Furry art

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Furry art is a term used to describe artwork depicting anthropomorphic (humanoid or feral) animal, characters, fursonas, avatars or personas. Usually created with furry fandom as the main audience, some works are intended for a larger, more mainstream audience.

A person who creates furry art is called a furry artist.

Contents

[edit] Anthro art

Anthro art is a variation of the term used by various artists, which prefer an alternative defining term which does not include, or relate, to the term furry for various reasons (choice, perception of its negative connotation, etc). said artists prefer to be referred as [[anthro artist.

[edit] Defining traits

A portrait representation of typical multi-species "furry" art

The most basic and pervasive idiom of furry art is the depiction of humanoid figures with animal traits: heads, tails, ears, fur, and so on. This isn't always the case: furry artwork can include completely non-humanoid animals whose only anthropomorphic traits might be their facial expressions, dialogue, range of emotions acted out, to the completely opposite end of the spectrum in completely human characters with animal ears and tails attached to them, as is popular in anime fanart. Another popular theme in furry art is in the transformation of people to animals and vice versa, as in werewolves or other mythical creatures, or in science fiction devices, such as the use of genetic engineering.

[edit] Origins

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Main article: Furry fandom history

The most[who?] commonly accepted theory[citation needed] as to the origination of furry art is that it has its roots in the indie comics and science fiction/fantasy fan culture of the 1980s.[clarify][citation needed]

Due to heavy censorship of the comic book industry by the Comics Code Authority in the 1960s and 70s, there was a huge boom in underground comics, and it was during this time that Robert Crumb began creating the seminal Fritz the Cat comics, in which an anthropomorphic feline con artist goes on wild adventures that involve a variety of sexual escapades. The comic would later be made into a film by maverick animation director Ralph Bakshi. Fritz the Cat came at a time when animation was universally considered to be a children's medium, and was met with considerable acclaim and box office success for a non-mainstream film.

The underground comics culture gave rise to a wave of independent black and white comics in the 1980s. It was during this time that many of the first proto-furry comics and APAzines began to appear. Steve Gallacci's Albedo, Eastman and Laird's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Stan Sakai's Usagi Yojimbo, and Reed Waller's Omaha the Cat Dancer were among them, many of them now considered to be cornerstones of what was still becoming the furry fandom.

Many of the most prominent furry artists of the 1990s, such as Terrie Smith, Daphne Lage, and Tygger Graf, and even contemporary fan favorite Marci McAdam all point to Wendy and Richard Pini's popular Elfquest series of fantasy comics as a major source of stylistic influence. Though Elfquest doesn't feature what would normally be considered furry characters, it shares, and is possibly responsible for introducing many ideas popular in furry art and fiction: protagonists who are close to nature and are able to communicate with animals (some of them actually possess wolf blood), an enormous emphasis on empathy and sentimentality, names such as "Petalwing," "Clearbrook," or "Moonshade" that combine two nature- or color-oriented words into one, the use of human beings as antagonistic characters, and a predilection for mystical, nativist imagery.

Even today, popular fantasy fiction and children's cartoons continue to influence trends in furry art. Witness the enormous popularity of Brian Jacques' Redwall series of novels, Disney's 1994 blockbuster feature The Lion King, Rare Software's Star Fox series of videogames, or Rumiko Takahashi's Anime/Manga series Inuyasha among today's furry fan artists.

[edit] Furry vs Humanoid art

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The definition of what should and should not be considered furry is a subject of ongoing controversy.[citation needed] Some individuals favor a definition that includes any and all media that relates to the anthropomorphism of animals, stretching from prehistoric cave paintings to representations of Egyptian gods to contemporary Warner Brothers cartoons, to the most lewd and graphic images that can be found on the VCL can and should all be classified as furry art. Others favor a more exclusive definition, arguing that only those images and media created by individuals who operate within the social boundaries of the furry fandom and whose output is distributed primarily inside of the fandom's channels should be considered to be furry art; and while extracurricular media might be enjoyed by furry fans, it is not furry in and of itself.

The major criticisms of the inclusive definition of furry art are that it is an attempt to justify and elevate fan-oriented output to be equivalent to what is created outside of the fandom (this opinion is predicated of course on the belief that furry art does not qualify for the same level of distinction), and that it trivializes the historical artwork and more mainstream media by the association. Opponents of the exclusive definition argue that it is only used by aggressors and trolls to diminish and confine furry artwork that might be appropriate for a larger audience and that nobody can know for certain what audience an artist intended his creations for.

Many artists who have been known to attend furry conventions, roleplay as anthropomorphic animals, and represent themselves as such in art are uncomfortable with the "furry" label for various reasons. Instead they prefer to classify their artwork as 'anthro,' 'were,' or any number of other terms that all mean roughly the same thing but lack whatever negative connotations or baggage they feel might be attached to furry art that they were trying to avoid.

It should also be noted that there is a significant portion of people who feel that the distinction is not that important, and that to engage in the argument is a waste of time that might be better spent creating, enjoying, or making fun of the art in question.

[edit] Where to find furry art

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A more appropriate question to ask might be where can't you find furry art. A Google image search for nearly any kind of animal will usually yield furry art featuring that animal within the first page or two. However, the enterprising fan might have more success finding furry art at any one of the many galleries dedicated to hosting it:

Additionally, many general-purpose or cross-genre public gallery sites host furry artwork and most of them feature specific categories for it:

Furthermore, there are a wealth of LiveJournal communities dedicated to the creation, discussion, and exchange of furry art.

It is a common practice for artists to create their own individual galleries, hosted on personal website portfolios.

[edit] Creating furry art

A furry artist drawing in a sketchbook

One of the trademarks of the furry art community is its inclusivity. Anybody who wants to put a pencil to paper and draw animal people is welcome to do so and can quickly find a place in the furry art scene should they have a mind to, and many of the galleries listed above have no content restrictions, thus making them ideal for beginners to share their work.

If you are unsure of how to begin creating furry art, here is a simple step-by-step how-to:

  1. Get a pen or pencil and a sheet of paper. Any kind will do.
  2. Draw whatever it is you have in your head!
  3. Lather, rinse, repeat.

That's it! That's all there is to it. Don't be afraid of making mistakes, and don't be afraid of what other people might say about your artwork. Just draw, all the time. The best avenue of improvement for the any artist at any skill level is to practice, constantly. Anybody can draw, and the people that are exceptionally skilled artists are so because they are drawing nonstop. Patience and diligence are all it takes!

[edit] Online resources and tutorials

There is a wealth of information useful to artists of all skill levels available at no cost on the internet, a great deal of which is specific to furry art:

Additionally, drawing resources of a more general nature will help the artist expand his or her skills and visual repertoire.

Art technique and discussion boards for useful critical feedback:

[edit] Selling and buying furry art

Main article: Commission

A significant part of the furry artist community will accept commissions for custom created artwork. Dedicated commissioning websites, like FurArtist, will allow furry artists to open blocks to sell commission slots to other members who may or may not be artists themselves.

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