On the contrary, I use lots of reference for inspiration and learning purposes
in some cases I use 3d tools like unity to view a scene from different angles to get some ideas. Usually when I am going to make a new painting I have a vague idea in my mind of what should happen in the picture. Sometimes it's clear enough to go straight to sketching, sometimds I need more inspiration so with help of examples and tools I experiment until it feels right. With this particular one, I used an in-game environment as a base to paint over and put in the characters. I have had this idea for quite some time when I finally started so I didn't experiment as much with composition as I normally do. In the description is a speedpaint link which shows a small bit of me meddling with composition and stuff using tools like rule of 3rds. Maybe it helps c:
If you have no idea where to start, I suggest you go and study some movie stills or story boards^^ I want to make my work more dynamic and storytelling so that's what I want to do as well.
Good luck and don't hesitate to ask if there's more