During Norman Lindsay's long creative life he produced works in many media but it is his drawings that most reflect his versatility. He worked in pencil, pen and ink, pen and ink and pencil and wash. Norman did small drawings that often were the preliminaries of major paintings, he did finished pen and ink works that are part of Australia's history (such as the Bulletin cartoons), he did many drawings just for fun like his animal works and he filled numerous sketchbooks with small, quick sketches just because he couldn't stop drawing. His wash drawings are often major works in themselves. It is often said that drawing best demonstrates the strength of an artist. If this is true, Norman Lindsay had a strength beyond many.
Born into a family that produced fine artists, his early skill in drawing and reading was encouraged by relatives. He received his only formal training in 1897 at the art colony run by Walter Withers at ‘Charterisville’ in Heidelberg. In 1899 he moved to Sydney, married in 1900, and began a lifelong association with the Bulletin. He was best known for exquisite pen drawings whose dark areas were enlivened by minute traces of white. In 1906 he began producing wash drawings; during World War I he designed government posters, and after the war he took up watercolour painting. From 1918 to 1938 he concentrated on etchings, which were printed by his second wife, Rose Soady (b c. 1885), whom he married in 1920. She collected the drawings and proofs for his over two hundred published etchings, which are now in the Mitchell Library, Sydney. In 1927 he founded the Fanfrolico Press with his son Jack. His home at Springwood, NSW, is now a gallery and museum.