AN East Renfrewshire artist is using his drawing skills to help raise funds for Australian wildlife affected by recent bushfires.

Robert Barr, who makes his living by drawing portraits of pet dogs, posted a cute sketch of a koala on his Facebook page and offered people the chance to buy copies of it to coin in cash for the worthy cause.

Hundreds of pounds have since been raised, with a $100 donation made by a man in Texas who asked to print Robert’s design onto T-shirts.

Robert told the Barrhead News: “My wife suggested we should do something for the fundraising effort in Australia, so that’s when I decided to draw a koala, who we named Keith.

“We do quite a lot for charity on our Facebook page and it seemed like a no-brainer that we had to do something.

“I’ve got a lot of really supportive and caring people on my Facebook page who rescue and foster dogs, so I wasn’t surprised by the support.”

Read more: Pet dog helps East Renfrewshire artist to life-changing career

The money raised so far has been sent to two animal refuges in Australia.

Robert, from Neilston, added: “The bulk of the money has gone to Australia Zoo, which is owned by the family of ‘crocodile hunter’ Steve Irwin, who are sending the funds to places in Australia where it is most needed.

“There’s also a rescue centre in Australia that deals just with koalas, so we thought we would make a donation to it.”

Robert, who has held down a variety of jobs in the past, is thrilled he is now able to use his artistic skills to make a living, with his commissioned portraits of pooches proving popular with dog owners at home and abroad.

Copies of his ‘Keith the Koala’ drawing are available to order by searching for ‘Rob Art’ on Facebook.

They cost £10 each, plus postage and packaging.

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