I've never been great with that aspect of design, so it's always something I try to get my head around. But most of the time the focus of where I seek inspiration has some sort of purpose, linked in some way to what I'm working on. A lot of my drawings are based around my sometimes tree-limbed, sometimes bird-faced, sometimes plain old Emily character, and more so lately, I've been working on developing her story, which is all there floating around the nether regions of my head, but is simply a matter of translating into some sort of coherent shareable form (I'm not really known for my communication skills). But I am easily distracted by the details. Delayed. In one or two "stories" there is a house.
And lately I've been decorating the house (you know, in my head). In particular, I find I need to design the rug, a particular rug.
some pattern/design sketches
watercolour in progress with aforementioned photoshopped rug
But the rug is also another story itself. As is the wallpaper and a long taspestry in the hall in the style of an old chinese watercolour. I'm terribly confused by the whole thing myself. Needless to say, it's a slow process.
Anyway, while we're talking about patterns, check out Denise Nestor's latest work. Work in progress, I believe, but it's still wonderful.
If you haven't come across her stuff before, check out her site. She's one of those people who makes drawing seem effortlessly beautiful.