In order to become an illustrator for children’s picture book you must practice the skill of drawing as much as you can. This is the only way you can become better at the skill. I’m a mood sketcher, painter, drawer. I do it whenever the mood grabs me. This can be often or seldom at all. In between those times I practise my writing. This system works for me.
The sketch above is my attempt to try and develop my skill at drawing characters. Although the girl is a little elongated in places there are parts of it I like (the jacket with buttons) and parts I can see are terribly wrong (her neck length, etc).
At college I drew from life. Life drawings, portraits and sculptures of the body. Drawing from imagination is incredibly difficult for me.
I get a lot of my inspiration from watching other artists illustrating and reading their blogs. Here are a few that you might find useful: