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Nature is a huge part of my inspiration, as are organic forms. A lot of times just sketching meaningless lines is a great way to get your mind going and seeing things in the shapes. I also use a piece of kneadable graphite to make full shapes instead of just lines. READ, READ, READ!!! If you're hitting some artist's block, a novel or other book can be a great distraction. I always have some form of music going in the background in my studio - several different genres for whatever mood I'm in at the moment. Look at other artists' work to gain inspiration, but don't let it overwhelm you. Just do you.
My absolute favorite classical artist is Peter Paul Rubens. I also love the Golden Age of Illustration artists, such as Charles Dana Gibson, Arthur Rackham, Maxfield Parrish, Edmund Dulac, N.C. Wyeth, and J.W. Waterhouse. More current artists are Brian Froud, Stephanie Law, Loish, Rachel Smythe, Ghoustea, Amariah Rauscher, Jessica Hickman, Chris Beatrice, Mike May, Danny Beck, Jean-Baptiste Monge, Travis Lewis, Adonns Khare, Gris Grimly, Peter de Seve, Kim Minji, Natacha Chohra, Charlie Bowater, Skottie Young, Tony DiTerlizzi, Frank Frazetta, Chris Hong, Gabriel Picolo, Daniel Merriam, and Jake Parker.
The number one piece of advice I give to all artists is this: NEVER show your sketchbook to anyone.
Why? Because you should never feel nervous about your sketchbook. If you never show it to anyone, you are less likely to be afraid to try new things and experiment more. It may sound crazy, but as soon as I stopped sharing my sketches with anyone (including my husband), my confidence grew. Remember, what you see on artists' websites is their best work. I have stacks and stacks of crappy art that I wouldn't show to myself if I could help it. The "sketchbooks" artists show on their sites (mine included!) are the best of the best from their sketchbooks, and some of the drawings may be tweaked a little, too.
Draw, draw, and draw. That said, don't think you're a failure if you can't draw every day or if your sketchbook is a mess. As an artist with 3 chronic illnesses, there are plenty of times I simply can't draw. Just take the time you do have and put it to good use. Look at good references. Reference material is not cheating (unless you're straight out copying). Try to draw live models, if possible. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO GO TO ART SCHOOL TO BE A SUCCESSFUL ARTIST! There is so much information on the internet and there are a ton of self-taught artists in the field.
I work almost exclusively in watercolor. I use Derwent watercolor pencils and Winsor & Newton professional sets (half pans). I now have a set of Dr. Ph. Martin's liquid watercolors to play with. I use synthetic brush sets from my local art store, since I'm not willing to spend a ton of money on brushes. I have one really nice brush that I use sparingly. I use waterproof ink (various brands, black and sepia).
I have several sets of Prismacolor colored pencils, and I use Faber-Castell charcoal and pastels. My kneadable graphite is Viarco ArtGraf No. 1 kneadable graphite putty. For my final work, I usually have to go with a harder pencil to get a lighter line, but I sketch with a regular or mechanical pencil.
For my signs, I use various wood stains, Golden acrylics, and a professional grade sealant.
I use Arches hot-press 140 lb (300 gsm) watercolor paper. I get it in large sheets or rolls to cut to size. I also use blocks for color swatches and testing. I have a zillion sketchbooks. I don't have a favorite brand, but I like hard covers and a good tooth, not smooth paper. I also enjoy gray or tan sketchbooks.