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Ralph Hagen

Ralph Hagen can remember the actual moment he started cartooning as if it were yesterday. Hagen says that he was about four when he saw a cartoon pencil sketch hanging on his grandfather’s porch drawn by a second cousin of his, who eventually grew up to become a commercial artist. The drawing was a rendering of Alfred E. Neuman of MAD Magazine, exclaiming, “What, me worry? “
Ralph Hagen
Published in X-Ray Issue: 13 - Oct 2006
Authored by: | Photography: | Translation:
Download pdf ► Ralph Hagen profile
Hagen spent hours just staring at that cartoon, “trying to figure out how someone could use just an ordinary pencil and a piece of paper and come up with that”. From that day forward, all he did was cartoon.
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The young Hagen would cut open paper grocery bags for drawing paper and draw until there wasn’t an inch of space left. In first grade, Hagen would turn over the handouts and draw before he had done the school work on the other side. “Now, why wouldn’t my teacher and her wooden yardstick approve of that?” he kids.

Hagen sold his first cartoon at age 17, and thought, “Cool! People will pay money for these? Bonus!” He was hooked and couldn’t stop cartooning if he tried. Hagen said that if he lost his hands, he would draw with his feet —“those cartoons would just have to come out”.

Hagen has been procartooning since 1976 when he landed a job as editorial cartoonist at his local paper. Hagen also did the color work on the strip, ‘Mudpie’ for renowned artist Guy Gilchrist, of ‘Nancy’ and ‘Muppet Babies’ fame.

Hagen says that he owes Guy Gilchrist many thanks for entrusting him with his panel and all the support Gilchrist gave him over the years. “He truly is one of the best”, says Hagen.

In the early years, ideas and punchlines were harder to come by said Hagen. He really had to work at it. But after 23 years of professional cartooning, Hagen seems

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