When you first start any new endeavor you want to mimic the greats. I don't care if it's jazz, painting, or plumbing. You can't find your own style (and be good) until you understand the process and skills involved. Picasso was an excellent realism painter before he ventured into cubism. You have to know how to play by the rules before you can begin bending them. (More on Picasso here.)
We have all sorts of ways to refer to this in our culture: apprentice, learning from the masters, discipleship. I don't want to be a clone. I want to be an apprentice. I want to learn from the masters. I want to pattern my teaching after people who do it better than me. Only after I do my best to teach like them can find my own style.