Hugh McCrea was one of Australia's best known lyric poets, but he has also worked as a pen-and-ink illustrator and even comic artist. His first published artwork appeared in 1899 in Norman Lindsay's magazine The Ramber, for which he used the signatures Splash and Mac. He was one of the first artists in Australia to have his comic strips printed in colour, in The Comic Australian. One of his creations for his magazine was 'Jim and Jam', a comic strongly inspired by Rudolph Dirks's 'The Katzenjammer Kids'. In 1914 Hugh McCrae headed for America, where he eventually drew for the magazine Puck. Back in Australia in 1917, he drew for Punch until 1925.
McCrea then set up the literary magazine The New Triad with Ernest Watt in Sydney, which lasted for one year. Until his death in 1958, Hugh McCrae continued to write poetry, prose and drama. He has also worked as an actor.