As an author,
The first thing I do when i start a series or a new novel. I pick out what my characters look like. I pick a location (95 percent of the time it's a place I've been. 5 Percent of the time it is a figment of my imagination, completely made up).
Let me start by saying I don't do anything special to find characters. I think of some characteristics i want them to have and I either get on Pinterest or google to find the best possible match. I love having my characters packed in a little folder so I can look it over to make sure I'm accurately describing them.
By doing this it solves a number of issues for me.
1. Consistency since I have pictures of what I expect my characters to look like I consistently describe what they look like without accidentally changing their eye color or hair color half way through. (I've seen this in books and it's a pet peeve of mine.)
2. It gives me something to inspire me to write. I can start mauling over a scene and imagine what It will look like with my chosen characters.
3. I'm ahead of the game if there is a movie made. (lol J/K).
I guess it is time to pose my question? Writers how do you come up with the physical attributes of your characters? Readers, do you think having that image of the character is helpful before you read the book??