So you'd rather not learn from life? Learn for yourself? It's the best teacher.
Referencing other artists will only teach you the errors of their ways, the 'how' they do it and not the 'why'. You'd pick up on my anatomical mistakes and it is the wrong way to go about things when photographic references are completely available and abundant.
You're not going to improve overnight so why not do yourself a favor and take the time required to learn? Be patient, be observant. Don't fall into the pitfall trap that is merely copying others. Expand your knowledge sets and you'll be a better artist for it.