A Drawing Beetle Is Captivating the Internet With His Colorful Squiggles

Online art lovers can't get enough of Spike the beetle.

Spike the Beetle with his art. Courtesy of itmemandy via eBay.

If there’s one thing the internet loves, it’s animals, so it’s no surprise that animals making art have a long history of online adoration. The latest art star of the animal world, however, isn’t a cuddly dog or a furry monkey. It’s a lowly stag beetle named Spike.

“He picked up a pen one day and tried his best! He’s working every day to improve,” wrote Spike’s owner, a woman named Mandy, on Tumblr.

Stag beetles are a popular pet in Japan, where Mandy lives, but Spike is perhaps the only one who works with markers, holding different colored felt-tipped markers between his pincers and dragging it across the canvas to create squiggly lines. According to Mandy, he also likes bananas, and lives with two other beetles named Julius and Cleo.

“They’re popular for kids in Japan, because they are very low maintenance,” she said, noting that Spike is a Sumatran dorcus alcides. “Like any small pet, they’re not affectionate, but they’re very fun to watch.”

Spike is just six months old—stag beetles can live from two to five years—but even by his species’ standards, his art world success is in its infancy.

After a July 3 post of Spike’s art received 65,000 retweets and nearly 170,000 likes on her personal Twitter handle—“What do you think?” Mandy wrote. “Only constructive criticism, please.”—his owner made Spike his own Twitter account, which already has over 37,000 followers.

At least one would-be critic had high praise for Spike’s first composition. “Appreciate these organic lines, and I think there’s good balance between unity and diversity in the color scheme,” wrote Twitter user 4nks. The beetle has also attracted the attention of news outlets including UPI and Creators.

Given Spike’s warm reception on the interwebs, Mandy has begun selling his canvases on eBay, where bidding has reached over $150 on the only available piece. She plans to donate 15 percent of the proceeds from the sales to a stag beetle conservation organization.

Appropriately, the budding artist has already inspired fan art of his own. Now, all he needs is the perfect “Canine Caravaggio”-style nickname, and his place among the pantheon of animal artists will be assured!

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