I came from a traditional art background (pencil sketching, watercolors and acrylics mostly - with some airbrush work) and then stumbled onto the 3D world by accident learning to code flash game actionscripts. Someone in a forum mentioned Blender...checked it out and I was like wow, a free app that can do that? Found Daz Studio about a year later, then moved on to Hexagon.
My major influences would be the Romantics and Pre-Raphaelites, even though I don't consider myself of either school. But for specific modern artists: Chris Achilleos, Frazetta, Kinuko Craft, Kadri Umbleja (aka Iardacil), Diane Özdamar, Frank Miller, Todd McFarlane, Range Murata, Hayao Miyazaki.....to name a few.
Lately I have started delving into Daz Studio 3. I know I am way behind the times, but I was trying to eek out everything I could learn from DS2 and finally think I have done as much as I can do in that version.