Describing a character can be a tricky business, especially if they are a main character and you want to get them just right. FVP Featured Author, Victoria Bastedo shares a tip:
I find my story from the inside out and I like to reveal my main character that way too. Exposing who the person is and how their life situation entwines their footsteps is more interesting to me than listing the minute details about their appearance right away. Imply what they look like as the story goes on. Drop a few hints here and there, they seem to be tall, or redheaded, since the other characters refer to them so. Finally let them look in a mirror and reveal the flash of their face- but in that glance in the glass also show their inner vulnerability and bring them back into their convoluted situation. Making them human is always more attractive than making them pretty. ~ Victoria Bastedo
I find it better to describe them (to a certain extent) so the reader can feature them, but I do let the story illuminate their character, good or bad. I don’t like t to have an image of a main character and later find out they do not look that way at all. It may depend upon the genre also.
I agree if you’re going to eventually define something like hair color, eye color or size/shape etc., it’s good to get that out in the first scene with a character so you don’t end up with that image switching problem. But I like it best if none or maybe only one physical feature is defined and the character-building is more by mannerisms and actions/reactions. I definitely like Victoria’s point about not dumping everything at once as a list.
A list would be deadly. There are numerous ways of doing it depending on the scene. Perhaps it is each author exercising their voice.