A once-a-decade publishing event: “Mordrude’s Monster Manual”, for fursuit builders.

by Patch O'Furr

Enjoy a visit to Mordrude's gallery of suits - I'm quite partial to Totes McGoat!

Enjoy Mordrude’s suit gallery – I’m partial to Totes McGoat!

For many years, there’s only been one Fursuit-making book in formal printed form fit for a reference shelf. That’s Critter Costuming, by Adam “Nicodemus” Riggs. Since it came out in 2004, the art has really raised it’s bar. (I can’t believe how appealing all the fluffballs at the cons are!)

Flayrah shared reviews of Critter Costuming here. It was considered basic (though very usable), and suitable for an update. I’ve actually asked around about funding a new edition; Nicodemus is warm to it, but says he lacks time. It’s a usual reason that niche interests don’t easily sustain themselves… the book has modest demand, but couldn’t repay much investment. Making any such book is a labor of love.

Now, Furstarter reports a new costume-making book is up for crowdfunding – “Mordrude’s Monster Manual”.

Mordrude makes a point of avoiding “toony” mascots. Her manual will focus on more realistic animals. I think this is a smart focus, offering a great companion reference to the basic mascot building in Critter Costuming. It will feature:

a compilation and expansion of her tutorials… A portion of the book is a walk-through of three fursuits… textured pawpads, patterning, creating removable antlers, start to finish tips for designing, planning, and purchasing– and one that sounds amusingly halloweeny, casting jaws from a real skull. There aren’t that many books about the fursuiter’s “trade”…

She promises: “All the stuff everyone else doesn’t want to share!” It’s a very generous contribution. The book isn’t fully funded, though. As I write, it’s won a large amount of budget it requires on Indiegogo- but if you want to see this book, I suggest helping it reach 100%.

Help Mordrude’s Indiegogo campaign here.

I asked Mordrude for more details about making the book – and would it go in stores? She answers:

Hi there! I hadn’t really thought about anyone really wanting to carry my book, I sort of expected it to be mainly PDF sales after the campaign. I guess I underestimated the level of interest!

The Monster Manual I am expecting to run between 250-350 pages! I am setting it up almost in textbook format. I’m attempting to be as thorough in attention to detail in my book as I am in my other projects, which means I won’t overlook anything I can imagine would be relevant. I haven’t left myself much room for profit – I just want to get the knowledge out there to as wide of an audience as possible! I have taken special care to avoid using the word ‘fursuit’ in any of my promo materials outside of FA, so it can be marketed to as wide of an audience as possible without having instant negative stigma. It sucks that I have to consider that, but I’m a realist after all!

This is a book I expect to have updates and revisions (perhaps I’ll do different editions!) relatively frequently, probably every other year.

I poked her for more conversation about skills she can share:

I have fascination with blending anatomy/genetics study into my designs. I approach every project by researching the species I’ll be making, to make things as realistic as I am capable of. Things people often overlook, such as the fact that hyenas have no fur between their pawpads and have barbed tongues, take my work to a whole new level. Things like fur pile direction, texture, and length are very important to me, and I go to great lengths to source different options for furs so I can keep things as natural looking as possible.

I’ve learned so much just in the process of approaching this book project, I can’t wait to see what I can still improve upon! This book project is a whole new beast for me though. I’m interacting with a whole side of the fandom I haven’t had many chances to meet before, including yourself, and it’s very exciting!

I hope to hear a lot more about this. Please do comment and share- it will help inspire more support for this very worthwhile project.