I think one of the most influential artists of my childhood is Ken Sugimori. Sugimori made the illustrations for the first 151 pokemon of the original series himself. He's also worked on many other franchises such as Super Smash Bros. and more recent pokemon series. I still remember getting my first pokemon card at a garage sale in the 4th grade. It was a charmander. I remember reading the different artist renditions of all the pokemon cards. I was engroessed with all the illustrations on every single card.
I still sometimes look through my pokemon card album (yes, I still have all my cards) to get inspiration or just look back at all the time I put into collecting all 151 pokemon cards.