For my new project, I need to generate lots and lots of different characters, all of them young animals, so I've been sketching cute little creatures as they come to me, almost doodling around the theme really.
I confess, I find this hard to do in a void. I know some people just open the floodgates it all flows out (lucky devils), but I usually need inspiration to kick-start me and to stop myself going round in circles.
The trick is not to copy other people's drawings or ideas, but use them as a jumping off point. VERY important that! I sometimes make a note of any images that inspire me, so I can go back later and double check that none of the source material remains.
I don't know if any of these sketches I've done will make it into the final book, but I certainly feel far more loosened up as a result!