I’ve heard it said that there are two types of geniuses: the type whose work makes someone feel that they’ll never measure up, and the type whose work makes someone feel inspired to do better work.
But really, doesn’t that say more about the observer than it does about the genius? I can look at a design or hear a piece of music, and I can choose how to let it affect me. I can choose to try to create something similar just to see if I can, or I can hang my head and say, “I’ll never be that good.”
Even if what I’m doing could be considered copying someone else’s style (and sometimes rightfully so), I’d rather choose to make myself better than to wallow in self-deprecation. How else will I learn? How else will I be better if I don’t take steps outside my comfort zone?
Just don’t take me as saying that it’s okay to copy someone’s work then call it your own. It’s not. That’s called stealing. Nevertheless, there is definitely something to be said for analyzing someone’s work and figuring out what works and how to use it in your own work.