One question that artists hear often is "Where do you get your ideas?" A lot of the time I get them from my subconscious.
Doodles! They can be a veritable gold mine of ideas and inspiration! Even those little scrappy ones that you do in the margins of your notebook or on a Post-it while in class or a dull meeting -- they're ALL things you can use to create something spectacular! Also, it's a good idea to keep a copy of your inspirational material should you ever be accused of infringing. This actually happened to me once, I dragged out my notebook and showed the accuser the evolution from doodle, to sketch, to design to repeated design all of which were date stamped. Here are some doodles that went to design: