I admire Steven Belledin's work. He does a lot of work for Magic: The Gathering. And get this: he works with paint! No, really. Not the software. Actual paint! I'm glad there are still a couple of us out there.
I met him briefly at GenCon '08. I had just shown my portfolio to Wizards and was feeling a little down. I asked him how he got started and if he had an artist rep ... but I forget most of the conversation. All I remember is that he worked hard eventually made his life as an illustrator work.
Which is all I want to do.
Check out Steve's gallery.