Looking at the wonderful work of Peter De'Seve, I often ask myself this very question. It's a question that an old family friend of mine used to ask whenever he was mpressed beyond his ability to verbalize... How do it know??
I can look at one of his pieces for an hour--trying to reverse-engineer it. What kind of paper does he use? What kind of pen? I have really decided however that it must come down to the drawing. His draftsmanship is deadly. If his work has anything to tell me as an aspiring illustrator, it's that you can never draw enough. A firm foundation in drawing, life drawing, sketching, gesture drawing, observing, looking... Filling up page after page of meaningless doodles and sketches. If I have any regrets about my schooling in college, it's that I didn't spend enough time drawing from life. Another drawing master that I have long admired is Henrich Kley.
I often see shades of his work in old Disney films. It is said that some of the characters from FANTASIA were based on some of his drawings. His work really inspired me to push myself harder in my drawing. As I continue to get better, I think how far I really have to go--how much more there is to learn. It's REALLY exctiting and I look forward to new challenges. Eventually, I hope that my work will evolve into something else--another discipline. I don't know. I am just wicked happy to be able to do this for a living.