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Posts Tagged ‘Furry’

So one day I was lurking the front page of FA (FurAffinity) when I stumbled upon a gem of a submission.  Granted, it was just their own take on various other images that you can find everywhere but I digress.  It was a “tutorial” of sorts.  On how to make your character/fursona original.  What a wonder this work was.  And here I was thinking that even by creating something that meant something to you, you were being original.  Silly me for believing such nonsense.  It’s ludicrous to believe that giving your character unnatural colors or markings is original.  Or that creating a character of a specific species is unoriginal.  Unless you’ve completely thought up the idea yourself, you’re not being original!

 

A pink and blue kangaroo with a removable green wig and a strawberry mark on it's back...yep that's a completely unoriginal concept. Seen it a hundred times before.

Okay, okay…of course I’m being satirical now.  It’s no secret that I like sparkle animals and it shouldn’t be a secret (well…it won’t be anymore) that I believe something that is completely 100% original is hard to come by nowadays.  So when I see the concept of other people’s character getting bashed, it just makes me want to slam my head against a desk.  Granted there are many people out there who are just trying too hard to create a unique character or people who could possibly use some character design classes (myself included), but that doesn’t mean that they’re completely unoriginal or uncreative.

 

Usually this concept of original vs. unoriginal comes up during periods in the fandom when an artist creates a popular trend or species that has nearly everyone creating one on their own.  But of course there’s going to be the naysayers who believe that because you’re partaking in a particular fad that you’re being unoriginal.  You have a soda roo?  Nope, too many of those exist.  Not original.  Or a pokesona?  Nope…based off fan art.  No way you had any originality with that.  What about sparkle dogs?  God no!  Those things are too hideous to be unique or of any importance.  You have to love the types who can tell you exactly what is or isn’t original based upon…the fact that they’ve seen something similar before.  You also have to wonder if those types find anything original.  Usually you can please these types by drawing naturally colored animals.  But how many times can you repeat the same colors on naturally colored animals before you say that you’ve seen it before?  This isn’t to say that using natural colors is unoriginal (it most certainly isn’t).  It does limit you quite a bit with what you can and can’t do with your character.  If you want a naturally colored dalmatian you’re limited to a white and black or white and liver palette.  While the spot combination will change, there’s no doubt you’ll probably be thinking of Pongo and Perdita when you’re looking at the picture.

 

What some of these fads also do that many people fail to realize is that they get people to create.  They get people thinking about what colors and attributes they want to give their character.  What will their personality be?  What specific species will I be referring to?  There’s more than one type of kangaroo to base a soda roo off of.  So while they might be following a specific fad which might die in time, at least people are creating.  They’re exercising their ability to be creative.  Even memes allow for creativity (even though we might be dead tired of seeing them all the time).

 

Even fan art can have an original spin...now only if I'd sit down and finish this picture...

I realize that you’re entitled to your opinion.  And just as you may have yours, this one is mine.  Originality rarely exists anymore.  Everyone copies or is at the least influenced from someone else.  And even sitting down to draw a simple little character requires a little bit of creativity or originality (at the least creativity).  Not everything that’s created needs to be a brilliant masterpiece worthy of placement in only the finest art establishment.  No.  Sometimes creating for the sake of creation or for fun is just as good.

 

What do you guys think about creativity?  Do you think it’s hard or easy to still be completely creative and original?  Or do you think people now have to work harder at it since there’s more ideas out in the world and it’s easier to get your ideas out there?

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This is more of a revamp of a previous post I wrote.  While I laid out most of the reasons I believe the fandom is great, I never really went into specifics.  It was just about my introduction to the fandom with one reason why I liked it.  Hardly a way to describe how I love the fandom.  So here’re my top 5 reasons I believe the furry fandom is great.

 

5. It easily overlaps with other fandoms. 

'Cause with all the various animal combinations, having Kamen Rider OOO animalized was an inevitable choice...

 

Really this is quite self explanatory and I caught some flack for it when I wrote my post on fandom overlap.  Mostly because people didn’t see it as something that needed to be pointed out or didn’t care.  It’s really something that I personally care for though.  Everyone else is free to disagree if they wish, and I would actually love to know why other people disagree.  But that easy overlap is something that is fun for me.  I predominantly go to anime cons and my cosplay plans mainly consist of furry characters such as Pokemon or Digimon, or perhaps something more elaborate like some of the mechs from Super Sentai (well…considering some of them are animals and would be made in a similar manner to a fursuit it could be considered “furry” to a very…very…minuscule degree).  I’m often confused as to why other people don’t see the overlap/similarities, especially with the rampant amounts of cat and fox girls at anime cons, but that’s not for me to judge.  I just like that it’s there.

 

4. The Community

 

The fandom is nothing but a community of people who come together over a similar interest.  And like with any community, it’s nice to know that there are people out there who are like you, like what you like, or can accept you for who you are.  It’s just human nature to want to belong to some sort of group.  Even the “loners” and anti-conformists out there belong to some group or another.  But what I like about the furry fandom isn’t just the whole idea of belonging.  It’s the camaraderie that exists…the support that people have for others.  Doesn’t matter if you’re an artist, musician, fursuiter, or just an art appreciator.  When someone’s in trouble, that’s when the fandom really shows it’s true colors.  Sure…you’re always going to have those few people who have no intention of helping others and they can be quite vocal about it.  And that’s fine.  But the majority really do their best to promote new artists, advertise who needs help, and actually give to those who need help.

 

3. The Ability to Make Fun of Ourselves

 

This is a big one.  Because let’s face it…furs tend to be the butt of a lot of jokes or a lot of hate.  You’ve even got the Landover Baptist Church out there claiming that furries are “a new fetish” and that “God hates us”.  Everyone who tells us that we’re sick, disgusting or to “yiff in hell” probably thinks they’re being clever or witty when in fact they’re saying the same thing that people have said to furries hundreds of times over.  It’s actually really annoying at this point.  But most furries take it in stride.  Not only do they just ignore them but they tell those jokes amongst themselves.  Furries make clothing designs with the term “furfag” can tell each other to “yiff in hell” and honestly…by this point it really doesn’t matter to people what you say.  Most furries walk into the fandom well aware of the stigma surrounding it and they join it regardless.  Why?  Because if they’re already drawing anthropomorphic animals and or/making or wearing fursuits chances are they’ve already been compared to furries.  There’s no point in segregating yourself from the group because you dislike what’s bad about it.  Every group has a downside and we’re all aware of it.  But we find that the good outweighs the bad.  If worse comes to worse, just laugh at the insults.  They don’t make sense anyways.

 

2. The Art

 

This one’s a no brainer.  If you’re in the fandom, most likely you’re in it for the art.  It’s impossible to not be considering art is a huge part of the fandom.  Not just drawings but sculpture, music, writing, artisan crafts, costuming, and more.  As difficult as it can be to find those hidden gems, once you find them you’ll be amazed at the talent and skill people have.  If you make art of any kind, you’ll find some sort of audience.  But really this just leads up to my number one point which is…

 

1. The Creativity and Originality

 

When I’m speaking about “originality” I’m not saying every character is the best, most original thing out there.  But when I speak of originality, I’m saying we’re trying our best to be original.  And we’re trying out best to be creative.  The furry fandom isn’t one that’s base off of our favorite characters from childhood.  That’s not to say that Disney’s Robin Hood, The Lion King, or any other childhood tales involving animals don’t impress or influence us.  But the heart of the fandom is the characters that each person creates and the creativity each person has to offer.  You don’t have to be a stand out artist or professional artist to be a name in the fandom.  People can just really like your costume or your character.  Or you can be a musician, writer, comedian…there’s a number of things that furries have to offer.  Fandoms like anime, sci-fi, and comics exist to pay homage to already existing characters.  That’s fine too.  But there’s something special about being recognized for your own work and your own character.

 

So that’s my reasons I love the fandom.  Now I want to hear from you guys.  If you’re a furry, why are you a member of the fandom?  The art?  The costumes?  The friends you’ve made?  Why is this fandom fun or special for you?

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We’ve all heard of ’em and we all (whether we want to admit it or not) are a part of one or more.  In conjunction with the furry fandom, you have the anti-furries.  In conjunction with the anime fandom, you have the anti-anime crowd.  In conjunction with the Twilight fandom, you’ve got the anti-Twilight crowd.  Need I say more?

 

Anti-crowds are rather popular.  They mysteriously pop up whenever a subculture, form of media, movie, book, series, etc. becomes a major focus of attention at some point.  These sorts of crowds have always been around.  When rock and roll first was created, the movement against it was very strong.  Same for jazz, and rap.  I suppose the music today that get’s this kind of flack is the “teenybopper” music.  Those songs sung by the likes of Justin Bieber, and anyone else in his age range.  But doesn’t it strike you as odd that anti-fandom fandoms get so riled up over such miniscule things?  What is the purpose of hating someone for liking anthropomorphic animals?  You probably liked them as a child and still do to an extent.  Winnie the Pooh, Bugs Bunny, Mickey Mouse…I suppose you hate them too.  Or what’s the purpose of hating people who like media from Japan.  While you may want to claim that it’s really the “weaboos” that you hate, you’re reaction towards the whole fandom (from the people, the cosplay, and the art styles) tends to say otherwise.

 

The ironic thing about these anti-crowds is that they tend to think more about what they hate than the people who actually like such things think about.  Deviantart is a great example of this.  And for this I’ll use the example of sparkle-animals again.  This is one of those anti-groups within the furry fandom.  I’ve touched base on it in a previous post but to summarize, sparkle animals are animals that are given unnatural colors and markings not only for their species but for animals in general.  Some people love them, some people hate them with a burning passion.  There is no in-between.  And anti-sparkle animal crowds devote a large chunk of their art to mocking (or “satirizing” as they like to say) people who create these creatures.  Never satirizing the mild sparkle creations.  Always the rare, obnoxious ones.  The one some 12 year old who’s new to character design created with way too many colors, markings, and accessories.  Those kinds.  They make them and have all their other sparkle animal hating friends praise them.  Bringing them much e-fame in the deviantart realm.  Or the anti-Twilight crowd…ever notice how they’ve got a ton of Twilight related submissions just about how much they hate Twilight?  While people are free to express themselves in anyway they want to, why would you devote so much time and effort towards something you hated?  You can’t change the minds of people who like those things, and those who are moderate will remain moderate.  The only people you’re pandering to are…others that hate the subject?  But in order to do that, don’t you have to have this subject that you hate on your mind as much if not more than the people who actually like such things?

 

There’s a number of reasons anti-crowd members can give for why they’re a part of the anti-crowd.  But really it only boils down to 4 points (Credit for a few of these points goes to Cracked.com.  I can’t remember the name of the specific article but it was about why it’s better to be a conformist rather than an anti-conformist):

 

1) The desire to rebel.  Everyone does at some point in their lives.  Particularly against your parents.  Some people take that to a grander scale and want to rebel against “the man” or “the system”.  You rebel against the mainstream.  So you see that anime’s become the new it thing.  As a rebellious person you don’t want to join that crowd so you go against it and you find reasons that you hate it.  Regardless of if you’ve actually seen any anime series or not.  Or you can just go from what you remember of DragonBall Z, Pokemon, Digimon, or Yugioh as a child and claim that it’s all for children.  Or the opposite route if you’ve been mentally scarred by something you’ve seen, claim it’s only for perverted adults.  You don’t know this as a fact as you’ve never really watched much anime since you were little.  You’re just going to do all you can to rebel against what you perceive as popular.

 

2) The desire to belong.  It’s a basic human need.  Everyone wants to belong somewhere.  You don’t want to feel like you’re all alone in the universe.  And thus you have anti-groups.  Deviantart again is the perfect example.  Go to their groups menu and search “anti”.  What do you find.  Lists upon lists of clubs whose sole purpose is to come together over what they hate.  Sounds like a grand waste of time to me.  Especially since these things are so petty.  Why not come together over the hate of…I don’t know…racism?  Sexism?  War?  Things that if you put effort into you can actually change something in the world.  Instead this effort is being put towards hating certain fictional character pairings or Justin Bieber.  But if the only thing you wish to put effort into is hating on people for liking something, more power to you then?  Hopefully one day you’ll grow up and see how childish things like this really are.

 

3) The desire for stereotypes to be the full truth.  While a grain of truth lies in a stereotype, it’s a stereotype for a reason.  And that reason is because the truth is so coated in this cover of lies that it ceases to be true anymore.  The stereotype for furries is that we’re all these depraved perverts who want nothing more to either have sex in animal costumes or have sex with animals.  While the furry fandom seems like a haven for people who are zoophiles, the majority of furries are very much against zoophilia…with a burning passion.  Why?  Because 1) it’s illegal, 2) it’s disgusting, and 3) it gives all other furries a bad name.  But for some reason, despite knowing that stereotypes aren’t even remotely always true, some people still believe the stereotype about furs.  Though to play off what I said in my previous rant, if you’re going to be prejudice, display equal opportunity prejudice.

 

4) The non-desire to listen/learn.  Anti-fandom people don’t want to understand why this person over here likes this, or that person over there likes that.  They want to remain ignorant of any sort of facts.  Or just the fact that it’s impossible to lump a bunch of people together even if they share a similar interests.  There’s an anime fan over there that doesn’t ramble on using “kawaii!” or “desu!”?  “Nonsense!  We can have none of this!  They must do it even if they won’t show it.”  Or a furry who’s a virgin?  “Blasphemy!  All furries are sexual deviants and I know this as fact!”  You see, that’s the sort of commentary you get from those who wish to remain ignorant.  And sadly you can do nothing for people like this.

 

The point here isn’t to say that it’s wrong to not be a fan of something.  You don’t have to be a fan of everything and in fact that is an impossibility.  But don’t go so far off the deep end that you become a part of these nonsensical “anti” crowds.  Just as you don’t have to be a raving lunatic fan girl to be a fan of something, you also don’t have to be some dark, depressing moron who spends all their time hating on stuff for the sheer purpose of hating on stuff.  These people are the equivalent of the raving fan girl only more obnoxious and more annoying.  Because if there’s anything more annoying than talking about what you like all the time, it’s talking about what you hate all the time.  At least we know the reason why talks about something they like.  As for why people devote their time to something that they hate…that is a concept, my friends, that is beyond me.

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Despite there being artist in all fandoms, this one is specifically geared towards the furry fandom for a few reasons.  In the anime fandom your popularity is gauged either on your being an already published mangaka/successful animator or for the case of non-published artists, being able to successfully and skillfully draw already established characters or which ever characters might be popular at that time.  The lucky anime artists will have their own characters known, but for the most part, the anime fandom is about celebrating and coming together over already established works.

 

While there are certainly established “furry” characters (Pikachu, Sonic, Spyro, etc.), most furs don’t go around furry conventions looking for the pokemon cosplayer.  No, they’re searching out their favorite original characters created by other furries.  As well as searching out their favorite artists for conversation, possible commissions, or just wanting to meet the face behind one of their favorite fursonas/characters.  So this rant’s for the furs out there.  At least the ones who complain about different marketing strategies artists take to earn money.

 

Adoptable/Character auctions.  If you haven’t heard of them, they’re auctions of premade characters that artists don’t use anymore or have created for the purpose of selling.  And it seems to be all the rage amongst furs.  On deviantart, there are full groups set up for the selling and trading of various characters either through the usage of actual money or through DA’s points system.  But when adoptables or other characters are sold on FurAffinity, money is the sole option for getting one (unless they’re free which they rarely are).  The most I’ve seen a single character go for in an auction was $400+ dollars.  The lowest amount maybe $2 or $3.  Yet there’s always someone who wants to rant and rave about how wrong artists are for “selling characters”.  And then rant and rave at people who wish to buy said characters because “they could always make a character themselves”.

 

Yes…yes people can always make their own characters.  And they do.  But why do they want to buy this particular character?  Because it’s that particular character.  Made by that particular artist.  Maybe they like the colors and markings and you want a character with those colors and markings.  They didn’t think of doing it first but here’s a character that they really like, admire and want, and unless they don’t have enough to pay for it, nothing’s going to stand in their way of buying it.  And it’s a brilliant marketing strategy for making a decent amount of money in a short period of time.  Adoptables using the same base are quick to create.  Just put some colors on the premade base and you’re good to go.  This is the cheapest variety of adoptable.  Then there’s people who create very different character sheets for each creation they make.  These are you’re higher end adopts.  And usually the more popular artists can use this version because people want work by this artist, from this artist and are willing to pay for it if they can afford to (sometimes if they can’t).

 

Artists know their market perfectly when they do this.  They know their standing in the fandom, they know what sort of creations others in the fandom (or rather their watchers) look for.  And they cater to that.  No different than what any other working person in the world does.  Sure a person could create a character and it would be cheaper, but would it turn out exactly like the character that X-artist over there created?  Most likely not.  And most likely not and most likely they wouldn’t be able to get away with ripping the same design from X-artist over there due to the potential trolls, flamers, and white knights coming to protect their precious artist’s creations (while I agree that stealing intellectual/artistic property is wrong, I generally disagree with the tactics of most people who comment on such things).

 

Imagine this.  You walk past a store.  You’ve got money to spare after paying off student loans, rent, mortgage, etc.  And in this store window you see…a plushie or statue (depending on your tastes) that you would just love to have.  And it’s from a studio or artist or creator you admire.  You don’t need it.  But it appeals to you.  You know you can make something like that, but you can’t make that particular object.  And you want it.  So you buy it because you’ve got that bit of money to spare.  Now you can say you’ve got a creation by this person you admire.  Like a woman who buys a Gucci bag buys it to say they’ve got a Gucci bag.  Or a person who buys a Ferrari buys it to say they’ve got a Ferrari.  You’ve got a creation by X-artist just to say you’ve got a creation by X-artist.

 

So…as a (somewhat…though I highly, highly doubt this will ever work) “appeal” to the haters and flamers out there, artists can sell what they wish and people are free to buy what they wish.  If the fact that artist A over here is making hundreds selling character designs is bothering you so much, find something that you can create and offer to the community and work hard to market that skill.  Everyone’s got something.  Even you.  If you put half that amount of energy into doing what you do instead of ragging on other artists because of their selling a colorful dog character and making about $50 off of it, perhaps you could make a bit of money too doing what you love.  While I’m sure this appeal won’t do anything for you guys (you’ll just continue on being flamers and haters), perhaps those on the fence about such things can find a different yet valid viewpoint on the subject.  And also it was a nice way to end the rant.  ‘Til next time, guys…

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Whether they be dogs, cats, horses, or rodents, sparkle animals are a staple in the furry fandom.  A staple that seems to catch a lot of flack for being “unrealistic”, ludicrous, ridiculous, unoriginal, and plain old uninteresting.  They’re the butt of a lot of jokes for their bright and unnatural colors, markings, and accessories such as bracelets, bows, and piercings. 

 

Had it not been for a comment I received on Deviantart about this particular picture that I’d finished up today, I probably would not have touched this topic.  For me the issue was always a non-issue.  Sparkle animal are just as original and unique as a naturally designed character.  They’re a fun way to play around with colors and patterns.  And a good way to show that you don’t take yourself too seriously all the time.  But for those who hate (and I do mean hate with a fiery passion) unnaturally colored animals, the idea that something like this green and blue jackalope here is “unique” and “original” is foreign.

 

There isn’t a defining line of what constitutes as a “sparkle” animal though.  For some, it’s a naturally colored animal that’s offset with an unnatural color.  For others it’s the extreme of a character so outrageously colored, marked, and accessorized that it’s visually unsettling.  The latter is usually what you’ll see when people make fun of “sparkle” animals.  Because you’re stereotypical “sparkle” animal is a wolf so anorexic that it doesn’t look like a wolf anymore.  With long, thin limbs but a bushy mane and tail.  And a coat pattern of 6 or more colors and markings.  Usually some of those markings are music notes or hearts.  Accessories are typically multiple ear piercings, bracelets, and leg warmers.  And when a character is that detailed, it’s no wonder that unnaturally colored animals end up frowned upon.  However one must take in account that those who design characters to that extent are typically young teenagers and probably don’t have much experience in character design.  It is more difficult that people would like to believe.

 

I for one am a fan of these so-called “sparkle” animals.  And often attempt to design my own, usually to no avail (though that jackalope character and art above is mine, it is not a character I designed).  I love the originality in many of the designs and the usage of color.  And when a design is done well, it’s really done well.  For example…

 

This red panda.  Yet again, it’s a character and art that’s mine yet I didn’t design it.  Rather I bought the design from a wonderfully talented artist that goes by the name “Vani” or “Vanimute”.  All I did were tell her the colors that I wished for in a red panda character.  The markings and placement of the colors I left in her hands.  And this was the outcome.  She’s rather beautiful don’t you think?  There’s only so far you can get with natural colors and markings in red pandas.  And with using solely “natural” colors on animals, you can be sure to run into a person who’ll have an extremely similar character to yours.  Very rarely do fully naturally colored characters stand out in the sea of animal characters.  There’s only so much you can do when you want a naturally colored husky or red fox character (even if you do use the colors and patterns on domestic bred foxes).

 

So I’ll end this with a question:  Why is it that sparkle animals receive the hatred that they do?  And is that hatred well justified?

 

End note: My personal characters lean towards having more “natural” designs so it was a tiny bit difficult to come up with picture references that I wanted to use.  Without permission from other artists, I’d rather stray away from using their art or characters in this manner.  Both pieces and character above belong to me.  Do not use them without permission.

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There’s something that I notice at anime conventions and it’s that there is a silent disrespect and hatred for the furry fandom.  It seems some “otaku” place themselves on a pedestal over furs.  I understand that at an anime convention it is conventional for people to cosplay as anime characters.  So furs that dress up as pokemon or digimon or any other creatures related to an anime series are generally left alone.  But there’s a silent double standard in the anime fandom and it’s that you can costume as any character, anime related or otherwise, but god forbid you fursuit as your personal character!  Or god forbid you sell “furry”/anthropomorphic art in artist alley.  People will talk about them behind their backs as if somehow they are greater than the other person.  And this isn’t just limited to the furry fandom.  Anime fans get their fair share of hatred.  Anime in America is thought of as a fad that will disappear in time.  People who like anime are thought of as immature or “wannabe Japanese” people.  God forbid a person shows a genuine interest in the language or culture as well as likes anime.  They will be thought of as a “weaboo”.  And what about sci-fi and comic book fans?  Their like of cosplaying as their favorite characters at conventions is always fodder for late night comedians to poke fun at.  They’re thought of as the 40 year old, overweight virgins who will never get a girl because of his “insane” interest in Star Wars or Superman.  Yet there still seems to be a ranking system of fandoms within fandoms.

 

But does no one ever notice how fandoms always overlap?  Anime fans have their conventions.  Furries have theirs.  Heck, there’s even a convention for Power Rangers fans.  And comic book fans have Comic-con and other variations like C2E2.  And sci-fi fans have their conventions.  For every fandom you can think of, there is a convention for it somewhere in the world.  But for the purposes of this entry, I’ll only be focusing in on connecting anime, comics, tokusatsu and furry.

 

There’s one thing that all these fandoms have in common and it’s that they’re more alike than their fans would like to believe.  I’m a new fan of Japanese tokusatsu and an old fan of anime and furry.  Japanese tokusatsu and anime are easily connectible as they’re both forms of media that come from the same country.  Not to mention series like the Super Sentai series and Kamen Rider can sometimes read like a live action anime.  But where does furry fit into the scenario?  Very easily.  In the furry fandom, many anime series tend to be very well loved because critters are the focal point of a few popular series.  Pokemon, Digimon, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Wolf’s Rain are four of the most popular.  Animal and/or shapeshifting characters from other series are equally as popular.  Ein from Cowboy Bebop, Mokona from just about everything that CLAMP has made, or some two of my personal favorites, Spinel Sun and Keroberos from Cardcaptor Sakura.  As for furry-type characters in tokusatsu, you’ve got anything from Godzilla to the more animalistic yummies in Kamen Rider OOO (IE: the bird type yummies created by “lost” Ankh).

 

What about a connection between American comics and Japanese comics (manga)?  At it’s simplest, comics and manga are both stories told through image and text.  Nothing more, nothing less.  People seem to think of anime and manga as a genre of it’s own without realizing that just like American comics and animation, Japanese media is separated into genres such as shounen (meant for boys), shoujo (meant for girls), action, horror, comedy, “mahou shoujo” (magical girl), psychological thriller, and so on and so forth.  There’s a good chance that if you have a genre/subject that you like in American comics, there’s a manga out there that you might enjoy as well.

 

I don’t have to do a rundown of every detail of every fandom to show the constant overlap between them.  My point’s been made just fine.  People have different interests and sometimes those interests collide.  But if there’s one thing we can all agree on it’s that we’re a part of the fandom(s) because we have similar interests to others and we want and need to have people in our lives to share that interest with.  We come together, cosplay and support one another in our endeavors because it’s fun.  And in the end that’s all it ever needs to be is fun.  There doesn’t need to be any ranking or comparing ourselves to one another.  We don’t need to shun a person expressing being a furry at an anime convention or being an anime fan at a sci-fi convention or a comic book fan at a furry convention.  Because when you get right down to it, that person also shares your interest.  Or else they wouldn’t be there in the first place.

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I’m not ashamed to call myself a furry.  I’m not ashamed to be a part of the furry fandom.  And I won’t hide that I’m a part of it.

 

I hold a good deal of negative opinions about the furry fandom.  Many of which will eventually be ranted about here in future posts.  But my negativity should not detract from the fact that I hold this fandom very dear and I’m very happy to have found it.

 

To anyone outside the fandom, they’ll see a bunch of strange people who seem to have a fascination with dressing up in animal costumes, wearing ears and tails, and have some weird adoration of anthropomorphic animals.  For anyone who’s idiotic enough to believe everything they see in the media, they might find furries to be socially awkward or at worst, amazingly perverted.  For people with those opinions, your opinion of myself or anyone else in the fandom won’t change because you seem to be set in your ways.  My hope is you don’t use such blanketed generalizations for all groups of people.  But for the majority of people, they have no idea what the furry fandom is.  Or if they do know, they might’ve only heard about it in passing.  Or are intelligent enough to not take CSI for absolute truth.  Those people could actually get a little something out of this and see from a furry’s perspective why they love the fandom.

 

I’m relatively new to the fandom.  I’m 22 now and found out about it when I was 18.  A member on Deviantart (DA for short) linked to her new account on a website called “FurAffinity” (FA for short).  Clicking on the link, I found a site completely geared towards anthropomorphic and animal art.  It was the perfect outlet for my work.  I did draw animals mostly after all.  There was a market for it on DA, but DA’s target audience tends to be wolf and anime artists.  Unless you’re particularly amazing at what you do or cater to what happens to be popular at the moment (or cater to nostalgia), chances of your work being spotted are low.  Thinking I’d have a better shot on FA, I joined under the name “Ookami-girl”.  And thus was my first venture into the furry fandom.  I still didn’t really have an idea of what a furry was.  Not a single furry can even explain what a furry is.  So for the longest time I denied that I was a furry.  I didn’t want to use a label on myself that I didn’t have a definition for.

 

Unlike the majority of furs though, I won’t deny the adult side to the fandom.  It exists.  And we all know that it does.  It is the thing that people think of when they hear “furry” and it’s the thing that frightens people about the furry fandom.  And it doesn’t take a genius to know that being an artist that caters to the adult side of the fandom will bring in more pageviews and favorites.  In other words…it makes you popular.  And as a bit of a sucker to be popular, I did cater to that side of the fandom for a while.  So I’ve been on that side a bit.  Many furs wish to downplay this side and pretend like it doesn’t exists.  When a show about sex talks about the furry fandom, any furs that take part in these interviews tend to become outcasts in the community.  And the fight to claim that sexuality is only a small portion of the fandom grows stronger and louder.  For some furs, this might be true.  For others, the sexuality might be the only thing that ties them to the fandom.  This is lesson one about furries…every furry is a furry for different reasons.

 

But because adult art isn’t what I like to draw nor want to be known by I switched accounts (mainly to match my DA name, SombraStudio).  Non-anthropomorphic art and digital painting is my forte.  But after I aired out the fandom’s dirty laundry, how could I possibly say that I love it?  Well it’s quite simple really.  Because unlike many non-furs who look at the fandom from the outside, I see the other aspects the fandom has.

 

What does the typical furry hating online commenter have to say when they see a picture of a fursuit?  They see an object that will potentially be used for sexual roleplay and treat it as such.  Spewing comments like “Yiff in hell, furfag!” or other such variations.  On rare occasion they may praise the craftsmanship, but have to add in something along the lines of “It’s a shame what it’s going to be used for…”, hinting at the possibility that the person wearing the costume will in fact use it for adult roleplay purposes.  But I see a work of art that a person had to have worked at for years to create the quality of work that they made.  The skill they must have had to create a mask with good visibility and ventilation while still looking like the creature it’s supposed to look like.  Or the ability to create the illusion of being a four legged creature by making quadruped suits.

 

And what does the typical furry hating online commenter have to say about anthropomorphic art?  A great generalization about how all furs are zoophiles.  Even on the tamest of pictures.  And usually they don’t understand why people would choose to represent themselves with animal characters rather than human ones.  Art is all about expression and fantasy though.  The artist is free to express themselves in whatever manner they wish to.  As for fantasy, what do you expect with anthropomorphic animals?  The Redwall series by Brian Jaques is a perfect example of fantastic anthropomorphic animals.  And for examples in everyday children’s media, there’s Looney Tunes and Disney to look to.

 

Why do I love the furry fandom.  I think 2 the Ranting Gryphon put it best in one of his comedy shows.  It’s such a diverse and creative fandom.  It’s a fandom that celebrates artists of all genres and skill levels…not just the ones who’ve “made it” (in a professional arena).  Illustrators, animators, painters, sculptors, muscians, writers, comedians, singers, costume makers, etc…they all have a fair and equal voice in the fandom and all are equally celebrated for their originality, characters, character as a person, humor, or whatever else they might bring to the table.  The anime fandom exists to celebrate the characters and series that already exists.  The same goes for comic and sci-fi fans.  But furries celebrate the characters, skills, and talents that each person uses and contributes to the fandom.  And it’s a tight community of people who support each other when the going gets tough.  That closeness is something that I’ve yet to witness from any other fandom that I’m a part of.

 

It is for that sole reason that I love the furry fandom and wouldn’t leave it for anything.

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