On the Life of The Artist…

This is not the place to discuss questions of health, but perhaps it will not be thought grandmotherly to mention the extreme importance of nervous vitality in a fine draughtsman, and how this should be ordered on such healthy lines that he has at his command the maximum instead of the minimum of this faculty.

After a certain point, it is a question of vitality how far an artist is likely to go in art. Given two men of equal ability, the one leading a careless life and the other a healthy one, as far as a healthy one is possible to such a supersensitive creature as an artist, there can be no doubt as to the result. It is because there is still a lingering idea in the minds of many that an artist must lead a dissipated life or he is not really an artist, that one feels it necessary to mention the subject. This idea has evidently arisen from the inability of the average person to associate an un-conventional mode of life with anything but riotous dissipation.

A conventional life is not the only wholesome form of existence, and it is certainly a most unwholesome and deadening form to the artist; and neither is a dissipated life the only un-conventional one open to him. It is as well that the young student should know this, and be led early to take great care of that most valuable of studio properties, vigorous health.

From The Practice & Science of Drawing
by Harold Speed {British Painter, Teacher & Writer 1872-1957}