None of my characters are human and all have an unusual collection of features like dark skin, bright red eyes with thick bright white hair. It's unlikely I'll come across anyone who looks like that. To make things even more interesting, some have cat's eyes, tails and wings. And then the animals don't look like regular animals.
Your suggestions gave me an idea.
A while ago, I made a folder called Story Notes. I created a new document in this folder called Character Features and made a list of all my characters. Then, I went to Google Images and searched for different eye colors, hair colors and styles, face and mouth shapes; copied and pasted these images under the character's name.
For the mutated animals... that's what anime is for. Seriously, anime is awesome fodder for a dark fantasy novel.
Doing this has me rethinking my character's features. I'm working backwards- figuring out the children's features before the parents'. I've already had to change some traits.
Plotting features this way will take forever since I have like 30 characters between the novels of my trilogy but, it's world building. Creating an entire race of creatures and underground society pretty much from scratch and making it believable takes a lot of time and energy.
I did the same thing for the buildings. One document per building- dividing said document into Interior, Exterior and Landscape or Yard depending on how big the house is. Google Images also has great floor planes.
The characters and buildings have been taking most of my time so I haven't gotten to gathering pictures of the different villages. But, I am working on a map. Since my world is similar to ours, I found a map of the U.S with only the major cities labeled. I'll see about making it bigger then, once I print it out, I'll plot my villages. This will help me see where each village is in relation to each other and give me terrain and weather. (The last two hadn't occurred to me until recently.)
Doing all this has given me a better perspective of the world, my characters, how the race of creatures first got their powers and how the power affected their physical features. Didn't see those last two coming either. See what I mean by different perspective ;)