I'm basically drawing crappy portraits of people's pets in return for donations and have so far raised over $1000 in a few weeks for my local Homelessness Charity.
It's all happened so organically without much thought or effort. A little over two weeks ago, I was making some "thank you" cards with my six-year-old. Whilst he was making his card, I just doodled a couple of pictures of our dog—they were really rubbish, I’m not an artist and have never really drawn in my life.
As a joke, I uploaded the two pictures to my Facebook page with a jokey comment about Pet Portraits being for sale for just £299. No VAT. A friend commented asking me to draw her dog, then another, then another, and by the end of the day, I had probably drawn about five portraits and we'd all had a giggle in the process.
Then, after a couple of shares, I started getting requests from people I didn't know asking for portraits. That’s when I set up the Facebook page Pet Portraits By Hercule and the JustGiving page which is raising money for my local homelessness charity, Turning Tides. I was having fun drawing the pictures, people seemed to enjoy laughing at them, and if we could make a bit of money for a brilliant cause in the process—great!
My initial dream was to try to raise £299 (around $388), which was the price I had initially quoted as the price for my portraits. Less than two weeks later, and we have raised just shy of £1000 (around $1299), the page has nearly 700 likes, and I've been invited to display at a gallery! I currently have 70 or so requests for portraits, but the more the merrier!
All the portraits are free! All I’m asking for is a donation to the charity and that can be whatever people can afford to give—I’ve had donations from £2-£50!
The only thing I ask is that unless people are happy to donate without expecting a portrait, they hold off until I have done their pic. Otherwise I’ll end up in a situation where people may donate without actually getting a picture (I’m trying to get them all done, but that’s looking less and less likely the more requests I get!)