Say What You Will, A Fursuit Is A Lot Of Work.

One thing [Dr. Cockroach]’s build log shows is that a fursuit isn’t an easy thing to make.

Furries came out of early American comics and grew into the subculture the internet just can’t leave alone today. Many people take on an avatar of their furry self when participating in this subculture, and one of the prize achievements is to design, commission, or build a fur suit. What [Dr. Cockroach]’s build shows is why some of these suits can easily fetch 10,000USD. It really is a labor of love. It’s also brings up one of his goals in this project, to discover cheaper ways to construct these suits, so other people who share his hobby have a more financially accessible process to join in.

We were fascinated at the construction process. A base was built out of soft foam around a mock head. On this base more foam was layered and carved before the shape of his avatar, Marcus, started to take form. His wife found the testing process particularly humorous, but when he was happy with the arrangement and the movable jaw he began working on the pattern.

The pattern making process is very clever. He layers the foam base with masking tape and then peels it off. It’s easy to then cut the tape strategically until it lays flat. We can definitely see ourselves using this trick to do anything from sheet metal to duplicating plastic forms.

Then comes quite a lot of difficult stitching. We’d never thought about it before, but if you’re trying to simulate fur a lot of attention has to be paid tot he direction the fur lays; further increasing the difficulty.

Wherever your opinion lies, no hacker can turn down a detailed build log, and there are tricks to be learned anywhere if enough attention is paid.

54 thoughts on “Say What You Will, A Fursuit Is A Lot Of Work.

  1. Impressive! It actually looks like the drawings that Dr. Cockroach shared before he started building it! Not a costume maker myself, but I am fascinated by how much effort can go into various technological enhancements that fursuit makers build into the more advanced fursuits – motorized moving tails (both on their own and on some external trigger), moving eyes, jaws that open and close when you’re talking… Would be interesting to work on making tech for costumes like this, fursuits or otherwise.

    1. There’s a lot of value here. Full body covering suits of various types are likely to become more common over time, whether we are talking about fur-suits, space-suits, vr-suits, environmental-control-suits, and power-armor. I say why not combine all of the attributes in one grand outfit? If you end up covering yourself in equipment for VR, or extra strength, or to make one’s self comrfortable in less than ideal environment, why not don some attractive fur on the surface and replace the battledroid look with something less scary and more approachable. Mind you, a 7 foot tall rat would not necessarily be less scary, (anyone who has seen Princess Bride knows that.) but there are some attrractive looks that can work like with the fox who recently won the masked singer contest. Also, think of the energy we would save if we only heated and cooled the space around our bodies rather than whole buildings!!! :-)

    1. Dr Cockroach wears glasses ;) being able to do exactly what you describe is a well-known need in the fursuiting community, and can be addressed through a number of different methods.

  2. For people who care so much about appearing like animals, why do they always get the ears wrong?

    Animals have ears on the side of the head as well – not on top of the skull. It’s just the earlobes that are different.

  3. A few notes from a fellow furry (plz don’t hate me)…

    One, the origin point of *modern* furry culture, as much as there can be said to be one in the first place, is currently held to be the release of the movie “Animalympics” in 1980. That said, the approximate *idea* of furries (“gee, wouldn’t it be neat if we combined humans and animals together to make something with a bunch of the better aspects of both”) is, to put it rather quite mildly indeed, of a considerably older beginning. Probably the earliest modern treatment would not be “Animalympics” itself, but rather a considerably older work — the H.G. Wells novel, “The Island of Dr. Moreau” — although it must be noted that, as that is rather a work of horror fiction, it does not altogether encourage the creation of such beings (very much the opposite, in fact!). Before that, you have works like the Bayeux Tapestry, and (considerably farther back) of course Greek Mythology — with satyrs, centaurs, etc — and in Ancient Egyptian theology, particularly in regards to the nature and structuring of the gods within. But, then, even those examples, it seems, are relatively recent… wait, what? Yep. Look here –> https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-03826-4

    Two, fursuits are nothing to sneeze at (even if you’re allergic to fake fur). Each and every one is bespoke — custom. (Yes, even the nasty counterfeit ones starting to come out of China, most of which are awful, awful copies of existing ‘suits — don’t buy those, and don’t wear one if you have it — they’re baaaaaad in every possible way.) See, not only does the ‘suit have to specifically fit its owner, and fit him or her (etc) well — hence the parenthetical about the Chinese counterfeits, they have to be scaled about a bit, or they wind up not only bad, but /baggy/ in all the worst ways — but it almost always is a depiction (of sorts) of that person’s “fursona” — the furry character that that person has created as a representation of themselves, in at least some very significant way(s), and with whom that person, therefore, identifies the most. The specific point of a fursuit is to be a unique creation that brings that “fursona” (or, far less often, a secondary character) to life.

    As an aside, earlier this week I read a story about a man in California (I want to say LA, but I don’t remember for certain) who’d been robbed, and in addition to the usual valuables, the robbers had taken his lion fursuit. I feel pretty bad for the victim — who, quite understandably, said that he felt “devastated” (or something very close to that) by the loss — but I also have to wonder if the robbers had a personal connection, or if not, just how stupid they were. See, a fursuit, being such an original item and creation, really almost can’t be resold — especially since every furry in California who knows about that robbery is almost guaranteed to be watching for the ‘suit to pop up somewhere for sale, at which point (because that’s who we are) the police will be notified and the suit restored to its owner fairly quickly… followed by a traceback to (we hope) the original robbers.

    Three… a bit of PR and a bit of life-wisdom. I know a lot of people out there have a jaded (or worse) view of furries. One, everyone — literally everyone — is weird. At least a little bit. The people who aren’t comfortable talking about and admitting their weirdness bottle it up and hide it and call themselves “normal” to feel better, and put down those of us who are open about our weirdness as “weird” when the truth is that we’re all really exactly the same in different ways. Two, as someone from within the subculture… being “furry” is part of who we are. For most of us, it’s not a fetish or a mere fascination… it’s an identity thing. Most of us simply want to be who we are, honestly, and be allowed to live and go about our dang business without having to hide it… you know, just like everyone else.

    Four… anyone who is at least curious to know more about us… there is a CNN series, “Life with Lisa Ling”, which has an episode on furries, and there are also any number of YouTube videos — the best one I’ve seen with an “outsider looking in” perspective is by a young lady who calls her channel “Strange Aeons” and discusses attending a furry convention for a day. As of this comment — I checked — there is a DailyMotion copy of the “Life with Lisa Ling” episode that is currently up and available, and Strange Aeons’ video is publicly available as well. Anyone wanting links to those, or other resources and information — or even just questions about us furries — please, *please* PM me over on the [dot]IO side. I promise I don’t bite!

    Five… last but nowhere near least — congrats to the good “Dr Cockroach” — I’m proud of you, dude, and deeply honored as well to be able to call you a good friend of mine ;)

        1. The point is, furries got their start from the US “comix” subculture that was a rebellion against syndicated comics and censorship that treated the art as PG-9 only. It’s actually got roots in things like Tijuana Bibles, and these comics often used cartoon animal characters for satirical effect – but more importantly to dodge censorship by the parody clause. Fast forward a little, and you got a comix subculture that was doing all the things you couldn’t do in comics, drugs, alcohol, sex, using animal characters – you got people like Robert Crumb doing Fritz the Cat, or Karri Aronen doing very explicit Tiny Toons parodies. This in turn fostered a sub-sub culture of people who developed it into a fetish, who evolved into a sub-sub-sub culture of “lifestylers” who invented the whole “furry is a spiritual thing” and the “fursona” business to justify themselves and why they were dressing up in animal costumes or doing the naughty in online chatrooms. This all fed back and forth between the comics and fetish side which created a genre that would basically become a western equivalent of “hentai” with animal characters. Sure, there were a few people who tried to take it “seriously” and complained about all the pervs, but in the end it was just what it was, and at the end of the day guess what these “serious” people did as well? You can google for the Avenue Q song about the internet…

          Then come the 2000’s and other people start taking notice, and people like our friend starhawk here begin retconning history to clean up the slate. Inventing all sorts of faux reasons and links back to the ancient egyptians or indian totem animals to invent a narrative that excludes the part where it really started from a bunch of people smoking pot and giggling at stupid raunchy cartoons – and that’s where the fun stuff still is, with the anarchists and miscreants and the weird people.

          Nowadays it it cleaned up and people are doing it for other reasons – because it’s fun to build costumes and play with them, or enjoy a somewhat different style of comics that aligns more with the European tradition than Disney – but this is what it is, and there’s still a great overlap between all the groups.

          There’s a history, and people trying to excuse and hide it just end up protesting too much. It has the opposite effect. When you’re trying to excuse it for other people, you end up projecting all these reasons on them whether they apply or not.

          Think of it like seeing your friend sitting at a bar and commenting “I’m sure that’s only his second beer.” – it automatically creates the insinuation that your friend is an alcoholic. Don’t apologize for others for what they haven’t necessarily done.

          1. Sounds like you saw that CSI episode, liked what you heard, and stopped right about there… which of course means that your “history” as presented, and your perceptions therein, are wildly out of step with what’s real — but hey there are always gonna be a few folks like that.

            I’ve done research on this stuff before, myself — and I’m always willing to do more; after all, knowledge is good for you, especially in quantity, as long as it’s real and true.

            PM me if you want to get a better understanding of us… or, just, you know… Google. It’s out there ;) if, on the other hand, you’re not interested — how sad — then, although I wish you well, I also hope you won’t be nearly this rudely confrontational and narrow-minded in the future.

          2. @Ostracus — Sorry, the friggin comment system made it look like my previous comment was aimed at you. It was aimed at Luke.

            Re sports mascots… I’m not sure. The furry subculture is waaaaaaay more personal than that, at least in general. I’d classify sports mascot stuff as at least a distant spinoff, if not a case of parallel development, at least initially — but since I really don’t care for sports of any kind personally, I’ve never really investigated that stuff, and as such I’d have to do a lot of research before I was willing to say anything with any degree of certainty.

          3. Yeah, forgot about the mascot fanciers, and the “plushophiles”, and the intersection and influx of the BDSM scene where for a period of some years just about everyone was involved in some sort of master-slave relationship (and why furries use collars) etc. but that’s details.

            If you follow the history, there was an East Coast – West Coast split with the east coast furries trying more to emulate the European comic scene and treat the subject as a medium for expression of more adult topics. They had connections going back to Mike Curtis, and people like Steven Gallacci, Stan Sakai, Peter Laird, etc. This is where things like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles come from. All the “big names” of furry who had anything to do with the pivotal works are from the east and from both sides of the Atlantic. Meanwhile, the west coast was producing stuff like “The Adventures of Queerman” and generally just boatloads of porn pandering to sexual minorities and the fetish interests. It got pretty ugly with very little self-control, because of the “Umbrella of tolerance” where you weren’t allowed to criticize anyone lest YOU become the pariah. The community couldn’t push out the bad apples, so they even got things like bestiality or pedophiles just hanging around. It got better only after the media and outside people started looking in and pointing at all the crazy stuff that was going on.

            But the damage was already done. Pretty early on, anyone who was anyone in the east bailed and took their ball with them because they felt they were being dragged down by the yay-paw-puppet-show and people who would reply to you in animal noises. Even today, authors who obviously do furry, like Guarnido and Canales of Blacksad fame, deny they’re doing furry. They just don’t feel they have anything to do with the scene, because it got defined by people for whom the main point was identity politics, fetishes and partying.

            And this is why we can’t have nice things.

          4. >Sounds like you saw that CSI episode, liked what you heard, and stopped right about there… which of course means that your “history” as presented, and your perceptions therein, are wildly out of step with what’s real

            The video of the first official furry convention probably still exists on youtube. It features a man in a Bambi suit and vinyl fetish gear, pulling off some sort of erotic dance. Believe me, I didn’t even bother to watch the CSI episode, or the MTV “documentary”. I’m not a masochist.

          5. Yeap, the history I know and lived through is consistent with your (Luke’s) rememberances, not this new narrative that starhawk’s trying to spin up. I think starhawk may be of a younger generation that is unable to remember a world without the convenience modern technology brings us. And whom believe all the false narratives that people have invented for documenting the time before computerized record keeping, just because of [4] and the power of wikiwikiweb’s emergence.

            I mean, it’s all one CAN do when you’re too young to have experienced the events firsthand.
            I wasn’t sapient yet in the early 1970s, so even I’m too young to have experienced punch card records and current loop serial teletypes.

          1. Trudat. @Luke, if your meaning is, therefore, what I suspect — the missing two words being “hate you” — here is my reply, in entirety…

            >> Meh. I can’t please everyone, and I’m not going to try. I will, however, get off your lawn ;)

        1. To quote smarter people:

          MacBeth: “It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”
          Commentator: “When you put it like that, it doesn’t sound half bad.”

          1. “Smarter people”…? I build computers when I’m bored (including that steampunk one that HaD kindly featured a little while back… on which I’m typing now), and I’m presently working on both a novel and a screenplay, with more in the works. Oh, and I do art, too.

            You’re really starting to come across as being close kin to the “Morans” guy, only more arrogant and pompous, the more I scroll down. I’m tempted to offer you a straight pin, but at the same time, I’d be afraid for the lives of anyone standing within a couple miles of the blast when it pierced your ego. Given the degree of overinflation I’m seeing here, we’d be seeing something in the quasi-megaton range in terms of detonation strength…

          2. That was supposed to be “smarter people than I” but forgot to change it while searching for the quote.

            The point is, if you try to make it better than it is, you make it worse. If you take it as it is, you might find there’s nothing wrong with it – just your perceptions. People who try to explain furry away as something “clean for the whole family” are doing all the furries a disservice because it’s just obviously not true – and at the same time it is simply cementing the notion that it still is what it was 20-30 years ago when it was an insular group of freaks doing their own thing because they could.

      1. You know… I still think about this comment-convo we had, every so often… I wonder if you’re still out there somewhere…? I would like to think so…

        If you haven’t seen it, very relevant comment, below — https://hackaday.com/2019/12/14/say-what-you-will-a-fursuit-is-a-lot-of-work/#comment-6202954

        tl;dr, you had a point and I sometimes need a white cane for my mind. For the record, lines are still open and waiting — and will remain so as long as proves reasonably possible — in case you’re interested in discussing things further, which, TBH, I would very much like to do, if you’re willing…

        Regardless… take care :)

    1. Very true, I first did a lot of studying from other suit builds and still learning. I had never done anything like this before and found it is not as bad or hard as I first thought. It just takes time :-)

  4. Something I heard of for making such a suit cooler was someone made much of a Chewbacca costume by tying the fur through football jersey material. Lots of holes for heat to get out.

    1. Suit cooling has many ideas being used. Vests that contain Cool Packs, small fans in the head/muzzle and even cooling systems like flight suits that circulate a coolant around the wearers body. I am sure there are other ideas I have not touched :-)

  5. Last point for Luke. (BTW, have you considered changing your handle to Kylo…? It really would suit you better… ;) )

    Yes, there is an x-rated side to things, and I never claimed otherwise. I didn’t specifically mention it, because it tends to make people squirm a bit. (Whatever.) But to claim that I’m stating something, even by omission, when that’s very obviously not the case — that is putting words in my mouth, and I don’t take kindly to that. If you continue to bother me in other threads in the future, and use similar tactics, the “report” button will be involved… without engaging in further commentary.

    Now, of course I’ll admit it… yes, there is sone pretty weird stuff out there, if you go looking… waaay beyond what you’ve described. I’ve seen it… didn’t do anything for me, mind you, but it’s out there. But, see, that’s what happens when you get any sort of group that’s as big as us. You’re going to get some weird people in that… as, if you have even a single mirror in your house, you clearly already know. Some are going to be weirder than others. But if you want to believe that porn (etc) is the main attraction for /all/ furries, I can’t stop you — but, at the same time, you are very much wrong about that. I myself can bear witness to that. I mean, sure, I look at that stuff occasionally — hey, you have an itch, you scratch it — but it doesn’t define me or who I am any more than the occasional Playboy centerfold defines anyone else. It’s a secondary thing, at best, and I’m not sure it gets even *that* far for me.

    Yes, it is a thing, and the larger cons have a room for art of that nature (if you want it), yes — we don’t hide that — but if you want in, you damn well better be able to prove that you’re of the appropriate age. This is consistently enforced, as well as we or any other group can, across the entire subculture.

    Of course, as with any other large group, there are occasionally people who, in service to their own twisted desires, try to defeat those mechanisms and prey on the younger generations. The general consensus, with which I entirely and enthusiastically agree, is that such people, regardless of who and what they claim to represent, are one of the very few groups that we cannot and will not tolerate in our midst. They belong somewhere — anywhere — else where they can be reasonably kept from harming others.

    Also, the fact that you’re working so hard (possibly literally…?) to fetishize something when, for the most part, it’s not — I rather think that says a lot more about you than it does me.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have other things to do that take precedence. I find neither joy nor entertainment in the act of shouting into an empty cavern, and I don’t care to associate myself more than is absolutely necessary with people such as yourself, who judge their worth by how /empty/ their minds are. I will not be engaging you further in this commentary, nor will I be monitoring it… anything you say in attempted reply will remain unseen and unread by me.

    I have time, and I have energy, but I do not have enough of either to waste them… and, as you have already amply demonstrated, continuing to engage you in any meaningful way can be nothing else.

    I’m out.

    1. Contrary to the above…

      Luke — I have been discussing our, er, debate with a friend of mine who reached out to me earlier today. Given what that third person said, along with some further research I have done over the past hour or so… I think, perhaps, that we may benefit both from some further discussion, as I rather suspect we are both the victim of the sort of heightened passions that arguing on the Internet with a complete stranger all-too-often brings (as illustrated by https://xkcd.com/386/ and the like).

      I am, at heart, a man of principles. One of those, which — given that, like everyone else, I am also far from perfect — sometimes does not get the prominence in my thinking that it really deserves, is that of being open-minded. It is relatively obvious to me at this point that I have done you something of a disservice by not paying more attention to that principle in the course of our discussion. As such, I would like the opportunity, if it can happen, to exercise that principle, and another — that of correcting those mistakes which I might make in life, as best I can, and learning from them as well.

      As such — if you are willing and able, please message/PM/chat/whatever me on the [dot]IO side of things — my username is the same — because I would appreciate the opportunity to engage with you in a somewhat more civil manner than has gone on here. I think we would both benefit from some fence-mending activity here — and, as such, the lines are open ;)

      1. I have only the smallest of stakes in this particular conversation but I feel that this behavior – recognizing when conversation has ceased to be as civil as reasonably possible, and taking steps to give people the benefit of the doubt and keeping lines open – is worthy of being called out and appreciated.

        My making interests lie elsewhere, but I’m certainly interested in a respectful HaD community, and I’m sure I’m not alone.

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