Anne Gallagher has a post about characters for a new book. She has pictures for each one and talked about how she doesn't like to write a character until she can find a picture of who represents that person. I've seen a lot of bloggers post pics of their characters. I know these pictures aren't the characters themselves, maybe more inspiration for them. And it could be anything in the photo, the physical appearance, expression on their face, or the emotion portrayed.
I've never done the picture thing. Maybe I'm odd. Especially since I realized my mom (love you mom!) had come across pictures she thought of as my characters. I posted here about people watching, but even that doesn't give me characters. It might give me mannerisms, or motivation but not a character. At least not yet.
Sometimes my characters come fully formed. They walk up to me, figuratively speaking, and tell me who they are, and what they are looking for. Sometimes they are a little harder. I know their public persona but they hide their feelings and motivations from me. As to inspiration for them, it's often an emotion, or maybe a snapshot picture in my mind. A picture of a girl crying, a man wondering if his wife loves him, a woman on a cliff looking out to sea, the back of a van covered in a destroyed wedding cake. Then I have to figure out what is going on.
I'm sure there are just as many ways to find characters as there are authors. How do you find/see your characters? Do you look for pictures of them on the web?