Publishing for Furries; a Look at Mainstream Writing For and About Furries, by Fred Patten.
by Patch O'Furr
This is a companion piece to Fred’s overview of The History of Furry Publishing. See Part One: Beginnings – and Part Two: Current Publishers.
This looks beyond publishing by-fans/for-fans, to books you might find in stores. There are very few because fans make a tiny market for a mainstream publisher. I’ve often said that I think it’s worth ambitiously hoping for a “Furry Bible” coffee table book (like a Taschen book) worth selling in stores one day.
Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.
Publishing for Furries; a Look at Mainstream Writing For and About Furries.
Okay, we’ve covered the specialty furry publishing companies. What furry books have there been from the non-furry publishers?
Most of them are either s-f & fantasy novels about talking animals, or how-to-draw books. You can probably find the former in the Literature or Science Fiction/Fantasy sections of bookstores, and the latter in the Animation or Art sections.
LITERATURE. The s-f & fantasy selection at bookstores is constantly changing. You can usually find such classics as: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There, by Lewis Carroll (1865 and 1871); The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame (1908); Animal Farm, by George Orwell (1945); and Watership Down, by Richard Adams (1972), in Classics or Literature.
There have been so many s-f novels over the years that I won’t try to list them all. One that many furry fans have cited as particularly inspiring them is The Pride of Chanur, by C. J. Cherryh (1981). It and its sequels have been reprinted many times, and are likely to be easily available. A more Young Adult fantasy, usually in Children’s Books, is Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, by Robert C. O’Brien (1971), which will probably always be in print because it won the Newbery Medal.
The only non-furry anthology of furry short stories is Furry!: The World’s Best Anthropomorphic Fiction!, edited by Fred Patten (2006), still in print despite belief in furry fandom that it is out of print today.
Should we mention the “monster erotica” like Punished By the School Mascot, sub-categorized as “furry hardcore puppet taboo erotica” (the school mascot is a bulldog), or Three Headed Dragon Ravaged My Body? Never mind! (Note from Patch: I’ll just bring this entire list of classy titles for my next long plane ride and/or awkward family function. NSFW.)
ART. There have been many how-to-draw books over the years, usually for general art students or animators. Books aimed specifically for the furry artist are much more recent, and almost all of them are still available through Amazon.com.
- Manga Mania: Chibi and Furry Characters: How to Draw the Adorable Mini-characters and Cool Cat-girls of Japanese Comics, by Christopher Hart. Watson-Guptill, January 2006, trade paperback, 144 pages.
- Draw Furries: How to Create Anthropomorphic and Fantasy Animals, by Lindsay Cibos and Jared Hodges. IMPACT, December 2009, trade paperback, 128 pages.
- Drawing Fantastic Furries: The Ultimate Guide to Drawing Anthropomorphic Characters, by Christopher Hart. Watson-Guptill, March 2011, trade PB, 144 pages.
- Draw More Furries: How to Create Anthropomorphic Fantasy Creatures, by Jared Hodges & Lindsay Cibos. IMPACT, November 2012, trade PB, 128 pages.
- Furries Furever: Draw and Color Anthro Characters in a Variety of Styles, by Jared Hodges & Lindsay Cibos. IMPACT, August 2014, trade paperback, 128 pages.
- Freaks!: How to Draw Fantastic Fantasy Creatures, by Steve Miller. Watson-Guptill, June 2004, paperback, 144 pages.
Freaks! is technically one of many how-to-draw-monsters books for comic artists, but its many animal-human hybrids have made it popular with furry artists.
FURSUIT-MAKING. These are so rare that they are usually part of the Art category.
- Critter Costuming: Making Mascots and Fabricating Fursuits, by Adam Riggs. Ibexa Press, September 2004, trade paperback or spiral-bound, 208 pages.
- Cosplay: Catgirls and Other Critters, by Gerry Poulos. Stone Bridge Press, May 2006, trade paperback, 80 pages.
Note “fursuit” in the title of the former. The word was only coined in furry fandom in 1993, by Robert King who is interviewed in the book. The latter is part of Stone Bridge Press’ “The Anime Costuming Handbook” series, but its emphasis on animal-human costuming has made it popular with furry fans.
THE FURRY SUBCULTURE. These books may be in Sociology or Life Style sections. Shoppers should probably ask a clerk, since they could be anywhere.
- Deviant Desires: Incredibly Strange Sex, by Katharine Gates. Juno Books, February 1999, trade paperback, 248 pages.
- Furverts, by Michael Cogliantry. Chronicle Books, April 2009, boardbook, 24 pages.
- Furries: Enacting Animal Anthropomorphism, by Carmen Dobre. University of Plymouth Press, October 2012, trade paperback, 152 pages.
The first two are not recommended. They are from mainstream publishers that cater to the belief that furry fandom is all about having sex in fursuits. Part of Furverts’ blurb is “Photographer Michael Cogliantry captures the kinky, intimate side of the furry subculture: an elephant and a donkey, a chicken and a fox, caught in flagrante delicto.” He has apparently posed models in animal costumes, not real furries, and photographed them having simulated sex together.
Furries: Enacting Animal Anthropomorphism is a photostudy by an award-winning photographer of 15 European fursuiters and their homes, juxtaposing their everyday lives with them in their fursuits.
These aren’t books, but — If you want to commission furry artwork or a fursuit…
Most furry fans know to go shopping online at DeviantArt (http://www.deviantart.com/) or Fur Affinity (https://www.furaffinity.net/) for artwork. There are other art sites, but start here. Many of the artists of online comic strips also accept art commissions. Check out their websites.
For fursuits, the best (and most expensive) are probably Clockwork Creatures and Mixed Candy. Both have websites with extensive photographs of fursuits that they have built. Almost every furry convention has a workshop or panel for beginners on how to construct a fursuit, for those who want to build one themselves.
Here are three recent “literary” furry novels that you can find on Amazon.com, and in bookshops and public libraries.
I seen the insides of “How To Draw Furries” books.
I wish I could un-see.
Fursuits have been growing in popularity, despite the well-known drawbacks of overheating in them; of poor visibility in them, often requiring a non-fursuited guide; and of not being able to move fast in them. Most furry conventions have a “headless lounge” where fursuiters can remove their heads to cool down.
I’ve linked to these before, but they remain three of the best examples of fursuiting that I know of. Note that these have been designed so that the fursuiters do not have to move fast.
Merry XXXmas from Room 366