Fursuiting: How to Put on a Quadsuit

As we posted in a previous post about types of #fursuits, #quadsuits are rare. Not only do they cost a lot more than a typical plantigrade fursuit, they’re more difficult to wear and move around in. We wouldn’t recommend them for anyone with known back problems.

Two fursuiters (Rossy kitty and Maravilla Angel Dragon) who own quadsuits demonstrate how they get into the suits in separate YouTube videos, which we have shared below.

 

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Carpet Based Cosplays

#Cosplayers’ creations are inspired by many things, usually characters from science fiction, fantasy. superheroes, super-villains, anime, etc. But, now you can add carpeting to the mix. Carpeting? Yes! Some attendees of #DragonCon have been inspired to create #cosplays based upon the carpeting that used to be used in the Atlanta Marriott Marquis hotel:

Atlanta Marriott Marquis Carpeting

Former Atlanta Marriott Marquis Carpeting

The pattern of concentric circles and segments in different shades of blues and reds is reminiscent of a camouflage pattern, which is how some cosplayers have incorporated the carpet design into their own works.

The first known use of the carpet design was on military-style uniforms created by Volpin Props in 2014:

Volpin Props, June 25, 2014

But, after that, many more cosplayers incorporated the now iconic carpet into their own cosplays, including Spider-Man; Deadpool; a “Star Wars” stormtrooper & Slave Leia; quidditch players from “Harry Potter”; a coke bottle; Wonder Woman; a truck; and there’s a lot more out there. The pics below are primarily from 2017 and 2018.

IMG_9308

Never underestimate the creativity of cosplayers!

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Why Some People Fear Seeing Other People in Masks

While most #costumers & #cosplayers wear #costumes to bring joy to others, some people (especially children) may become frightened when approached by someone in #costume. Two not-so-uncommon fears related to #costuming are #maskaphobia and #coulrophobia.

  • Maskaphobia is (as the name implies) a fear masks.
  • Coulrophobia is a persistent fear of clowns, where individuals may feel “shaken or traumatized” at the thought of them.

While neither term is currently listed in the World Health Organization’s ICD-10 or in the American Psychiatric Association’s categorization of disorders, both are very real for those who suffer from them.

Why Masks Can Frighten

While a precise cause explaining why someone might develop maskaphobia or coulrophobia isn’t yet known, both may be rooted in people’s general expectations of seeing others with human appearance and behavior. In a Sun article published a few weeks ago, Dr. Melanie Phelps (a British psychologist) said that as children, we are familiar with the appearance of our caregivers and family members and we see them as having a “safe and friendly human face”.  In terms of clowns, she said,

“Clown have unnatural, large, exaggerated and distorted features and therefore don’t match the ‘safe, friendly human’ pattern we have created in our minds.”

“We know that clown faces are brightly colored, with stark contrasts – for example wide bright red lips, against a very white background, with exaggerated smiles or expressions which are fixed and do not change with interaction. This triggers an ‘unsafe / does not match’ alert in our primal brains which indicates this type of face is unknown, not recognized, possibly unsafe, possibly a threat and we cannot read the facial expression correctly as it doesn’t match the actions or words.”

This inability to interact with clowns or mask wearers could potentially make someone feel fearful, panicky and threatened.

Like clown makeup, masks distort or completely hide the wearer’s appearance. Thus, a mask replaces the wearer’s human appearance with something that is both strange and unusual. If the wearer speaks, the sound may appear to come from out of nowhere since most masks don’t feature moving mouths. Thus, like clown makeup, masks can lead to that primal alert as described by Dr. Phelps.

Similar to clowns, it’s common practice that when someone wears a mask, they alter their own behavior and replace it with behaviors associated with the character that the mask represents. While many people love the freedom that a mask’s anonymity provides, a wearer could behave in socially unacceptable ways while hidden behind the mask.

In some cultures, masks may be worn as part of religious ceremonies. While members of that culture may see the masks as symbols worthy of respect, those of differing religious beliefs might view those same masks as being evil or dangerous.

Various forms of entertainment (TV shows, movies, plays, etc.) may deliberately exploit the fear that masks and clowns can generate. By doing so, such forms of entertainment may inadvertently contribute to someone developing maskaphobia or coulrophobia. After being exposed to images of stalking serial killers or disfigured anti-heroes lurking behind masks or heavy clown makeup, it shouldn’t be surprising that some people may begin to naturally wonder what is behind any mask or clown that they encounter, as well as their intentions.

Real world crimes committed by masked perpetrators can also make people uneasy, especially in the days, weeks and months immediately after a violent crime has occurred and the criminal(s) was masked.

Physical Symptoms

Maskaphobia and coulrophobia can lead to potentially serious physical symptoms for the sufferer. They may include:

  • Sweating.
  • Shaking.
  • Crying.
  • Heart palpitations.
  • Panic attack.
  • The sufferer might try to run away or even hide from the person in the mask or clown makeup.

Treatment

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) enables phobia sufferers to manage their fears by helping them gradually change the way that they think. It’s based on the interconnectedness of thoughts, beliefs, feelings, and behaviors. In some cases, anti-anxiety medication may be prescribed to help relieve the stressful symptoms.

What Can Cosplayers & Costumers Do?

If your mask or makeup inadvertently frightens someone, there may be some things that you can do to alleviate their fears:

  • Come out of character: show the person that you’re just a normal person wearing a mask or makeup.
  • If you’re wearing a mask, temporarily take it off to show that you’re not a threat.
  • Keep your distance: don’t continue to approach the frightened person as that will only intensify their fear.
  • If your costume permits and the scared person is a child, kneel down to their level. You’ll seem less intimidating that way.
  • Also, don’t wear your costume in an inappropriate place as you could find yourself getting arrested.

masks

References

Fursuit Types, Styles & Logistics

When you encounter one or more #fursuiters or you are thinking about owning a #fursuit yourself, you may be unaware of the various types & styles of #fursuits that exist today, as well as the various logistics involved in buying, owning & wearing one.

The most important logistics that will be impacted are as follows:

  • Fursuit cost.
  • Time needed to make the fursuit.
  • The amount of maintenance the fursuit will need.
  • How much heat the fursuit will retain, which will the wearer.
  • Other aspects that affect how comfortable the fursuit is while wearing it.

As to describing the type and style of a fursuit, several basic factors are used:

  • How complete is the fursuit, or level of fursuit completion.
  • Common fursuit styles.
  • Leg styles.

Level of Fursuit Completion

Fursuiters use a set of terms to describe how “complete” a fursuit is. Essentially, this is another way of saying how much does the fursuit cover the person wearing it.

First, not all worn fursuits have the same level of completion. To make it easy to describe how complete a fursuit is, furries & fursuiters devised jargon terms that that explain how a complete a fursuit is.

💁‍♂️ The more complete a fursuit is, the more the fursuit covers the wearer’s body.

Fursuit Parts

To best explain how complete a fursuit is is by defining which parts the fursuit includes. The typical parts of a fursuit are generally described as follows:

  • Head: the part that generally completely covers the fursuiter’s head and neck.
  • Handpaws: essentially furry gloves (or mittens) designed to resemble an animal’s front paws, often including thin pads on the palm side (depending upon the species).
  • Feetpaws: essentially furry shoes that often go up & over the ankle with soles that often have pads matching the color of the pads used on the hand paws.
  • Tail: worn on the back of the fursuiter’s waist.
  • Bodysuit: typically covering the fursuiter’s legs, arms and torso. (Might be 2-piece.)

In the absence of a bodysuit, the following parts may be present instead:

  • Sleeves: typically covering the arms from the wrists upwards to above the elbows or all the way up to the shoulders.
  • Furry Pants: worn as pants.

Basic Fursuit Types

Using the various fursuit parts, here are the four main types of fursuits based on level of completion:

Screen Shot 2018-08-09 at 7.55.36 PM

Logistics of the Basic Fursuit Types

Now, the logistics of the four basic fursuit types can be shown in the next table:

Screen Shot 2018-08-09 at 8.22.03 PM.png

Essentially, the more body coverage, the more expensive the fursuit will be, the longer it will take to make, the more maintenance it will require and the hotter it will be to wear. Also, the more body coverage, the less comfortable it will be.

Common Fursuit Styles

Beyond the level of completion of a fursuit, there are various fursuit styles. Here, we will mention four common ones:

  • Toony: toony fursuits are probably the most common of all fursuits. They are cartoonish in appearance; hence, the nickname: toony. They are highly distinguishable due to their typically over-sized facial features (such as eyes, ears and muzzle), as well as big handpaws and exaggerated smiles. Also, they tend to be extremely colorful, using very bright colors not typically seen on real animals.
  • Realistic: far less common that toony suits and unlike them, realistic fursuits are far more anatomically correct with the goal being to create a more true animal appearance. To do this, none of the parts are exaggerated as with toony suits, including the coloring, which is far more likely to resemble the coloring of an actual animal.
  • Semi-Realistic: semi-realistic fursuits are a hybridization of toony and realistic fursuits. An example might be a very realistic wolf head that has oversized toony eyes.
  • Kemono: these are similar to toony suits, except that they are inspired by Japanese anime. A distinguishing feature of a kemono fursuit is that it typically has a much shorter muzzle than a regular toony suit.

Logistically, the biggest difference between the various styles is going to be cost. Toony fursuits are going to be least expensive overall. Realistic fursuits are more expensive due to the increased amount of work to create realistic animal markings, which may include air-brushing. Semi-realistic fursuits will likely be about the same price overall as a realistic one, but possibly be more expensive. In this group, kemono fursuits are the most expensive because there aren’t many makers that produce them.

Leg Styles

Leg style refers to the appearance of the legs. The two most common styles are as follows:

  • Plantigrade: plantigrade refers to a style of anatomy of the limbs used for walking; specifically, one where the soles of the feet are used to carry the weight. Humans, bears, and rabbits are some examples of animals that have plantigrade legs.
  • Digitigrade: digitigrade refers to a style of anatomy of the limbs used for walking; specifically, where the weight is placed on the digits and not on the heels. Felines, canines and most other mammals are digitigrade.

This diagram shows the difference between plantigrade and digitigrade legs:

digiplant

For fursuiting, to create a digitigrade appearance in the legs, additional padding is used in the front of the thighs, as well as the back of the shins. Logistically, this means that digitigrade legs are both more expensive and less comfortable than plantigrade legs.

⚠️ Fursuiters with digitigrade legs are more likely to waddle as they walk depending upon how much additional padding is in the legs to achieve the desired appearance.

Two far less common leg styles that we’ll mention here are the following:

  • Unguligrade: unguligrade refers to a style of anatomy of the walking limbs; specifically, where the animal stands and walks using the tips of its toes that have formed into hooves. Animals that are unguligrade include horses and deer.
  • Quadruped: as the name implies, this refers to a very small number of fursuiters who have created characters that walk on four legs. Quadruped fursuits are also called “quad suits” for short.

And, if you haven’t guessed it by now, logistically, both the unguligrade and quadruped legs are more costly than digitigrade legs. Also, both are far more uncomfortable; especially quadruped. As for cost, a quadruped suit may cost $6000. Unsurprisingly, they are rather rare.

Specialty Fursuits

An example of a “specialty fursuit” would be a “plush suit”, which is designed to make the wearer look like a stuffed animal. Naturally, these are much more expensive than typical fursuits due to the increased labor and materials required. Also, who ever wears one is going to become even hotter due to the additional padding to create the plush appearance. Plush suit handpaws don’t have fingers, which makes it incredibly difficult to use your hands to pick things up or do anything. Also, logistically speaking, it takes a lot longer for a maker to create a plush suit because much more time and labor is involved.

Acknowledgment

We want to thank Stormi Folf, who’s recent video about fursuit styles inspired this blog post. You can view his original video here:

References

Tips for Designing a Fursuit

For anyone who hasn’t designed a #fursuit before, here are some practical tips that you might want to consider.

Fur Colors

If you’re planning to use white fur, you might want to be careful about where you use it. Since white fur shows dirt more than any other color, you might want to avoid putting white on areas that are prone to being exposed to dirt, such as the feet, the butt or the bottom of the tail. All of these areas are more prone to getting dirty and white fur isn’t necessarily easy to clean. In other words, white fur can require higher maintenance to keep clean.

If you’re planning to use a lot of black fur, please bear in mind that suits that are mostly black tend to not show up well in photos or videos with other suits. Also, mostly black suits are hard to see overall in low light situations.

Complicated Designs

As many fursuits are based on artwork, color mixing and color fading that produce many shades aren’t easily done with sewing. When color fading or mixing is used on a fursuit, it’s usually achieved by airbrushing. While airbrushing can look great, not all fursuit makers use airbrushing. If they do offer airbrushing, it will add to the overall cost of the suit. Also, washing a fursuit can damage airbrushed paint, which means that after multiple washings, airbrushing may have to be redone.

If you’re considering symbols or other intricate designs to be sewn into the suit, please bear in mind that additional seams can weaken the fursuit. So you’d want to be careful about not placing intricate designs or symbols in areas that are going to stretch while wearing the suit. Also, additional sewing will also increase the price of a fursuit from a maker. It will also potentially increase the amount of maintenance that a suit needs.

Wings

Wings might look great, but they can be highly problematic on a fursuit. Not only do they add to the overall weight of the suit (which can make the suit more uncomfortable to wear), they can start to sag over time. Some fursuiters who incorporate wings make them removable so that they don’t have to wear them all the time. Wings add to the overall size of your character and greatly increase the likelihood of you bumping into things and people or people bumping into you. Wings also add to the amount of material that has to be shipped to conventions.

Acknowledgement

Thanks to Pocari Roo, who’s video inspired this article.

References

 

Some Cutting-Edge Fursuits

Just like any other form of #costuming & #cosplay, some #fursuiters are looking for ways to be on the cutting edge of the hobby by using electronics and details that require enormous amounts of hours to create. #Fursuiter Pocari Roo shared some of the #fursuits that she regards as being “insane” for how much effort these makers put into their amazing creations:

Here are fuller versions of those same fursuits:

“Beauty of the Bass” dancing at #Confuzzled:

“LED Dragon” at the 2017 #Antrocon:

“Gem Raptor” and mBlade at MCC in 2017:

Jex:

King Hyena:

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DIY: Making Your Own Fake Leather

#Leather isn’t an uncommon element for #costumes & #cosplays, but it doesn’t have to be the real thing. Real leather can be cost prohibitive (not just the leather, but the tooling also can be pricey), becomes hot to wear or there may be objections to using and/or wearing animal products.

To solve these dilemmas, there’s an easy solution: make your own faux or fake leather. The question is how? The most obvious solution is to use faux leather fabric (or pleather); but if you need something that’s thicker than pleather you can use some foam underneath it, or you could just transform foam into your own homemade fake leather. You could even paint fabric to make it look leathery.

The first video tutorial below by Ginny Di talks about combining pleather with foam to create realistic looking fake leather. To do this you’ll need pleather, paints & foam.

If you want to make your own fake leather from foam only, you can try a technique presented by Buddy Cosplay. To do this, you’d need several tools, including an iron, heat gun, paints, foam, aluminum foil.

The next video is similar to the first, but isn’t as detailed. It’s by ButtercupBrix.

There are other similar tutorial videos online. The key to remember here is that you don’t have to use actual leather and you can let your creativity take you where you want. You could even make a gas mask that looks like leather by combining these techniques with the gas mask tutorial that we just posted.

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