I think you most definitely have to aware of the market you are trying to break into. I used to go to the book store every week and just look at the young adult book covers to see what was getting published.
However picture books are completely different in my opinion. There is such a wide variety of styles and topics. I think you would be chasing that fast moving rabbit if you tried to mimic certain design trends. Especially small details like eyes.
Yes be aware of what’s out there, however do what you love. Work to your strengths. That is what will make you different and authentic.
I basically only knew how to paint realistically so for me my style was so not going to be changed by design trends in the industry.
If you have a follow up question please ask it. I can address in next weeks podcast.
Remember it’s just that one editor’s opinion. You have such a strong powerful style. Keep refining and maturing it.