Digging through my 1980s/1990s art pieces back at the family house over Thanksgiving, it hit me: I'd really been influenced by Robert McCall. He specialized in space art and science fiction art; his work included a mural at the National Air & Space Museum, posters for 2001: A Space Odyssey, concept art for Star Trek: The Motion Picture, and more. And I saw a lot of it. And, finally, I can see me trying, trying, trying to emulate him with high school art like this:
I'll add: that piece also looks like I was trying to draw Gary Larson's The Far Side, but a serious version, a non-jokey version.
And this, though this is more directly based on a very vivid dream I had. I first did this preliminary version:
...before I tackled it in full inks:
That dream was so vivid, by the way, I remember it had music. (Heck, one other dream was so vivid, I tasted something in it.)
I didn't realize the influence at the time, but hey, older and wiser. I hope.