suppose a most common desire in every human being is
the wish to express oneself through an art of some
sort, whether by writing, poetry, music or acting,
drawing or sculpture. Personally I have got lots of
amusement, for myself at any rate, through elementary
dabbling in most of them.
like trying to draw. With me drawing a picture is
quite an exciting adventures, for I never know how it
is going to turn out.
never learned to draw at school because it was an
"extra" and could not be afforded, but I
tried to teach myself by studying and copying
pictures by artists and noting how they got their
effects. I have even picked up ideas from cave
drawings of primitive bushmen: if these were crude
and untutored at any rate they conveyed the idea of
life and action to a remarkable degree.
most of my life I made a point of writing home weekly
wherever I might be, and I knew that my letters were
the more welcome when illustrated with sketches, so
when I was travelling I often made them up in the
form of an illustrated diary in sketch books. Thus
now a goodly collection of these which form for me a
useful record and a reminder of good times in the
should probably do much better if I took a course of
drawing lessons, but it is always difficult to kind
have, however, had some of the best practical
instruction since the London Sketch Club elected me
as an honorary member. This was many years ago and
they presently allowed me to become a working member.
So, when I attended their Friday evening sessions, I
got the kindest help and criticism from them, and
also the inestimable privilege of watching them at
work and noting their methods. They included among
their members John Hassall, Dudley Hardy, Lawson
Wood, Heath Robinson, Harry Rowntree, Starr Wood,
Rene Bull, F. Shepherd, and many others.
a clever, brilliant, and jovial crew they were and
are, bless ’em.
sketching, such as it is, besides giving me a
scrapbook record of my travels, and bringing me in
money, has taught me to recognise beauties in nature
which would otherwise have escaped me.
after my first arrival in India The Graphic
offered remuneration for sketches of interest from
the front, so I tried my hand at it, and to my
surprise and satisfaction I got a cheque for six
guineas for the first attempt.
didn’t delay to send in more, and this was the
beginning of a long and happy connection with that
journal. It brought me into personal touch and
friendship with Mr. Carmichael Thomas, then
proprietor and Editor. Also it brought me into touch
with a very useful addition to my slender income as a
subaltern and eventually enabled me to take my share
in polo and pig-sticking, which would otherwise have
From: Robert Baden-Powell, Lessons
from the Varsity of Life, 1933