Reference This! Tips for Generating Ideas for Your Next Project
When coming up with concepts for your 3D characters, props, or environments, it's vital to get good reference. Reference can come from elements of your particular location or you can jump onto the internet and find images from anywhere in the world. You can also create scenes and scenarios and photograph those yourself. Think about a few elements of your design that can be grounded in something real and build on those, combining those disparate elements in interesting ways.
For instance, you could combine the very common sight of someone leaning against a wall, face buried in their phone, with the features of a baby pig. Just comb through lots of images and many times a few things will stick out that fit your idea or strike you as interesting.
Even if you feel like you can't draw, don't be afraid of thumbnails. They can be as simple as silhouettes and they're meant to be created very quickly. Don't worry about details, just get down as many ideas as you can. Once you've done that, take a look at the silhouettes and see if anything strikes you, then work up some slightly more detailed drawings for those shapes or even combine some of your favorite elements into a new sketch. Working rapidly on overall shapes and thumbnails can provide a great jumping off point in moving forward with your design.