David Foldvari about illustration students:
if you study graphics or illustration, my most serious piece of advice to you would be to stop looking at my stuff for inspiration as soon as possible. if you want to be genuinely inspired or influenced by what i do, then look outside the tiny and insignificant bubble that is contemporary illustration. watch films, read books, look at other forms of art and design, learn about what's going on around you - anything that takes you outside illustration. despite of what your tutors may tell you, as an illustration student, referencing and studying other contemporary illustrators' work is not only going to damage your own work, but it will only help to homogenise and water down illustration as a whole. there is a big problem with illustration students at the moment - they are spending too much time referencing and copying other illustrators' work, and this will end their career before it has a chance to start. i'm only stating the obvious here, but as a student, you should do everything to make sure your work looks nothing like anybody else's out there, otherwise it will never be noticed, and you might as well get a job in mcdonalds.
i and most other working illustrators i know generally go and see a lot of degree shows, and anyone referencing other contemporary illustrators tends to be seen as ignorant and a bit second rate and crap - nobody wants to see the same old, but we all love seeing things we've never seen before, it's what moves this industry forward. as a new graduate, it's your job to move things forward, and by referencing other illustrators, you are doing the opposite.
There is a lot of truth in that....