkle raises almost £20k with 'joke' pet portraits

He began to draw other people's furry friends and created a Facebook page, Pet Portraits by Hercule, to share the results.

The Argus:

After one person offered payment for postage, Phil set up a JustGiving page where people could make a donation to Worthing homelessness charity Turning Tides, which he has supported for years.

As he had originally marketed his portraits at £299 as a joke, he set this amount as his fundraising target - but has now raised almost £51,800.

Phil said: "It's been a crazy couple of months to say the least.

"Genuinely we didn't think we would ever get to £299. Probably one of the most joyous moments of the whole thing is when we hit that target - I'll never forget it.

The Argus:

"What's great is that although people like the pictures, they still want to support the charity. It's just been overwhelming."

Phil estimates he has now done about 500 drawings of pets, from dogs and cats to reptiles, lamas, a tarantula and even a skunk which belonged to an animal sanctuary.

As he gets so many requests every day it is a lottery as to who gets a portrait, but many people have donated to the JustGiving page anyway.

The Argus:

Phil said: "Although I've given my time to do the drawings, it's everyone who has donated who should be thanked.

"There's almost 3,000 supporters so far, so when you do the maths you see people have been really generous - it's not just £1 here and there but more like donations of £20 or £30.

"My thanks go to everyone who has donated and everyone who works and volunteers at Turning Tides. There are so many people who have made this project what it is - it's definitely not all about me."

Since the project began, Phil has taken part in podcasts and has attracted media attention from around the world - even featuring on American CBS News.

The Argus:

He has no plans to stop drawing yet and now aims to reach £75,000.

Phil said: "At the start I said I would only stop when either the donations stopped or I stopped enjoying it - but neither of those things have happened."

Ruth Poyner, head of fundraising at Turning Tides said: “We are absolutely delighted by the immense support Hercule continues to receive both nationally and internationally.

"£50,000 is an incredible fundraising achievement made possible thanks to Phil’s (aka Hercule Van Wolfwinkle) staggering generosity and dedication.

The Argus:

"He gives up his time, on a daily basis, to draw these wonderful pictures of people’s pets.

"We are so thankful to him and of course everyone who has supported us by making a donation.

"Together the profile of homelessness has really been highlighted and the donations are enabling us to support the increasing numbers of people who have nowhere to call home.”

To see more of Hercule's portraits, visit his Facebook page. To donate to his fundraising campaign for Turning Tides, visit the JustGiving page.