Here are some illustrators that were early influences, and still my favorites:
Dr. Seuss's wild imagination and affirming humor captured my heart at an early age.
Ernest H. Shepard's illustrations for Winnie-the-Pooh perfectly portrays both the spirit of the tiny stuffed animals come-to-life and the humongous trees of the 100 Aker Wood with his scratchy scribbley pen and ink style.
Several of Sir John Tenniel's illustrations for Alice in Wonderland (and not all of them, many of which I find stiff and dull) are among my all time favorites. I spent many hours copying the illustration of the caterpillar on the mushroom and also the Cheshire Cat.
The same goes for John R. Neill's illos for The Oz Series. While I don't find all of them engaging, several of them are, to me, fantastic. I copied this picture of Polychrome, the Rainbow's Daughter, many, many times.
This has been an interesting exercise: I realize that all of my early fave's were done in pen & ink, a medium that I don't use much right now, but perhaps need to get back into....