I feel a moodpboard is important when generating ideas to get a chance to see the look and feel I hope to achieve in my final product.
I like to use mind maps at first to generate a number of ideas and try and see what exactly I want. I feel mind maps are useful as you write the first thing that pops into your head and as random as the words may be they may lead you to your end goal.
Sketches, sketches, sketches
I really like just drawing and drawing until I come across a certain look or shape I like and I feel will suit whatever character or item I am designing. I feel by generating a lot of different sketches benefits me hugely. Even if I am sketching Ideas for one character certain sketches may lead me to a completely different character.
For example, I was sketching a lot of different shapes and hairstyles for Ursula, When I chose the my final design for Ursula I noticed how much I liked one of my other possible designs for her and I decided to use this look for Ariel. I cut some Character designing time in half and I am happy so far with how the two girls will look.