According to Simon Toll, for a short period in the 1890s Draper worked as an illustrator:
In 1893 Draper produced a series of illustrations for The English Illustrated Magazine, depicting figures ice-skating. . . With his friends Ralph Peacock and Frank Brangwyn, and the painters John Reinhard Weguelin, Arthur Hughes and Robert Fowler, Draper became involved with the publishers Blackie and Sons and was commissioned to illustrate historical stories for boys. In the early 1890s he illustrated George Alfred Henty's St. Bartholomew's Eve; A Story of the Huguenot Wars, Young Travellers' Tales by Ascott R. Hope, J .M. Callwell's A Champion of the Faith; A Tale of Prince Hal and the Lollards and Halowe'en Ahoy! by Hugh St Leger.'
In 1898 he illustrated The Compleat Angler and produced a drawing of Ophelia for a version of Shakespeare's works in the same year. However, he had decided in the early 1890s that it would not be viable to devote half of his time to an art which would have brought him economic stability but not artistic celebrity. 
Toll, Simon. Herbert Draper, 1863-1920: A Life Study. Woodbridge: Antique Collectors Club, 2003.
Last modified 17 April 2007