Ian Coate Australian Military Artist

About Ian Coate

Ian Coate(The Short Version)

Ian Coate is a military artist and freelance illustrator and author.  A former soldier, Ian joined the Royal Australian Survey Corps in the late 80’s and was trained as an illustrator-reprographic and military-photographer.  In the mid 1990’s, Ian left the army to pursue a career as an artist/illustrator.  Since then, Ian has produced an endless variety of illustrations for children's books, government health organisations and educational institutions.  In his capacity as a military artist, his paintings are on display at museums around Australia, while his military prints are exhibited by collectors worldwide.  For over a decade, Ian was the Australian SAS Historical Foundation’s ‘Artist-in-Residence’.

Ian lives in Perth, WA, and is currently working on his Aussie book series: Mythic Australia.


Getting in Contact / Commissions / Artist Rates

Ian Coate

I would love to hear from you. Please send me an email by clicking on my email address:
(Apologies if I don’t get back to you straight away; I may be getting away from technology somewhere in the Australian bush.)

Yes, I do commissions of artworks and illustrations. However, I presently have a lot of work on and need a bit of lead time. For further information on commissions and pricing structure:

You can also contact me via my Facebook page:

Ian Coate Facebook page

About Ian Coate (The Long-winded Version)

Ian Coate Willetton Primary School Student
Ian is a seventh generation Aussie who has a rich Australian heritage that can even boast a convict in his family tree.   His ancestors moved from the east coast of Australia to settle and farm in the south-west of WA. 
Coate Family Photos

Direct members of his family have served Australia in every major war since Federation: the Boer War, WW1, WW2, Vietnam, Timor and Afghanistan.

Coate Family Soldiers Australian

Soldier to Military Artist (1988 - Present)

After high school, Ian went on to study fine arts.  Within six months, he surprised his family by announcing he was quitting his art to join the army and would be leaving in a matter of weeks.  In early July, 1988, Ian found himself at Kapooka undergoing basic training.

During rest times, Ian would do sketches of other recruits for them to post home to their loved ones (it was a time before digital cameras and mobile phones).  When Ian’s Section Commanders saw these drawings, they arranged an interview for him to become an Illustrator in the Royal Australian Survey Corps.  So Ian, who had joined the army to escape art, now found himself employed as an Army Illustrator.  But the military’s practical approach to art, illustration and photography suited Ian and he thrived in the environment.   He was posted to command units such as Command and Staff College, RMC and CGS Office in Canberra.  It was in the army Ian would meet his wife, Sue (a corporal in Signals Corps), and start a family.

Royal Australian Survey Corps Illustrator Ian Coate

In 1994, Ian discharging from the regular army and came to Perth with his wife and kids.  Between home-dad duties and trying to start a career as a freelance illustrator, Ian joined the Army Reserves and was posted into army recruiting roles. 
With the Black Hawk Tragedy in 1996, Ian lost a good mate.  When the opportunity arose to do a series of artworks to commemorate this event and record key historical phases of the Australian SAS, Ian jumped at the chance. It wasn’t long before other army units saw Ian’s talent for visually recording history through art and employed him to create commemorative paintings for their museums.

Ian Coate Military Artworks

For over a decade, Ian was the Artist-in-Residence at the Australian SAS Historical Foundation.  He has also been an ambassador to Army Art and a lecturing artist for the Military Art Programme that offers free art classes for veterans and personnel of all services.
Ian’s original artworks hang in military museum around Australia including: SAS Regiment, WA Military Museum,  4RAR Battalion, 2/14 Lighthorse, Royal Military College, RSL Headquarters and 13th Brigade.  His prints are hanging in military units and messes throughout the world.
Co-signies on Ian’s prints have included: Australian of the Year: General Peter Cosgrove. The Surgeon General, John Pearn. WW2 pilot and double ace, Bobby Gibbs. Victoria Cross recipients:Ted Kenna and Keith Payne. Plus a notable list of generals, commandants and exemplary soldiers. (Their generosity of time has contributed greatly to well over $250,000 from print sales donated to various charities.) 

Australian Military Artist Ian Coate

The Journey to Mythic Australia

Ian has a great love for Australia: its visual beauty, history and heritage, but most of all its oddities. He spent a lot of his childhood in the outback.  His parent had unique occupations that often saw Ian, his two sisters and brother camping in the remote bush of Western Australia.  Ian grew up learning to appreciate Australia’s flora and fauna while exploring its amazing environments.

When Ian had a family of his own, he and his wife, Sue, would take every opportunity to take their three kids camping to experience the many surprises of Australia. 

It was around many campfires, the idea of Mythic Australia came into focus. Ian and Sue wanted to share their love of Australia and encourage other people to take a greater interest in their country, so they set about creating a fun fantasy universe filled with Drop Bears, Hoopsnakes, Nutters and Doodackies.

Mythic Australia artist Ian Coate

For twenty years, Mythic Australia has been a labour of love for Ian and Sue.  The payback has been seeing how their Aussie-inspired creatures and stories have engaged many children (and adults) and in-turn inspired these people to explore their own incredible country. 

Sue Coate Ian Coate Mythic Australia

Ian and Sue invite you to join them on their enchanted Aussie journey and visit the Mythic Australia website:  PRESS HERE

Mythic Australia Kip Nutter Ian Coate

A Career of Illustration and Writing (1987 - Present)

At the age of 17, Ian was a cover artist and contributing illustrator for a local sci-fantasy magazine, Australian Realms.  Ian loved creating fantasy illustrations of warriors and dragons and was eager to learn more about the trade.  Unfortunately, back in the 1980’s the only higher education for art were courses in Fine Arts or Graphic Design (Illustration was a neglected in-between profession).  Ian signed up for Fine Arts; however, the existential journey was not a right fit and he soon left to join the army (as seen above).

Australian Realms Ian Coate

In 1994, after six years working in the regular army as an illustrator-reprographic, Ian discharged to become a home-dad while embarking on a new career of freelance illustration.  There were many hard lessons to learn over the pursuing years.  Ian worked on an assortment of projects from magazine and book covers, cartoon strips and a variety of merchandise for Australian Tourism. 
While he illustrated books for others, Ian also loved to write and both authored and co-authored numerous children’s books and articles.

Childrens Books by Ian Coate

For Ian, one of the joys of illustration has been collaborating with other creative people on projects that benefit the community.  Ian works with health organisations like Foodbank, H.E.L.P., Diabetes, Oral Care and Indigenous Health to create illustrations to aid in communicating their important messages to young audiences or communities with low literacy or language barriers.     

Illustrations by Ian Coate

Over his illustration career, Ian has been privileged to work with many talented aboriginal artists.  The experience and exchange of ideas has been both valuable and edifying.  Ian has collaborated with various indigenous artists where they provide the background artwork and Ian provides the illustration.  The result: healthy messages for indigenous communities.

Ian Coate Australian Art

Christian and Missionary Work. (2003 - Present)

Christianity has played a big part in Ian and Sue’s life.  In the early 2000’s, they worked with their church creating a series of books and resources for a missionary outreach in India and Africa.

Free Christian eBooks Ian Coate

It was through this experience, Ian and Sue came to understand that many Christian Ministries around the world are trying to spread God’s Word with a non-existent budget.  It became evident, that there was a great need for “free” Christian artworks to aid in communicating the Good News.  So each week, Ian and Sue decided to dedicate a day creating Christian resources for anyone to download at no cost or obligation – 'so all may hear the Gospel'.

Ian Coate Free Christian Illustrations

As the demand grew worldwide for these free Christian illustrations, Ian and Sue took the next step and created a dedicated website simply called: FREE CHRISTIAN ILLUSTRATIONS.

Free Christian Illustrations

Ian and Sue hope you’ll take the time to visit and explore this website.  PRESS HERE



Sue Coate and Ian CoateAny blurb about me is nowhere near complete if it doesn't acknowledge my muse who also happens to be my wife. Sue is my partner, my secretary, my editor, my greatest support, my worst critic and my best friend. No words can ever adequately express my gratitude to her.

Thank you Sue - I cherish the days we spend together.