I've long been a fan of the illustrations of Norman Rockwell. His sensibilities strike such a nice balance between realism and caricature, and above all he creates believable and entertaining images. The characters are crystal clear, the situations are relatable, and the compositions are impeccable. He is a wonderful observer of human nature, and he's got a great sense of humor! I recently picked up the book Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera, which shows a lot of the reference photography that he used for his paintings. The photos themselves are very interesting to see; he staged his subjects very well, and was meticulous with the details such as costumes, props, and lighting. What I really find interesting, however, is comparing the photos to the final rendered images. Here you can see a little bit of Rockwell's thought process. He picks up on certain nuances of character and exaggerates them, while he lets less important details fall away. He exaggerates shapes, lines of action, expressions, and composition, all in the service of telling a story. There are many parallels between the work of an illustration like Rockwell and the work of an animator, and I draw a lot of inspiration from him.