Does seeing brilliant work inspire or inhibit?

I collect books by my favourite cartoonists. There are now, thanks to a rather generous sale by the publishers, rather more books by the French cartoonist Jean-Jacques Sempé on my shelves (picture above) than there were a week or two ago. I like seeing work by other artists. Besides enjoying it for its own sake,…

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I collect books by my favourite cartoonists. There are now, thanks to a rather generous sale by the publishers, rather more books by the French cartoonist Jean-Jacques Sempé on my shelves (picture above) than there were a week or two ago.

I like seeing work by other artists. Besides enjoying it for its own sake, it gives me new ideas and perspectives. But yesterday, whilst mid-cartoon and with a deadline looming, I wondered whether flicking though a book by a favourite cartoonist was a help or a hindrance. Seeing great work by others can give a sense of inadequacy and encourage unhelpful comparisons.

How about you? Does seeing brilliant work by other people in the same field inspire or inhibit?