When Ronald Heberling signs a piece of art work he has just created, he pens “Hero” across the bottom corner of the page. 

It’s not that he considers himself to be the next great comic book star or idol – the word hero is actually acronym for his name, the “he” stemming from “Heberling” and the “ro” from “Ronald”.

The alias was an idea he developed after having his name spelled wrong so many times; he just wanted a name that those who met him could remember with ease. 

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Though Ronald admits the signature is just a name and does not claim to be superman or any other championed hero - his incredible world record might indicate otherwise. 

After achieving the endurance title for Longest marathon drawing caricatures to support the Ronald McDonald Children Charity, many who benefited from his generosity consider Ronald and his abilities to that a real life hero. 

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As a child Ronald and his brothers grew up in Ontario, Canada, a result of his parents’ decision to move away from their home in Austria during WWII.

Living remotely in Canada, Ronald’s house was rather secluded from his neighbours, giving him a natural appreciation for the environment which surrounded him. 

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"The vast landscape of our property and the nearby fields helped me focus in on the wonders and rules of nature and I would spend hours at a time, observing the most fascinating features of life without even talking to anybody else, observing how everything seemed to correlate." 

Ronald was unaware that he was slowly obtaining the necessary skills that would impact his interest in art. 

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By simply observing day to day, he was learning concepts such as proportions, color, texture, composition as they existed in the world. 

It made quite an impact to his childhood, especially in school, when he realised his unique perspective of the world set him apart from his peers. 

"When it came to drawing, I remember having arguments with my classmates, who drew a house with the chimney in a 45 degree angle to the roof. I could not understand, why classmates did not comprehend this very logical observation to be made. I guess I was a perfectionist ever since I was a small child." 

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Art and drawing continued to help Ronald with transitional phases of his life as he grew older, shaping his interests and career. 

Moving to Austria as a teenager posed a very difficult obstacle for the adolescent, who had trouble fitting in and learning a new language. 

"I was always a very inquisitive young man and was interested what my schoolmates were talking about. I had a hard time expressing myself and I wanted to take part in the different activities and find my own very special role in the community."

Though he was unable to communicate linguistically, Ronald showed his schoolmates that art was universal – as his masterful sketches quickly gained popularity and respect within his new class. 

A few years later, one of his teachers Professor Roland Hauke, detected his impressive techniques, and helped him to harness his talent, even convincing the young artist to enter into an international art competition. 

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This professor was no ordinary art teacher, as he also happened to teach at the Academy of Visual Arts in Vienna. 

His well-trained and experienced eye saw Ronald's potential and knew he was proficient enough to dominate a contest that typically received around 16,000 submissions. 

Despite Ronald’s own doubts, he managed to win first place in a global competition.

"I was stunned, that moment I realized for the first time in life that art does make a great difference. I then found a liking to enter into art competitions and another first prize took me to Bozen, Italy, where I was introduced to the Governor of South Tirol, Silvius Magnago, who emphasized how very important art was and how it plays an important role in our daily lives."

Later on, Professor Hauke recognized his distinct knack for caricatures, and told Ronald to focus on that, as he believed it was his gift. 

So Ronald developed his technique professionally, exploring different mediums such a painting, comic drawing, and following his dreams and talent to become a successful artist. 

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As one piece led to another, Ronald discovered characteristics about his work, and realized that he was an actionist artist. 

His one mission was to create art for a reason and using his talent to facilitate a greater purpose. 

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Thanks to this great understanding, he began pursuing a number of charitable art projects that had gained local attention, until he became inspired to attempt the Longest marathon drawing caricatures Guinness World Records title. 

"This time, I wanted to do something really extraordinary. Even as a child, I would spend hours at a time looking through the yearly records book, always amazed by the vast amount of accomplished extravagancies. Never in my wildest dreams could I imagine being a part of the Guinness World Records title holders - but I was aware that Guinness World Records was a synonymous for excellence, fairness, and outstanding performances - and by default achieving a record would be a means of attracting great attention to a worthy charitable cause."

Thinking back to when his mentor encouraged him to progress his caricatures, Ronald determined an extraordinary way to do so; a 62-hour record-breaking caricature marathon that would raise money for the Ronald McDonald foundation, a cause that was close to his heart. 

The programme offered families a place to live with their children who are seriously ill, so that they can stay together and support each other through difficult times. 

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This was something Ronald was never fortunate to experience when he was in and out of the hospitals as a child. 

"I remember having to stay in hospital as a boy and it was a depressing feeling having to say goodbye to my parents and family and being left with strangers in the hospital without knowing what will exactly happen to myself. The feeling of being alone there was unbearable, so it was great to be in a position to help children get a better experience with their loved ones."

Many think that art is an isolating activity, but Ronald felt otherwise, especially when it came to portraiture. 

"Art for me was always fun, a means of relaxation and a way to get in touch with other people very quickly."

For the day of the attempt, Ronald lined up models to participate over the course of 24 hours - anxious to get through the marathon drawing session, even though he knew this meant his arm might potentially cramp up. 

Despite the challenge of maintaining stamina over the next few days, he continually thought about what each session would be like, and the many sponsors who had already donated to support a cause that meant a great deal to him. 

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As participants arrived, he quickly got to work sketching their portrait, each figure a different persona and archetype to learn more about. 

"Even up to this day I am a constantly fascinated by forms, faces, images, architecture and natural settings and I can spend hours in a coffee shop just watching how people interact, move, talk and spend leisure time with each other – constantly watching the interchanging of sunlight on their skins and clothing while they move. What fascinates me most is defining what makes one single person or face unique and I try to break it down to just a few lines."

In doing this, Ronald lost track of time and surroundings, entering into a state of his subconscious, and enjoying the long hours spent with art and people. 

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He mentions the night hours being the most tempting, as he needed sleep, but bright surroundings and engaging with the art encouraged him to keep going. 

"Even when I absolved the Guinness World Records title, I reached an even deeper state of subconscious keeping me from feeling sleep or hunger and thirst and not wanting to stop at all. My body was working like a machine, while my spirit was in a different state. At a certain point I lost all relation for time and space and the surrounding – only concentrating on the persons, who were across from myself and wanting to capture and reproduce the image of their facial expression by drawing the most important features of their image."

After 62 hours, Ronald had nearly worn himself out, reluctant to stop the attempt but inevitably in need of sleep. 

According to his girlfriend he barely made it up the stairs and into bed without passing out, a direct side effect of exhausting his limits to ensure he earned the title.

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A few weeks later, after he submitted his document, he received the official email from Guinness World Records confirming that his efforts had paid off and he had achieved an inspirational record for charity. 

Pleased with himself, and the 10,000 euros he was able to raise, Ronald was overwhelmingly happy that his talent could triumph to so many positive outcomes. 

"It is impossible for me to explain how great this success makes me feel. And up to this day I indescribably fortunate to be a part of the community of Guinness World Records title holders. I want others to know that drawing caricatures puts another dimension into the process of creating art. With every caricature I made, I was focusing in on the eyes of the person sitting across from myself. Often it is said that the eyes are the windows to the soul of the humans, so in each instance I try to find out who they are to translate that onto the page. This experience is something very magical, and to hold a record for it is outstanding."

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