There's something about a great piece of music that inspires me to create.
More specifically, there's something about the music written for or about the subject of the art piece I am working on that can transport me into a realm where specific styles, details, and elements become remarkably clear.
For example, The Aulani piece I created for the Disney Parks Blog was created while only listening to traditional Hawaiian, Fijian, and Samoan music. I drew my inspiration for the traditional aspects (the hibiscus, the carvings, and the relationship between the man-made building's structure and the natural elements around it) from the completely authentic music I set up as a playlist for this project.
Music has a way of transporting a person to the location it was created for or to put them in the mood of the time it was written. Think about it for a second. When you've just come home from your vacation, you watch home videos to relive those magical moments, right? For those with overactive imaginations, the same thing can be achieved with specific music. You just put on the music, close your eyes, and envision that place and time.
What I also find to be interesting is that I could be listening to an instrumental piece by Buddy Baker while working on artwork that is supposed to reflect the style of the late 60's and early 70's...and though I wasn't there for it, I can almost "channel" a style through the use of that music. The colors I choose, the way I draw the lines, and the blocking of the various elements in the art all come from the feeling I get when I listen to that music.
So...What inspires you with your hobbies or projects?