"The artist lacking in technical ability often overestimates the value of their creative ideas. A painter not yet capable of successfully translating those ideas into images can’t advance them or improve them. For this reason, the focus is placed first on developing those technical abilities and this is wise because it’s a long and difficult process. Somewhere along the road, however, one has to begin consciously developing their creative intent as well. When and in what balance I don’t know, but at some point it becomes necessary. As I’ve said, most of us begin with imitation. This is the starting point and I feel it stays with us longer than we realize. It hangs out in the back of our minds so long that we don’t notice it anymore. As our skill muscle grows, we will naturally begin to branch out and begin stirring our intent muscles. We become exposed to new ideas which filter in to our intent. It is totally possible to develop a fairly independent style through natural evolution and progression. Left alone without conscious improvement, however, this can stagnate. I feel this (even more than perceived market demand) is why there is so much sameness in genre illustration. Not amongst those leading the field, but for those trying to break in or struggling to keep up. Left alone, the intent muscle is still focused on creating what has already been created in ways which have already been done time and time again. That said, I do feel that one can and should guide their own style by following the stars of others."
"You won’t find your style. If you are authentic to who you are, your style finds you."