While my eldest daughter was home from college, over the Christmas break, she introduced me to tektek.org's dream avatar maker. It allows you to create one of those cute little GaiaOnline.com style avatars without spending months playing Gaia in order to earn all the accessories you want your character to have.
There are over 400 pages of items to choose from, to dress up the avatars. Many of these items could be used for a steampunk character. There are quite a few goggles to choose from, for instance.
My son and I had fun a couple days ago making cartoon avatars for him, my husband, and myself.
Here are how ours turned out:
My son, the airship pirate: