Some little while ago, Totusmel posted in her blog asking for suggestions and inspiration. I offered something up that inspired her and she created this lovely piece -
So I thought maybe it would be worth reiterating here, a way I often find inspiration. Themes and elaboration on them. I've had great success working though a theme to all its possible conclusions for inspiration. Usually a more abstract idea or broader 'thing' works the best, because you don't want to constrain your brainstorming too much. But even something like "This orange origami camel sitting on my desk" can work. I'll use the example that produced my suggestion to Totusmel, because I've been working with that theme a great deal lately: Airship captain.
I did this piece http://sarahdungan.blogspot.com/2008/05/i-think-its-done.html and from there, proceeded to do some airship designs, some airship captain sketches, and a set of images for pendants based on the idea.
In basis you explore outwards from the idea. Airships, captain of an airship, pilot of an airship, the environment an airship travels in, the far off lands an airship might visit, the wife pining at home (classic sailors mythology right there). The mechanics of how an airship might work. An airship port maybe? Just keep listing until you simply can't think of anything else. Then see what sparks your interest and go from there. And remember theres no harm in reiterating a theme until you feel your through with it! Sometimes the best ideas come in herds.