Here are some of the recent cards I've made..
This is a pop up that I made a coworker of mine. She rides motorcross and I wanted to have it reflect that. It's kind of hard to tell in the picture, but the motorcross rider is hitting a jump and he's the pop up in the card.
This ones for my cousin Jenne who is currently attending boot camp. I had to cheer her up so on the brick wall I put the words "Stay Trashy" in graffiti lol ... I was only disappointed in the amount of tape necessary. I had oscar on another card but the way it popped up wasn't working correctly. Instead of re-making the whole thing I pulled a frankenstein and removed him. Got it all figured out on this one but hence the tape issue.
Lastly I made this card for a student of mine. She loves "The Great Mouse Detective" and so I found a neat picture of the mouse to use in it. She didn't seem too impressed. Just screamed NOOOOOOO and walked away lol. Her mom sent a really nice note about how much she liked it though. <3
One trick that I use when looking for inspiration is coloring pages. They give a simple outline to draw and you can easily add your own colors and flare to them. That is how I got the idea for oscar, its a coloring page that I remade.
Another fun way to add color to your cards are blow markers. They can be used to fill up background space or give a fabric look to clothing etc. (heres an example I did)
I also recommend using felt markers for the outlines. I like them because I can sketch with pencil and use the marker for the final outline, then when I go back to erase the sketching it doesn't smudge like pen will. Permanent marker bleeds and I hate that too.
Oh- and if you have issues with your pop up folding over, glue it to cardstock for some added stability. I've ended up doing this to most of my cards. It gives them a higher quality.