In the same respect, when I write my own novels, I need to be duly inspired; so I begin by searching stock photos online to get a feel of the physical characteristics of my newest hero and heroine. As I write and research, my plot line comes into focus, and my creative juices begin to overflow. And, the first thing I do is sit at my computer for a day and create my "cover" to my novel (I buy all of my images legally with royalty-free rights--I HIGHLY recommend this because the penalties for copyright infringement are very high.) I am by no means a cover artist. But, I think this would be a fun and exciting career to pursue!
Let me say for the record, I am not artistically inclined. I can't draw a straight line without a straight edge (if you call leaning on an incline "straight"). However, I can manipulate images, cut and paste, change forms, blend, even change eye and hair color. I do take my own photographs, and I have used them in backgrounds. But I wish I had a little more talent to be able create the amazing clip art and vector images graphic artists publish.
My dad is actually the one who piqued my interest in this creative outlet. He was an old pressman--you know, the ones who set the old presses with ink and steel templates to produce ads for companies. He worked for an advertising firm in my hometown, and he loved bringing things home from the art department to stir his creativity.
When home computers started to emerge, I remember him toting home an Apple, one of the large desktop ones with the old school CRT monitors. Two years later, on a Commodore 64 (I'm showing my age a bit here), I have fond memories of Dad messing around, manipulating things as his fascination with this boom in technology grew. Printshop, Adobe, you name it and we had it...and dad LOVED experimenting with every feature of these programs. One time, he created a poster to show his "FANdom" as a huge supporter of the St. Louis Cardinals by cutting and pasting his head from a photograph onto a photo of an actual oscillating fan. He still has that picture hanging near his computer. With every new image he created, and it took FOREVER, he would hail me to view his work, and I would sit, watching in awe as he flipped images and created his masterpieces. No wonder I've gotten this bug! I think upon these memories with great fondness; at the age of 88, Dad still runs these programs better than most.
Of course, my publisher has professional artists creating the covers of my first two novels. They asked me for details about my characters and plot points that will eventually be turned into a beautiful prelude to my stories. I do the same thing when I create my own, thinking of elements that give the reader an idea what the book might be about. Hopefully you can tell that my fourth novel, Pure Captivation, is set on the sea during the War of 1812. My "covers" give me inspiration. As I write, I see my characters' faces and feel their emotions. As you can see, inspiration can come in many forms.