I've been realizing more and more lately how diverse my influences are. I'm on this journey and picking up influences as I go along. Some of my earliest influences were watercolor paintings that my great aunt painted and we have in our house. And now I'm influenced by tons of people and ideas, from Bouguereau to Skateboarding. I'm currently blending a lot of my influences with a huge emphasis on my love for Studio Ghibli, Hayao Miyazaki + Kazuo Oga. If you don't know Kazuo Oga, then definitely check him out.
The point of this isn't to rehash articles about my influences. The point is that you can find inspiration in everything, no matter what your field of study is. I used to have a sort of tunnel vision in regards to my influences; then I'd find someone else whom I loved but feel a need to stick to my original influences. That's a limiting belief and held me back for a while. Now, I know people are more like sponges than islands. We absorb any influences whether or not we know it; we're not isolated, even if we wanted to be.
The tricky part about being an artist is that you believe that you can follow someone else's path to success. This is confusing in terms of following materials + techniques also. The truth is that materials play an important role in your development, but something more important is to try your best to tell your own story. When you focus on telling your own story, then you will reach your full potential and technique will become secondary.
If you like something that someone does, then learn how they do it. The myth of the lone wolf artist is detrimental to creativity. It's okay to be influenced by different people, ideas and techniques. Remember to work a little bit each day and tell your own story.
"Be yourself, everyone else is already taken."