If there's anyone out there who would like to work as an illustrator one day, my hot tip is to get yourself a pocket sketchbook. It needs to be small enough to fit into a handbag or pocket, otherwise you tend to leave it at home. You can get them at A6, which is very handy.
The sketch on the left was done in Sheffield's newly refurbished Botanical Gardens. The one below is fishing boats, drawn on holiday in Portugal.
I often show a sketchbook to school children (see Dyslexic Dinosaurs) to prove that I do actually carry one.
It's the very best way to practice. The trick is not to be too precious and draw whatever is in front of you. When there is nothing else about, I have been known to draw my own hand or foot.
Sketchbooks also provide a fascinating visual record of the forgotten corners of your life. I treasure my sketchbooks above all else.
I was inspired to write about sketching by a wonderful blog I came upon recently: Urban Sketchers.
Every single day, the blog features freshly drawn sketches from all over the world. They are all of professional standard, but all very different, both in content and style.
Here are a couple of recent examples to wet your appetite: the one to the left is by Tin Salamunic, working in the US, the sketch below is José Louro in Portugal. The whole blog is a visual feast!