I think it’s important to see your art as a story.
Each image isn’t a stand alone piece or a trophy to be admired of your progress but it should be part of something that you are continuing to say and to articulate to people. Not to say that every piece you create needs to be deep , it could be pinups or cars or environments but it’s the way it’s presented and the stylistic choices you make in that art that sets it apart , it’s your vision which then becomes your story.
Which is also why I feel your art should be genuine because drawing from or bringing into existence something you haven’t felt or cannot empathize with makes it very difficult for others to empathize with your work. It’s part of the reason that plagiarism (not to be confused with influence) breaks my heart -it’s people who feel like they have no story to tell and try and re-tell others but will never be able to.