For fun, let's play with the presumption that whatever we make/create has a spectrum of influence.
Along that spectrum of influence , there are two basic ends:
1. very inspired (strongly looking like something that someone else has done)
2. very free forming (ever so slightly looking like elements of someone else's work but combined in a unique, individualistic way and may have elements of something completely new).
More important than the two theoretical ends is the location of where we fit in that spectrum on any particular day, any particular project and/or any particular part of a project. With so much history to draw from, it is always extremely important to take in as much as enjoyably possible. This aggressive expansion of the mind will greatly increases our ability to create better work.
Take in as much as you enjoyably can:
With such endless possibilities of influence, where can influence come from?
The short answer is, "anywhere" &"everywhere".
If life is too busy and you can't go to it then let it come to you. The wonder of our modern age is that getting out can also include hopping on an electronic device to go exploring into the inter webs. Morning, noon or night one can just venture off without worry of distance taking up too much time. One of my favorite times for this is right before sleep. For my mind to transition to calm, I can hop on the iPad while laying in bed and pop on Pinterest and take in some productively relaxing imagery, say under the search topics of illuminated manuscript, carpet pages, vintage post cards, woodcuts, victorian, wallpaper prints, art nouveau, imari, sometuske, script, historical documents and the list goes on... Just letting those visuals positively occupy & expand my visual vocabulary.
!There are so many great source of visual greatness there!
Now relating this "presumptuous" spectrum to the good times we have with our daily planners:
On some days: The design that my Chronodex will be interacting with is heavily inspired from something I have just seen or has been on my mind for sometime. During these times I am actually either directly referencing a composition or an element of a piece directly. With that as a base I expand the imagery to reflect my general style of work. The reward from these sessions is the fun of reinterpreting something in your own hand.
On other days: I find one line spontaneously turning into another and then so on from there. On those days I do more pencil work first so I can quickly redirect any misdirections. These sessions leave one with a strong feeling of independent creativity.
No matter where we stand on the spectrum of influence, the fact is that the more knowledge we can pull from the more competent, our end result will be (either a better interpretation of something specific or more unique in its free form). Another positive side effect of a varied knowledge base is that it will create enough uniqueness to protect us from the dreaded intellectual burn out that can happen during long term projects. Burn out usually happens when our insight is tired from being too limited.