In your own space, talk About A Creator/Someone Who Inspired You. Leave a comment in this post saying you did it. Include a link to your post if you feel comfortable doing so.
Oh look it's another opportunity to think outside my box. Don't want to do a fan creator or friend this time, since I'd be bound to leave out someone important, but how to narrow down all the creative minds behind the published fiction and art that left their impressions on me? Where's the distinction between loving someone's work and feeling inspired by it?
And then I was like, AHA! Let's go way back: before I knew I wanted to create anything, I knew I loved dinosaurs. You know who was way ahead of me on both counts? James Gurney, author and illustrator of the Dinotopia series. It doesn't always occur to me when I'm thinking of my favorites, even my childhood favorites, because I'm mostly about characters and the appeal of his work is almost 100% setting.
What I didn't realize right away is that the setting is probably 100% an excuse for glorious artwork. The work that this guy put into his illustrations is staggering: epic, hyper-realistic scenes of sentient dinosaurs mingling harmoniously with diverse humans. He included details in the backgrounds and clothing and accessories that evoked a unique culture. He paid attention to practicality and the laws of physics. He sculpted his own maquettes of his characters before painting them, to get the lighting and perspective right.
The textual descriptions and blurbs that fill out the books are a nice bonus, but there isn't all that much potential for stories about a single island where prehistory doesn't apply and everyone lives in peace: it's clear that it all started with images in an artist's head. Gurney must have just really wanted to paint some fantasy art featuring extinct creatures, so he did. He did it so well that a world took shape and people from the real world wanted to move there. Now that's inspiring.