First off, there's two pieces of advice to any aspiring artist/illustrator:
1. "Wanna be a good artist!? Draw! Wishing won't make it happen!" - paraphrasing R. Crumb
2. Practice, practice, practice...
There, that's it. Anything else from art school to books like this are optional.
So why, especially during a tight financial time, did I eagerly plunk down US$20 for this?
Because it is well written, full of good illustrations by some artists I really like - and - full of good and creative and inspiring advice. I'm a hobby illustrator, although some of my political cartoons have been published (and I mean for $) but am always striving to improve my skills and my favorite subjects are of course in the fantasy/scifi areas.
I've skipped a lot of the recent books, considering them too juvenile, such as the MangaMania series, though those are nice. My other favs are the "Drawing and Painting Fantasy Figures", "Drawing and Painting Fantasy Worlds" and the classic "Encyclopedia of Fantasy and Sci-Fi art techniques".