All the great dead painters. They are gods.
Gregory Manchess, Jon Foster, JC Leyendecker, Phil Hale, CF Payne, Eric Fortune
I remember when I was a little boy, the sweet smell of papaya was wafting through from the marketplace as I was watching Jackanory in 1977. It was a painfully sleepy, dreary day until Quentin Blake came on the telly to tell a story about Lester which is here if you'd like to see it... http://www.quentinblake.com/illustrators/action_jackanory.html
I was mesmerised and although I'd drawn lots of pictures before then, I believe that's thye exact moment when the 6 year old me fell in love with it.
I admire so many! The Golden Age has been very influential to me, with artists such as Edmound Dulac, John Tenniel, and Alphonse Mucha. I love the psychedelic shapes of Dr. Suess, Peter Max, and many poster artists from the '60s. More modern/contemporary artists that I like include Mercer Mayer, Leo and Diane Dillon, Maurice Sendak, Tara McPherson, Swoon, and Banksy.
yes, i admire Shuan Tan, the illustrator of "the arrivals"
Hirohiko Araki, Hiroaki Samura
From the past I really, really, like Rockwell and that sounds cliche but he depicted in his illustrations what I like to portray. He painted people doing everyday fun things and that's awesome! Today I really enjoy looking at Tomer Hanuka's stuff it's really interesting and his color choices are great.
Past illustrators: Norman Rockwell, Howard Pile and Fashion Illustrator, Jane Bixby
Present: Sarah Mensinga, Sujean (who does the illustrations for DailyCandy.com) and Disney artist, Peter Emerich.
In the past I loved the works of Sergeant and Brad Holland;
later I prefered Ashley Wood, and many more that just now slipped my mind,..
There are so many good ones but my current favorites are Ashley Wood and Scott C.
Peter de seve, erwin madrid, nathan fawkes, andy bialk, john nevarez, marc gabbana, paul lasaine, sidney meireles, paul sullivan, phillip dimitriadis, tim heitz....the list goes on forever
This is a hard one.
I love the work of James Jean, as well as following the blogs http://souvlaki.jp-ar.org/ and http://tropicaltoxic.blogspot.com
For past illustrators/artists ... erm .. I will have to say Arthur Rackham, Kay Nielsen, Egon Schiele and Edmund Dulac. I also love Goya and Da Vinci's sketchbook work.
When I was studying for A Level, I loved John William Waterhouse and Frances MacNair ("Bows, Beads and Birds"). The painting "Saturn Devouring his Son" by Goya is also pretty good. I don't really like Frida Kahlo's work, but I do love the wierd content, such as her painting "Without Hope".
But I have an absolute fetish for film. My favourites at the moment being Pan's Labyrinth, edward scissorhands, amelie, battle royale, gladiator, billy elliot, the heathers, Io Non Ho Paura, the dark crystal, willow, the last unicorn (top craft), baz luhrmann's romeo and juliet, blood diamond, interview with a vampire, the secret garden (1993), peter and the wolf (suzie templeton), le ballon rouge (1956) ....and I could go on....
Plus, I admire my colleagues at LCC, where I study for my degree; we help inspire each other.
Tim O'brien, Peter de Seve, JC Leyendecker, Parmigianino, Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci
One of my 'mentors' early on was Paul Calle, a true master with a pencil, who elevated pencil art and has a technique not seen in other artists work. He kept the thought alive in me that I could enjoy a career in art with just a pencil if I worked at it!
Other artists specializing in pencil portraiture and realism would be, Linda Huber, Mike Sibley, Sarah Theophilus, Julie Rhodes, and here in Denver, J.D. Hillberry to name a few.
For cartooning and caricature: Tom Richmond, Mort Drucker, Jack Davis, Jim Harris and so many others.
Oh, gosh. So many.
Esther Pearl Watson
Quentin Blake...etc etc