ANTHROPOMORPHICS are a genre of fantasy art, dealing with everything from animated characters to costumes to the classical "neohuman life forms" to sapient animals, and points west. Confused? Read on.

The word "anthropomorphics" contains the greek root "anthropos", for "man", and "morphos", for "shape". Hence the genre deals with man-shaped creatures-- not actually human, but usually a genetic cross, either evolved or engineered, between human traits and those of one or more animals, real or imagined. Different people tend to focus on different species. Some like fox-morphs (two-legged fox-creatures), others various feline-morphs, some dragons, otters, canids, equids... anything.


Being vaguely horse-centric myself, my primary character is Triggur, a horse-morph. He's actually a Nightstallion... you've heard of a Nightmare, right? Obviously there have to be Nightstallions. :)

Triggur's primary hangout is on FurryMUCK... a MUCK is an Internet-based text game where sometimes hundreds of people at a time are roleplaying their own characters in a rich, elaborate virtual environment.

Pictures of Triggur:

By M. Coker White

by Jim Groat


One kind of "Furry" art is expressed through costuming. A wide range of styles are common-- some prefer "mascot"-style costumes, which are generally exaggerated cartoon-style animals with oversized heads, while other costumers work to make their creations as life-like as possible.

Costume artists can chose from quite a palette of materials for their creations. Some sew panels of fake fur together, others sculpt models and cast painted latex shells, and still others create vacu-formed plastic or fibreglass structures; many artists use hybrid techniques from all of the above, and more.

So far I have created three furry costumes. The first, taken to ConFurence 6, was of Triggur; I slip-cast a life-size latex horse head and painted it black, then complemented it with a white period lace-up shirt, black tights, and knee-high moccasins, and made black three-finger-plus-thumb gloves for the hands. The latex head had such poor ventilation that I installed a small battery-operated fan in the muzzle to help supply fresh air.

The second costume, taken to ConFurence 8 is the character V'ril, also from FurryMUCK. This one features a much more "human" face, using the actor's own eyes for the costume eyes, with the nostrils and mouth projected forward. V'ril is an albino Unicorn, and so a twisted polyester-resin-based horn graces his head. The character is dressed in traditional English riding clothing.

The third costume, also taken to ConFurence 8, is Sir Karl from the Red Shetland comic series. Sir Karl is a knight of the Borderlands (a region roughly analagous to Germany) and is a deer-morph. This is by far the most technically challenging costume I've ever done; a fibreglass "skull" gives his head rigid structure, and a sleeve of appropriately grained fur slides over that skull, then the nose, ears, and antlers are affixed.

Since a deer's neck is usually quite long, the bottom of Karl's jaw sits right about the bottom of my nose. As such, I installed a very tiny video camera in his left eye, which feeds a tiny TV monitor in the nose. This gives me reasonable 2D vision when I wear a 4.00 dioptimer contact lens that lets me focus on very close objects.

The second innovation in Sir Karl is a custom animatronic system I designed. Two dedicated computers work inside a small box on my beltpack (along with a battery pack delivering 9 volts to the 4 systems needing power) and they can drive up to 8 motors. Karl's facial expressions are achieved only through his ears; two servos make them appear to perk forward and lay backward. I had planned on adding a servo to control the vertical motion of eyes/eyelids/eyebrows, but I almost ran out of space for my head inside his cramped skull!


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Copyright (C) 1996, 1997 by Kevin Kelm