don't sweat the comments. i think this looks great and shep sure didn't invent the style he works in, nor does he "own" it. if i were you, i'd keep working in this style (cuz it looks so dang nice) and over a surprisingly short period of time, it'll transform through your mind and fingers into a look totally your own. it's how this stuff works.
from this point on, just do the work and follow your fingers. the personal style will emerge on it's own from now on. just keep working. you've totally mastered the technology and the technique. now, just allow your voice to come through.
it was a weird/lucky coincidence. i was in nyc one day and was walking past a gallery that was tearing down a show that had just ended. i realized it was a jamie reid show that i had seen advertised a while back, so i asked if i could nose around. once i introduced myself (i was simply a sympathetic graphic designer who knew who jamie reid was. that was enough.)
we talked for a bit and i expressed my admiration for what jamie reid had accomplished and i mentioned that iconic cover and he said, "wait a sec." then he rummaged through a few beat up frames and pulled out this dirty broken frame with no glass in it. the composition/collage in it was dirty and streaked and peeling and partially yellowed with age and glue. it really looked like shit. then i reralized what it was and just about had a heart attack.
the best part is that if i had dropped it, it wouldn't have broken it any more than it was already. it was essentially indestructible - so fucked up you couldn't really fuck it up any worse (short of destroying it.) people proof.
just one of those things - a coincidence. synchronicity.