The story behind Hugh Jackman's Archibald

About six years ago, Archibald entrant Mark Andrews got an order.

And it came directly from Wolverine.

"Hugh (Jackman) pushed me to get back into my art," Andrews said of his childhood friend.

"I'll always be grateful for that `shove'."

The result of this renewed creativity is a portrait of Jackman which he has entered in this year's Archibald Prize.

Jackman, best known for his role as Wolverine in the X-Men movies, and Andrews first met when they were both teenagers growing up on Bunyana Avenue Wahroonga, on Sydney's North Shore.

While they both went on to pursue their creative talents, Andrews admitted he'd drifted from his discipline after leaving art college in the late `80s, early `90s.

Now, the Brisbane-based artist is thankful a certain X-Men gave him a little push - without the metal claws, that is.

"(It) reignited my passion to continue drawing and painting," he said.

Jackman told AAP it was his great pleasure to sit for his good friend.

"I was excited to sit for someone who has known me over such a long period of time," he said.

"(To be) able to translate that friendship onto canvas."

The Tony Award winner sat twice for the painting, once in Melbourne and once in New York.

And while it is yet to be publicly unveiled, Andrews' works are generally bright, colorful and kinetic pieces.

For his part, Andrews agrees the hardest part of painting Jackman was imbuing the artwork with the warmth of a 30-year-old friendship.

"Trying to capture the years of friendship (into) a single painting and to do Hugh justice was the biggest challenge," he said.

With the "Bunyana" portrait now completed, Andrews is happy with the final product.

"It makes me think of the amazing times we've shared as teenagers and young men," he said.

"To me, this image reflects the person I know well - the true Hugh Michael Jackman."

  • The winner of the Archibald Prize will be announced on July 18, with the exhibition of finalists to go on display from July 19 to September 28 at the Art Gallery of NSW.