The son of an British Army captain stationed in Bangalore, Hartrick was born in India and educated in Edinburgh. He studied medicine before taking up painting, studying under Alphonse Legros at the Slade 1884-85. Like many Slade students he went on to Paris. He worked at the Académie Julian and in Cormon’s studio between 1886-87, becoming friendly with Toulouse-Lautrec, Van Gogh and Gauguin. After Paris, he settled briefly in Glasgow before returning to London to work in illustration for a number of magazines, including The Graphic from around 1890. While in London he became friendly with the American artist and illustrator Joseph Pennell. Soon after his marriage to the flower painter Lily Blatherwick, they moved to Tresham in Gloucestershire, returning to London in 1907 when he took up a post at Camberwell teaching life drawing and lithography. From 1914 he taught lithography at the Central School of Art and Design.