Eric Thake was born in Melbourne in 1904. Before the Second World War he was apprenticed to a process engraving company and worked as a commercial artist during 1925 and 1926. Thake attended night classes at the National Gallery School, Melbourne, in 1922, and from 1925 to 1928 he studied part-time with George Bell. He was a founding member of the Melbourne Contemporary Group in 1923 and the Contemporary Art Society in 1939.
Thake enlisted in the RAAF in 1943 and worked as a draughtsman until his appointment to the RAAF Historical Section as a war artist in 1944. During the next two years he traveled to central and northern Australia, Timor and Dutch New Guinea.
Thake concentrated on the debris of conflicts, particularly crashed aircraft and machinery. His dream-like and mysterious viewpoint, focuses on the design of equipment in ways which were not usually considered by other artists. Kamiri searchlight and Parachute Store, No 31 Squadron, Morotari are two examples of his almost surreal images.
On the completion of his appointment, Thake's paintings and drawings were distributed amongst the Memorial, state art galleries and the RAAF. After the war Thake worked on a variety of commissions, including postage stamps and museum murals, and as a medical illustrator and designer.