The Furry: Can it be used for the forces of good?
By Phillip Chanter
It's no doubt that furries have a bad reputation online, with all the yiffing and whatnot, and it seems to me that the webcomics involving any anthropomorphic character is all to quickly labeled with that dreadful F-bomb. This writer being an admitted furry himself often sees a problem with this as sometimes a humanoid being with the features of an animal can be a really cool thing if pulled off properly. However, the fact remains: you can't swing a dead cat within the furry community without hitting something that would make somebody look like they're likely to have sex with that dead animal you're swingin'. But let's say for sake of example that there's some way to actually make a good comic involving an anthropomorphic character and completely avoid the F-word all together. Here's how we're going to do this folks, let's go step by step...
- 1 1. Make your furry look like the animal you say it is.
- 2 2. Show the world you're not just a one trick pony.
- 3 3. Is this going to be cute, or edgy?
- 4 4. LEAVE YOUR FETISH AT THE DOOR!! And do not let that thing back inside!
- 5 5. Never cry out "FURSECUTION".
- 6 6. Worried about the content of your comic? Ask your perverted friends what they think!
- 7 7. Always be original! DUH!
- 8 Conclusion
- 9 Links
1. Make your furry look like the animal you say it is.
This isn't exactly science here folks, if you want your character to look like an aardvark, you gotta know what an aardvark looks like. It's fantastic how google image search is so greatly forgotten by the masses, it can be a great tool to use for learning what things in the world look like (Getting a clear idea of what something looks like in your head is always a good thing to have when applying pencil to paper), but it can also be a great tool for evil as you can see by most comics like Ctrl+Alt+Del, so don't abuse it.
The reason for doing this is it prevents you from falling into bad habits like repetition, varying your creatures can also be great fun as you challenge yourself into working in new elements into your designs and characters. Variety is the spice of life ya know. It can't all just be cats, foxes, wolves, dogs, and dragons (anybody and everybody can do those things).
2. Show the world you're not just a one trick pony.
As the artist of this comic, you really need to ask yourself: Can I draw things like cars/backgrounds/humans/details? I myself in the beginning of my journey into the world of art couldn't draw any of those things until I was convinced to venture beyond my comfort zone. What I'm getting at here is that your comic should always have that extra bit of artistic strength to really keep your viewer from uttering the F-word (furry) and really show them that you can do more than just draw a fox person, it really does work favorably from my experience.
However, it's easy to settle within what is commonly called the "Comfort Zone", meaning: I'm good at drawing this, I'm fine here and don't need to draw anything else. This is a common sign of The Lazyness and any further exposure to this zone will kill the quality in a heartbeat. The best way to kill this habit is to always keep a small sketchbook in hand, draw at least once a day, draw something completely different every day, and always challenge yourself to do better!
3. Is this going to be cute, or edgy?
You gotta admit, furries can be used for a number of themes without much of a problem, they fit perfectly with the cute crowd, and they can be made more beastly for the more hardcore type of comics. However, as you can see from most of the comics here, you gotta know when to hold back on the extremes. The comic Jack is a perfect example of taking things to far with your subject. I won't get into the details with character development as that's something for another day, but with both cute and edgy subjects, you gotta find the right balance for both of those things.
4. LEAVE YOUR FETISH AT THE DOOR!! And do not let that thing back inside!
This is ABSOLUTELY the most IMPORTANT thing to keep in mind when trying to make a GOOD furry themed web comic, LEAVE YOUR FETISH OUT OF IT! This is the easiest sin a furry comic/character can commit as well... the culture itself has a lot of sexual imagery. Now, a blatant fetish put into your comic can really ruin the experience for most people reading your comic (Except for those who are getting off on it of course), and it can also reflect very poorly upon the artist as a whole. Bleedman's Powerpuff Girls Doujinshi for example is notorious for just this (as is the artist behind Kit n Kay Boodle, but Bleedman's is by far more disgusting and illegal in my eyes), to underline a comic with a tone of something that is your fetish can really ruin your image as an artist, in this case the artist looks like he seriously needs a sit down with Chris Hansen followed by a couple of years in prison. Folks, when you're drawing your fetish, you're just making another wish fulfillment comic with only your interests in mind. Nobody wants to read about your kinks, trust me when I say this, it'll save you a lot of trouble in the long run.
That's not to say that you can't always scratch an itch, I mean... who doesn't just want to draw a woman with big tits, or a Chippendale's dancer? However, if it gets out of hand, something has got to be done! Now, sex can be used in comics, it's not entirely taboo if you know how to work it in without it being done in bad taste. Take popular graphic novels like Sin City for example, there's quite a few bits involving characters getting into relationships, Marv, Goldie, and Wendy is a perfect example of this, but it's also done tastefully and realistically. Marv falls for Goldie because she was the only hooker who was willing to spend some time with him despite his rather ugly appearance. Goldie in turn however was using him for protection. Towards the end Marv falls for Wendy after Goldie is killed who in turn falls for Marv for getting revenge on her killers, and they both share one night together before Marv is executed. If you want to include something like sex or anything similar, you should greatly consider reading up on works by Alan Moore, Frank Miller, and whatnot. This can also be done with a furry comic (as somebody mentioned in the forums) so long as you keep things tasteful, it will never be taboo for a cat character to fall in love with a human character and take it to a new level, even down to the yiffing, kinks, and fursuits. However... these types of stories should never get out of hand, it needs to be tastefully done and well written, otherwise you're just foregoing story in order to have yourself and other fellow perverts rub one off!
5. Never cry out "FURSECUTION".
Yeah, I do understand that sometimes being a furry isn't easy given our reputation, but is your skin really so thin that even the gentlest of breezes can cut into you like a thousand razor sharp Japanese katanas? Do you REALLY need to go on a rant about how life is unfair because of your lifestyle choice and why you think such and such is a natural thing? Are you REALLY being persecuted, or are you just being a sensitive little prick who has been posting his fursona having sex with other fursona's on a public website and you're now have people calling you out when you're rubbing your culture into their faces?! When you rant about fursecution in the comic you are making, it becomes one of those pretentious "Only MY opinion matters!" comics. It's a great way of making yourself a target for even more abuse, ridicule, and embarrassment! You do not want this to happen with your comic, and nobody wants to listen about how Mr. Coldassice159 hurt your feelings after seeing your character get into a 3 way!
You really gotta ask yourself "Was so and so's comment about the things I publicly reveal so harmful to my life, that I need to go on a tangent and make this person a straw-man just so I can make him the target for my anger and ridicule, instead of turning the other cheek by making a good comic? And do I really want to dedicate my comic to attacking those who do not agree with my views and opinions, and just turn this whole comic into a drama war while also making this a waste of time for anybody reading?" The answer is obviously NO! Leave your anger at the door with Mr. Fetish over there, they get along perfectly together. Here's a lesson for all of you, and take it with a grain of salt if you must: There will ALWAYS be somebody out there who will not like your comic for some given reason! Sometimes it's for bullshit reasons like "Because it has furries in it!", sometimes it's for a legitimate reason like "The art really isn't that impressive and this comes off as you showing off your kink, you should fix it!". It's called "Criticism" and it can help you if you let it. You gotta take the good and ignore the bad, keeping in mind that the bad is just the really negative shit with nothing helpful to add, and not the comments that point out things you shouldn't do. Most importantly you gotta keep a stiff upper lip when it comes to these sort of things, grow yourself some thick armor plating while keeping an open mind, and never ever cry out FURSECUTION!
6. Worried about the content of your comic? Ask your perverted friends what they think!
I know... this sounds like a total joke, but it makes perfect sense when you think about it! There's always one person out there who will say "That sorta looks like a dick", or point out something rather raunchy in your dialogue. These people are the ones who can spot things like that from a mile away, even if it's cleverly hidden within your pages. Of course... sometimes these things AREN'T so cleverly hidden. But it never hurts to have some of those friends of yours go over what you've put down on your page, you might be surprised at what they can find and point out.
7. Always be original! DUH!
The power of the F-word (Furry) can indeed really hurt one in the long run, especially when you've got somebody out there who absolutely despises all things furry and wishes to have it expelled from the internet, and once the F-word is dropped, things tend to go sour really quickly. The trick to avoiding this is by always being original with your comics (which is kinda like saying "NO DUH!" around these parts)! Let's say for sake of example... your idea is about an anthropomorphic character that is a giant cat whose gimmick is that two regular kids need to combine two magic rings together and shout out the giant cat's name in order to stop a monster, but he's weak to the color yellow, and he hates pumpkins. It's a weird idea, but not something that instantly makes you think you're just going to read something that was spawned from the depths of Furaffinity that's attached to somebody's kink. It's something unique and original like the "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles"! Their story draws in the reader to the point where they really don't care about them being anthropomorphic unless they're a real stick in the mud.
While it's really hard to avoid having an anthropomorphic character getting called a furry, it's in my opinion that a furry can be used for the forces of good rather than for self satisfaction, but it does take lots of work to achieve that much.There are quite a few comics out there such as Tiny Kitten Teeth, that really show a lot of thought being put into this subject rather than one's own lust. I think it's safe to say: Avoid the extremes, don't go the way of Kit n Kay Boodle, and Jack. Put some forethought into your stories and characters, and it won't matter if your character is a robot, a floating green space man, or even a furry.
- Wikipedia entry on Furries
- Wikipedia Portal to furry related articles
- Encyclopedia Dramatica's article about Furries (Totally NSFW link! Click at your own risk, for beyond this site lies the dark parts of the furry culture!)