The attention to detail and small size of this work reflects Keene's occupation as both illustrator and cartoonist for a number of major Victorian periodicals, including Punch and Once a Week.
He presents himself sitting at his easel in his studio. He was known for his unconventional clothes; here he wears a fitted waistcoat over a loose shirt. His tufty hair is kept back with a red hat. The fact that he is glancing away from the canvas can make anyone viewing the painting feel that they are Keene's model.