Well, artistically I would have to say my biggest influence was Michael Whelan. After getting hooked by Star wars, I began looking at SFF for more books too read and, of course, the books with the best covers caught my eye first. I always got excited when I saw a book with a new Whelan cover. Almost always you knew that there was a strong connection to the books themes, characters, or scenes when you saw his cover. One of my favorites is his cover for “Robots of Dawn” by Isaac Asimov. As if the gorgeous background wasn’t enough, the pose and design of the robot Giskard just evokes all the subtle nuances of the character. There is a real feeling of intelligence, deep thinking, and sadness in the image. Although I have found numerous other artists with equal abilities, Michael Whelan is still one of the best and a driving force behind my desire to create artwork.
As for writing, there are too many to list. I am constantly finding new authors who are blowing me away with their stories. However, some of my early influences were Stephen Donaldson for his imagery, Larry Niven for his ideas, and Frank Herbert for his scale. In recent years I have become attached to C J Cherryh for her depth of human emotion and ideas, Patricia A. McKillip for her characters and prose, and Steven Erikson for the scale of his saga and world building. If you stop by my blog, you will find a link to my LibraryThing page where I have listed all the books I have read. Each and everyone of them has had an influence on my writing. Whether it was a book I could not finish or one that I could not put down, they all inhabit my thoughts and influence my writing choices.