When I was 5 I wanted to be a painter. I have been a visual person since I can remember! I think it was the only thing I could actually be good at.
For me, it was a matter of practising and perfecting (while still keeping looseness and room for evolution). Everyone has a special way of finding their true voice. What I would say is to not look at contemporary illustration too much... find references in older art, books, sculptures...Be inspired by the culture that surrounds you.
Stop caring about what other people think of you.
An exciting prompt and an adequate budget (Although lately, I am more interested in working with people that respect the work: decent deadlines, fewer revisions, etc )
Make work that is true to yourself!