How to achieve the creative edge? Here's my take.

For me; reference, patience, decisiveness, and confidence. Let me expand.

When illustrating I like thinking of my own experiences with the topic at hand including what I think the best approach is and so on. Then, I create a reference folder for all kinds of imagery related in some way, through by internal filter, to the subject. Meaning, expand beyond the normal google searches and go into tangents.

My patience comes from not rushing through the animation and concentrating on the current timing and weight of the character. If my excitement makes me get ahead and end up with the inevitable, a fractured design... I immediately decide to throw it out and start again. Only way to not get lazy is to make yourself not care of how much time you've already spent on an ugly painting, logo, or poster.

Confidence? Always go back to the fundamentals, drawing and painting. Without those, I personally think the battle is harder. Being able to exactly communicate on paper what's in your head is not easy.