There are things in a person’s past that they carry with them. They struggle with them every day. Maybe things would be different if they talked to that chick in 5th period. What if they didn’t chicken out when it came to applying for their dream college? Perhaps they’d be happier if they pursued that job lead three years ago. Maybe they regret posting that nude selfie on /b/ last Summer. Whatever it is, however big or small, these things have the potential to harbor guilt and negative emotions in people for years to come. One such thing is what brings me to Pixel-Response today.
This is a confession.
I used to be a furry.
Let me explain the “kind of” part to you. Like most kids that were born in the ’90s, I was tainted by Disney. Animal people seemed to be more commonplace than plain, boring, regular people in their works back then. When I started drawing in elementary school, I took this influence and drew mostly animals. Like, badass wolves with huge demon wings and shit. I was awesome.
When I started bumming around the internet more and more in the early stages of my teens, I happened upon DeviantArt. I started up a little gallery (http://merfdude27.deviantart.com/), and posted my MS Paint doodles of the aforementioned wolves and, of course, of my neopet: _x_Sandie_x_ the fire Kougra. In my mind, I was the shit. I was Picasso.
Then it happened. I discovered a few furry artists. I followed their galleries. Their abilities were leagues beyond mine. I wanted to be them. I wanted their fame.
I was 13 years old and blind. The galleries that I followed contained only clean art. I didn’t realize that the internet was a terrible, horrible place full of pornography and hatred. The artists I followed were kind enough to send me mentoring messages. They only drew furries, they said, because they either couldn’t draw people, or that furry characters were more diverse and interesting to draw than humans. It made sense to 13 year old me. Why would there be any other reason? What else would there be to gain in this community? Nothing bad. Of course not.
So, I practiced and practiced. For years. I took all the art classes that I could in school, and became a semi-successful portrait artist. I passed on taking AP Chemistry so that I could take AP Art. I passed on AP Biology to take Sculpture and Ceramics. I was building my curriculum so that I could understand art better and get a slice of that sweet, sweet furry internet fame.
When I was 17, I placed my foot in the door at furaffinity.com. I gained myself a few followers and had a grand old time. You see, when you only draw SFW artwork on a furry site, you risk nothing. The creepers ignore you. They don’t want to see characters who are fully clothed, reading a book. They want to see wolves banging foxes, something that would never happen in the real world (they don’t share the same genus, duhhh). So, my gallery was essentially worthless to them. That was fine by me. I made a bunch of great friends with normal people who all had the same mindset as me: furries are cute, so I’mma draw me some; and, I’m lonely, so I’mma make some friends. Awesome!
I started up commissions. I received a tip from someone that I’d make more money and gain a better following if I offered to draw porn. I juggled around the idea for a couple years, and decided: fuck it. I’m 19. It’s okay, and plus—I could really use some weed money.
Since I was a tattoo apprentice at the time, I made next to zero money. I started bringing my laptop to the shop to work on commissions, when I realized—one of the artists there was a furry, too.
Kylie was a normal 18 year old girl. She was a partier. She wore t-shirts that had the tops cut off so her shoulders were exposed. Her boyfriend rolled fat blunts, and they listened to the best music. We would go to Denny’s and drink hella coffee and draw furries in our sketchbooks. We laughed. We cried. We got high. Really high.
We were inseparable for about a year until I did salvia with her; and then things got too weird. We parted ways.
In the meantime, the boy I always had a crush on started paying more attention to me. We had hung outthrough mutual friends for the past year and a half or so, but we were never really that close. He worked at the local coffee shop that I sat around and worked on my commissions at, and he noticed my artwork. He drew, too, and he was impressed. He left his girlfriend for me. I was on top of the world.
He talked me into being more serious about my artwork. I practiced more than ever and got a huge following. Eventually, I was charging $50-$100 for a single image. My life was on point. I convinced myself that everything was perfect, but… it wasn’t.
A local lesbian couple organized a small get together for the furries in the area. My boyfriend and I attended. We went to dinner at Denny’s and talked. Everything was fine. A couple people were socially awkward, but that’s what you get when you meet people on the internet. It happens. I expected it.
I hit it off with the lesbians. They’re normal ladies with a lot of pets. My new boyfriend (who is now my fiance) and I went over to their place all the time to play with their pitbull, partake in games of Clue and Monopoly, and drink hella coffee. They made us delicious dinners, shared their whiskey, and were wonderful hosts. We’re still in touch today.
What I also gained from this meeting was a stalker. He was the only fursuiter in our group. His fursuit was cheaply made. I can still remember it. It was a pink and white lady fox. Ratty fur. Poor foam in the head. Ugh. But, I guess that’s what you get when you live in your parents’ basement and work at Home Depot. Tim. Oh, Tim. He was fucked up. He was emotionally very needy, extremely clingy, and had a weird sexual fetish with shaving cream. No, not whipped cream. Shaving cream. He posted pictures on Facebook of his friends smearing it all over him in his fursuit.
I cut off all ties with him immediately.
I still thank the Lord to this day that I had not given him my phone number like he had asked me to.
I was starting to fully grasp how perverse this community was. I was commissioned over and over again to draw male characters with raging species-specific boners. It was uncomfortable. I drew dog cocks, horse cocks, and even ferret cocks. I drew cocks that were multiple feet in length and girth. I was even forced to learn how to draw them PROPERLY. People CARED about this. This is a legitimate conversation that I’m about to copy and paste, here:
commenter: I love dog cocks.. please learn to draw them correctly. I love your art but you keep drawing the tip backwards and it throws off the whole image :<
me: I’m sorry that I don’t particularly enjoy looking at dog cocks, and haven’t studied them at length. If you have an issue with the fact that I’m not a dog cockologist, you can walk yourself out of my gallery. Thank you.
Seriously. A mistake in drawing a dog penis threw off the WHOLE IMAGE for him. He couldn’t EVEN fap to it. A shame, really.
Then there were my commissioners. You’d expect a PM requesting a commission slot would read something like this:
Hello there! I was wondering if you’d be interested in taking this commission. I’d like to have my character (tasteful reference image here) pictured using a few sex toys. Something like these, maybe: (links to pictures of toys on adamandeve.com). Let me know if you’re interested in taking on this job, and let me know what the cost would be. Thank you! Have a wonderful day!
No, no. It’s not that easy.
That same message ended up like this in my inbox:
Hi! I’m interested in a commission. I would like my bisexual cross-dresser raver cat fursona (links to many crude reference images here) with a string of softball sized anal beads in his ass, since I love my anal beads so much. Do you play with toys like these? I could send you some pictures of me with mine if you like, since you like cross-dressing boys. I bet you’d like them. Do you have Skype? Anyway. $60 sound okay? Get back to me when you can, cutie. xoxoxoxo
I was getting private messages from people propositioning me for sex. My Skype was blowing up with incoming video calls. Men and women alike were harassing me at all hours of the day and night. My fame was starting to explode.
I went on a trip a few hours south of here with my lesbian friends and their dog. We stayed at a house belonging to four furries. They were all gay, so I felt safe in that respect, but I hoped and prayed they would not recognize me.
But they did.
On our second day, one of them pulled me aside.
“Can I ask you a personal question?”
“Are you (username redacted for privacy reasons)?”
“OMG YOU’RE SO AWESOME. I LOVE YOUR WORK; IT’S SO GOOD AND YOU’RE SO FUNNY AND BEAUTIFUL AND OMG CAN I HUG YOU PLEASE?”
I realized that at that point, it wasn’t worth it to maintain the positive relationships I had made or continue to make almost two grand a month drawing smut. I worked so hard and for so long to attain what would ultimately cause me to stop drawing almost completely. I pulled the plug. I ran away without a trace.
There’s a reason that I haven’t linked my gallery or mentioned the username I went by back then. There’s a reason why I haven’t linked to my Facebook from my Twitter, or allowed my real last name to be seen anywhere in public. I’m absolutely terrified that they’ll find me. They’ll find me, and all that mess will start up again. They’ll expect me to rise from the ashes and reappear on furaffinity like some sort of fucked up furry messiah.
This isn’t to say that you should avoid furries at all costs. If you meet one, you’ll probably like them. A lot of them are normal people. I (kind of) used to be one, for Christ’s sake.
In the event that you do meet a furry, I’ve provided a guide for your use. If you can answer “yes” to any of these questions, halt all contact with them immediately:
Ask to see their fursona. Does s/he have:
- overly large breasts?
- species-specific genitalia?
- hyper-sized genitalia?
- more than five tails?
Get to know them better. Do/did they:
- have any strange sexual traits, or talk about sex more than normal?
- claim that The Lion King changed their life?
- try to draw/have drawn a furry version of you without your knowledge or permission?
- really, really like the Pokemon Gardevoir? Or Lopunny?
- refuse to partake in drugs or alcohol for any reason?
I hope this helps you, and good luck on all your endeavors.