Hogarth began working at age 15 due to his father’s premature death. His drawing skills and art education brought him into contact with those in publishing, and it was with newspaper syndicates that Hogarth would earn a living, editing and creating advertising and panel illustrations in his teens. This work provided steady and, by 1929, crucial employment. Additionally, Hogarth’s first attempts at drawing a comic strip, Ivy Hemmanhaw, met with some success.
As the Depression worsened, and at the urging of friends, Hogarth relocated to New York, continuing his work in newspaper illustration and editing as well as cartooning, drawing Charles Driscoll’s pirate adventure Pieces of Eight. In 1936 came the assignment that was to define Hogarth’s illustration career. With Tarzan, Hogarth melded classicism, expressionism, and narrative into a new dynamic sequential art. He drew the Tarzan Sunday page for twelve years, from 1937 to 1945 and from 1947 to 1950. This work has been reprinted often, most recently by NBM Publishing.
Almost as long as he was a professional artist, Hogarth was also a teacher. Over the years, he was an instructor of drawing to a variety of students at a number of institutions and by 1944 Hogarth had in mind a school for returning World War II veterans. The Manhattan Academy of Newspaper Art was Hogarth’s first formal effort, and by 1947 he had transformed it into the Cartoonists and Illustrators School. This academy continued to grow, and in 1956 was again renamed, as the School of Visual Arts (SVA). It is now the world's largest private institution of art. Hogarth designed the curriculum, served as an administrator, and taught a full schedule that included drawing, writing, and art history. It was in Hogarth's classes that many of the Silver Age of comic books' artists learned the advanced drawing techniques that formed a style still defining the superhero genre today.
Hogarth retired from the SVA in 1970 but continued to teach at The Parsons School of Design and, after a move to Los Angeles, The Otis School and Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. During his years teaching, Hogarth authored a number of anatomy and drawing books that have become standard references for artists of every sort, including computer animators. Dynamic Anatomy (1958) and Drawing the Human Head were followed by further investigations of the human form. Dynamic Figure Drawing and Drawing Dynamic Hands completed the figure cycle. Dynamic Light and Shade and Dynamic Wrinkles and Drapery explored other aspects relative to rendering the figure.
After more than 20 years away from strip work and being hailed in Europe as "the Michelangelo of the comic strip," Hogarth returned to sequential art in 1972 with his groundbreaking Tarzan of the Apes, a large format hardbound book published by Watson Guptill in 11 languages. It marks the beginning of the sober volume of integrated pictorial fiction, what is currently understood to be a graphic novel. He followed with Jungle Tales of Tarzan, integrating previously unattempted techniques such as hidden, covert, and negative space imagery with Goethe-inspired color themes into a harmonious visual description, a pinnacle of narrative art.
Date of Birth:
December 25, 1911
Date of death:
January 28, 1996Awards:
- 2010 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards - Winner - Hall of Fame: ((Judges' choice))