Étienne was born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1941, but spent most of his childhood in Québec, Canada. At the age of 27, in 1968, he graduated from the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles, California.
In the mid-seventies he moved to Vancouver, Canada, where he did business under the name of the "Frog and Bison" "Frog" being a reference to his years in Montréal, Quebec, and "Bison" for a former associate in Montana. At that time Errol also operated a studio/gallery, the "Frog and Swan" with artist/calligrapher Robin Arkell. Errol embodied no-compromise professionalism: "I don't let people make changes in my work because it's so personal. I know production and what the job needs, and the only thing that's important is the end product. How you get to that is the problem because the only standard is that it must be excellent. There is really is no excuse for a mediocre final product."
Errol's career veered off track in the early 1980s due to illness and it wasn’t until after a liver transplant in 1994 that he could return to his craft, but found the need to work differently in a different market. “When I came out there were computers and everything had changed for graphic designers.” So Errol gave up graphic design work and with his wife Jan became a vagabond and worked in a “mobile studio,” a GMC motorhome that took them across the country, painting, meeting with collectors and selling his work at private shows and small town markets.