Content notes and warnings: This discusses fursonas and the furry community. If you aren’t familiar with the concept, check out my furries tag. It does mention the kink/sexy aspects of furries, but that isn’t the primary focus. There are brief mentions of a few kinks or kink-adjacent things, and one express but brief mention of an incontinence fetish specifically in order to call an individual out for their poor behavior.
This is a post I’ve wanted to do for a while, but kept having other things to work on! I still have other things to work on, but I’ve had an awful couple of months and I’m gonna do this instead. If you’re procrastinating as well at the moment, great! What a perfect time to come up with a fursona.
If you aren’t familiar with the concept, a “fursona” is, essentially, an anthropomorphized animal character. For most people in the furry fandom, it represents themselves in some way. For some people it’s a separate character that they like to draw/rp as/imagine/think about. For some people it’s both! I also know a lot of furries have multiple characters, some of which represent themselves, and that’s cool too. People are multi-faceted, so having many fursonas makes sense for some. Also…sometimes creating characters is just fun and you want to keep doing it.
Throughout this post, I’m going to use myself as an example—or, more specifically, my fursona Peaches, who is part dog, part dragon, part jackalope. I have several pixel dolls (explained below for the uninitiated) made by me; I don’t do commissions or anything as I don’t make my own bases, but I do have a gallery on FA as well. I’ve linked to the bases when possible.
I’m also collaborating with my spouse Damien, who created several extremely varied black cat characters made expressly for this post, to show how different a basic design can be. To see more of Damien’s art, check out Inkstars Art!
|Table of Contents|
•Reasons to Make A Fursona
•What if I can’t draw?
•Shapes & Physical Quirks
•Personality & Backstory
•Create & Play
Before we get to the actual act of creation, let’s explore some preliminaries.
Reasons To Make A Fursona
Sometimes people are in the furry fandom as its own fetish or kink, and that’s totally fine! But for many people, their fursona exists for other reasons—most commonly just as a creative outlet.
Creativity is fun, and you can do creative things for their own sake! You might just want to come up with a fursona and leave it at that, or pursue some of the previously mentioned activities, like drawing, writing, online roleplay, or whatever.
Fursonas are also a great way to explore concepts that you may not be able to explore in reality, or at least, not yet. Maybe you’re trying to figure out if you’re trans and want to make a character of a different gender than the one assigned at birth. Maybe you want to create a character who’s sexy and powerful in a way you don’t feel like you are, or explore some kinks or interests. Maybe you want to draw (or write, or commission) some pornography, but you don’t want your actual face involved, or want some distance.
Damien, in their art, has among other things helped people come up with gender-affirming designs, helped design fantasy prosthetics for someone who was an amputee and wanted their fursona to reflect that, and explored countless identities for themselves and others with various animals.
And I’ve also often used fantasy, fiction, and yes, a furry character to explore aspects of myself—I had submissive characters long before I realized I was a submissive. (Also, Peaches can wear the collars I’d love to wear, but can’t because of my sensory issues.)
While I don’t often do traditional art, I do pixel dolls (where you take a base and build features, clothes, and hair on top), and I like to update Peaches every now and again as I discover new things about myself. In fact, Peaches is an evolution of an older version, named Daisy or Gumdrop, who was just a Pomeranian without the fantasy features. Check out this old pixel of Daisy compared with my latest of Peaches, as I’ve figured out more of myself!
What If I Can’t Draw?
One of the reasons you might be hesitant to create a fursona is the concern that you won’t be able to draw it. But here’s the thing: you don’t have to be a good artist to be creative! You can always draw kinda badly—you’ll still have your ideas down.
Other options include writing a detailed description and stories about your fursona, doing pixel dolls like I do, or finding online dollmakers. (If you google anthro picrew you might find some helpful tools!)
You can also, if you want and are able, commission a furry artist, to either do some art or a character sheet. Of course my spouse does commissions, but FurAffinity and other furry platforms have tons of artists available at many price points! You can also find them on Twitter and Tumblr, if you search or ask around. Check with an artist whether they’re interested in helping you design a fursona or not—some do new designs, some do not—and whether they have any limitations or specialties. Some artists specialize in certain species, some refuse to do extremely bright colors, some excel in more monstery designs, et cetera. Look at their portfolio and see if their work resonates with you.
Some other important things about commissioning an artist:
- Do not haggle prices with them or ask if you can get a discount. The prices they’ve set are the ones they’re comfortable with. Artists have to eat, pay rent, pay for computer repairs, and so on. By trying to talk down their prices, you are saying, “I want your art, but I do not value your time and labor.” If you want to pay less, find a different artist. (You can, however, keep an eye out—sometime artists do free raffles or discounts. If you’re on FA, make sure you watch artists’ journals.)
- Also, don’t go to a “cheaper” artist and try to get them to copy the style of someone who’s more expensive. Among other things, it’s insulting to the artist you’re trying to commission—it says, “I don’t actually want your art, I just can’t afford what I want.”
- Tipping is never mandatory but if you’re really happy with the art, consider doing so if you’re in a financial position to do so! It’s a kindness and shows your appreciation.
- Communicate, communicate, communicate! Most artists will show you progress pictures; if you’re unhappy with something, please tell them at an early stage and not after it’s all finished. And try to be clear about what you want from the start. If your fursona has a blaze over their snout, say it at the beginning! If you want a certain pose, tell your artist! My spouse has occasionally had clients come to them at the end and say, “Hey, this is pretty but I forgot to tell you about the pattern on their shoulders, and I’d really like them to look super happy.” Or, most annoying, “This isn’t what I was thinking but I guess it’ll do.” How do you reply to something like that?
- Always credit the artist if you post the art somewhere, and link back to them. This ensures that other people can commission that same artist.
- Finally: if your fursona heavily incorporates a fetish or a kink, or sexual elements, that’s fine, but please make sure the artist is comfortable with it before asking them to draw that. Some artists prefer no sexual art at all, and a few won’t even draw nudity. Many don’t mind, but have certain limits. Anything kinky or sexual needs to be done with full consent of all parties; this is true of play, and this is true of art. Have the kinky fursona of your dreams, but be conscientious about it where others are involved!
- If you’re that dude who keeps trying to get Damien to draw your character in a dirty diaper by claiming it’s integral to the character (who you made up to have this element) and not a fetish, yes, I am expressly talking about you, please fucking stop.
With the Whys and Hows done, let’s explore the actual act of Fursona Creation™!
You can’t have an anthro animal without the animal! Popular choices include wolves, foxes, cats, bunnies. Also dogs, which of course have specific breeds—huskies are REALLY popular. Things also go through trends—possums seem to be popular lately because we’re all tired, angry, and eating trash. It’s okay if yours is trendy! It’s okay if it’s not! You’re not limited to members of the mammalian order, either, though as the name “furry” suggests, they’re the most popular. Birds, reptiles, fish, even insects are fair game. Fantasy animals like unicorns, griffins, or dragons are also available. Take some time! Look at animals! What do you like? What animals have qualities, or represent qualities, that are important to you?
Also, this is all pretend anyway, so hybridizing animals is fine! As mentioned, Peaches is a dog/dragon with jackalope antlers. (Specifically jackalope, though they look like deer or faun antlers, because jackalopes are my favorite fearsome critter.) It was also popular for a bit to put unicorn horns on random animals. Add spikes. Add whiskers or remove them. Give them wings for no reason. If it’s a bird, give them hands—or don’t!
And remember: it’s okay to change your fursona later, whether altering the current one or changing it completely. There is no Furry Police that will come after you if you suddenly think, “I’m not an aardwolf after all, I think a pygmy jerboa with dragonfly wings is much more appropriate!” and redo the whole thing.
What are your favorite colors? What patterns do you think are neato? Does the animal of your choice have markings you want to copy? Do you want it realistically furred or dayglo? Do you want spots? Stripes? The Artist Formerly Known As Prince’s symbol on your buttcheek? Maybe you want to put your real tattoo (or potential tattoos) on your fursona.
Honestly, fursona designs and color choices are one of the areas where you can really let go. Many fursonas include human-style hairdos, so it’s another fun area to experiment with pattern and style. Changing your fursona’s hair whenever you get a haircut or a dye job is fine, too, of course. Look at other people’s fursonas for a while—there are a lot of gradients, a lot of odd patterning and spots. Creativity reins. You might want to look into things like color theory (what colors look good together?) or play with palette generators for ideas. Or, use colors that are important to you or that make you happy! Make your whole fursona the colors of your pride flag, or your favorite colorful dildo.
A word of caution, however: having an extremely complex fur pattern can be very fun and very enjoyable. It can also be a bit of a pain if you intend to draw your fursona a lot. Damien has let some fursonas go just because they found they literally never want to draw them. On the other hand, you might find it really soothing to draw exactly 103 leopard spots every time you’re in the mood to doodle. That’s cool, too.
Some specific elements to consider for colors: main fur color, marking color(s), paw pads if you have paws, hoof color if you have hooves, hair color if you have a human hair style, tongue and gum colors, genital colors if you intend to have those showing at some point, claw colors. Some people even give their characters unusual blood colors if, say, they want to draw them getting in fights or engaging in bloodplay.
Shapes And Physical Quirks
Here’s another very creative thing, and a way to really make your fursona “yours.” Do they have a torn ear? Maybe their tail is unusually long, or has a tuft at the end? Do you have certain aspects you don’t want to draw or describe that you can safely eliminate?
Another thing to think about is what features are emphasized, and how. Are they soft and cute with a little pointy nose? Big and strong with Hella Muscles and foot-long claws? Do they have tits the size of beach balls and a huge bulging cock visible at all times no matter what they wear? You can have the same animal and colors and hairstyle and patterns, but choosing how they’re built can do a lot! The cats throughout this post are all basic black cats, but by changing body type, eye color, hair styles, and so on, they become very different characters!
You can also decide how “animalistic” they look; there’s a huge range within the furry community. “Ferals” basically look like animals—quadrupeds, not many human elements. If you do want yours more anthropomorphized, you can still decide things like plantigrade or digitigrade legs (plantigrade legs are like human legs, with the heels flat on the floor; digitigrade are like animals’ legs, where they walk on their toes and the “heel” is in the air, pointed back. Hint: one of these is slightly easier to draw shoes for), paws, claws, or hands, even how human you want their face to look.
Obligatory Peaches example: my fursona has changed a lot, partly because of aspects I want to emphasize and partly because I’ve found certain things easier to draw in pixel form. Some specifics:
- Instead of the fold-over Pomeranian tail, they’ve now got a stub tail, because it’s easier but also because I find the more rounded booty to be cute.
- They’ve always had one ear flopped and one ear up, and a short muzzle, because these are elements that look cute and endearing, which inform the character of Peaches.
- They used to have chest plates as part of their dragon features, but it was hard to render from certain angles so I got rid of it.
- Their wings have always been very small—too small to use—because the idea of them trying to fly and failing is extremely funny to me.
- I tend to draw them with plantigrade legs because I usually use a human base and I’m lazy.
- I tend to draw thick hips, tummy, and thighs—aspects I have and wanted to learn to love, and which I now celebrate.
These are all little details, but together, they inform a lot about Peaches, and how I want them perceived—and how I want to perceive myself!
Personality and Backstory
Maybe your fursona’s personality is just yours, and they don’t have a backstory because they’re just you. That’s absolutely fine!
It can be fun to play a little bit, though. Even some basic things! Like…why are they an anthro animal? Does this version of you live in a world of animal people, like Disney’s Robin Hood or Zootopia? Were you turned anthro by some kind of strange experiment? Are you a shapeshifter?
If you’re the sort of person who just loves building characters and worlds and overthinking things, you may want to expand further. Think about the “setting” your character might be in—a D&D-type sword and sorcery world? A cyberpunk future? Wisconsin?
And from there, it can be fun to think about what aspects of that world made your character who they are. Were they raised to be a knight? Do they scrounge for food at the edges of a crumbling city? Are they a hopeful dairy farmer with big dreams?
Personalities can vary as well, as mentioned, often influenced by their backstory, sometimes despite their backstory. Maybe they were raised by a ravaging group of warlords, but your particular fursona is nonetheless a cheerful goofball prone to bursting into song at random.
And, of course, the animal you’ve chosen is often a heavy element of personality. I chose a Pomeranian because they are, like me, small, a little goofy, quite anxious, and deeply attached to their people. (Also very fluffy.) I also chose a dragon because dragons are associated with hoarding/collecting things, with magic, and with fierce loyalty. The animals chosen are a shorthand telling you the personality.
One of my favorite parts of creating any character is choosing a name! I’m a well-established name nerd anyway (hello to my name nerd friends, you know who you are!) and used to spend hours reading etymologies and associations on Behind The Name, coming up with characters and finding the most appropriate name for them.
Names are fun because you can play with options anyway. I now go by Ollie, after trying it out on some characters in writing and RPs with Damien. I liked how it felt. Naming a fursona can be a safe way to play with a name and see what feels like you, even if you never intend to change your name socially. But for characters, they can also tell you a lot about your fursona’s personality or interests!
Some people like to use realistic human names for their fursonas, some don’t. If you have a pretty, femme, delicate character, something like Lilibet or Alice might work, but so would words like Lace or Heart. If you want to show how tough your fursona is, you might go for Bruno or Spike or Razorwire. My spouse’s newest fursona is a hellhound/hyena named Char, which is both associated with fire and has a nice, gender-neutral sound to it. Peaches was named for the cutesy sound.
Look around, look at name lists, think about your first association with a name or word. Like…if your character is literally a noble wolf, and you notice in your searches that Adolf means “noble wolf,” please consider nonetheless that it is heavily associated with a specific, horrible individual, and consider a different name.
Does your fursona have certain clothing preferences? Do they wear a lot of long, silken gowns to show their elegance? Or perhaps elaborate armor? Do they dress like you? Do they dress like you would if you had a larger clothing budget? Do they wear exclusively lingerie? Or nothing?
I really enjoy browsing Pinterest for clothing ideas for myself, and those often end up on characters, including Peaches. When I was trying to present myself as more femme, Peaches often wore a lot of frilly goth dresses and makeup. (Do not ask how furries wear makeup, it’s not important.) Now that I’m not, I’ve given them more neutral-to-masculine clothing to reflect my personal preferences. Other characters sometimes wear super elaborate clothing purely because the outfits are fun to draw!
Heck, check out my side character Velveteen, who is an alien. I gave her some cutesy “little” clothing, but I also gave her a fancy 30s-inspired dress because she was inspired by pulp sci fi of the early half of the 20th century. Same hair, same character, but a very different vibe with each, right? (Not to mention the naked version.)
Create and Play
Once you’ve got all the elements down, it’s time to create, however you want to or are able! Write yourself a story in first person as your new fursona. Draw a picture. Try to make them in the Sims with a lot of custom content. Buy commissions. Make a whole-ass fursuit, or just some ears on a headband.
Play “what if” games, by yourself or with a cooperative friend or partner. This doesn’t have to be a full-out roleplay session. Just ask yourself, or each other, “What if our fursonas had to go to a potluck?” and figure out if they’d bring a three-layer elaborately decorated cake they slaved over for a week, or if they’d pick up some Doritos from the gas station on the way to the potluck location. “What if our fursonas had to fight a villain?” “What if our fursonas were the villain?” “What if our fursonas had to do our jobs?” “What if our fursonas fucked?”
Or, just take your picture or description, and put it in a drawer, and once in a while, open it up and smile at it. Because that’s you! That’s a You deliberately created, lovingly built. And if this version of You is someone you enjoy and love, then you are showing yourself some love. And that’s never a bad thing.
Have you ever created a fursona? What are they like? If you haven’t, what do you think yours would be? Tell me all about it in the comments, I’d love to hear it!