In 1969, after finishing school, Arkley embarked on a three year art course at Prahran College of Advanced Education. It was here that Fred Cress, an artist and lecturer, introduced him to the airbrush which became Arkley’s trademark. Often used commercially for shading effects, Arkley refined the use of the airbrush as a drawing tool which he manipulated expertly like a pen. The airbrushed line, particularly when used to outline his fields of bright colour, lent a smooth and polished look to his works which suggested printed, mass produced images. Arkley has explained that he learnt much of his art history from glossy prints in books rather than first hand sources, and it was these reproductions that he wanted to emulate.