What are the number one mistakes of first time fursuit makers?

Discussion in 'Fursuiting & Costuming' started by paroapockinroo, Dec 15, 2012.

  1. Springdragon

    Springdragon Member

    [​IMG] I hope this helps.
  2. Dokid

    Dokid Member

    IT does! Although the arrows towards the back legs seem a bit confusing in terms of how faux fur works.

    Like are the arrows pointing up? Or are they just simply there to show that the fur needs to go down towards the paws?
  3. Springdragon

    Springdragon Member

    On the paws, the pattern should be cut into three pieces, or one piece and brushed/hair sprayed into place. The front of the paw going up the leg to the shoulder is a center line. The fur flows from that midline on the front into a ridge that points back up on the back side of the leg. This is especially noticable in coarse haired dogs, where you will get a tuft or feathered effect.

    Basically, there needs to one seam at the middle of the underside. For ultimate realism, instead of using a top piece and a bottom piece, there need to be three pieces. One for the top with the fur flowing down and one for each side which join at the back, with the fur flowing backward, at an angle to the top piece. The palm portion of the glove needs to be another separate piece from the two backs, with the fur flowing up from the tips of the fingers. Let me put together another diagram.

    Last edited: Jan 28, 2013
  4. Trpdwarf

    Trpdwarf Lurking in Castle Moats

    I'm not sure if this has been posted or not but one of the biggest mistakes I see first timers make is that they rely on friends and family for critique. Or they get positive feedback from the Anime Community (especially after going to an anime convention) and take that as a cue to go into making for others.

    Family is not always going to be honest. They often wish to spare your feelings by not telling the truth. Often they also have no real understanding of costuming/making and as such are not going to be able to give you proper critique.

    Friends fall into the same category. I have seen cases where even furry friends will be less than honest to their furry counterpart when it comes to the costume they created. They know that it's less the ideal but they will withhold positive criticism for fear of hurting feelings. Also a lot of coddling goes on because not coddling runs into a temper tantrum style argument of "Well they spent a lot of time on it!".

    Finally, the anime community while excelling in the amount of people who can do wonderful cos-play often fail spectacularly when it comes to animal based costumes. It is not uncommon for them to take things that were piss poor in construction and herald it is "Awesome". There is a lot of false sense of accomplishment that comes from this community because they don't have the kind of experience and build up community wise for animal based costumes that us furries do. So they do not often recognize how piss poor something really is. Yet I see so many furries go off thinking they can become a maker because they pleased the Anime community with their junk.

    In order to make a good furry costume turn to the furry community for your critique. Don't use the Anime Community, your friends, or your family as your source of critique. If they like what you make take it with a grain of salt. Personally I remember when the first piss poor costumes Zeke and I made went to the local college Halloween contest. One of them won first prize. It was sad in a way because of how poorly constructed they were. It also reflects why the public often fails as recognizing real quality.
  5. LemonJayde

    LemonJayde No wait I hate you

    Jesus Christ, woman.

    Anyways, some that I have seen are fur direction, nose sculpting, and a huge on is box noses. THOSE ARE BIG NO'S. (get it? get it?)
    *ehem* Back on topic, there are a lot of various mistakes that people make. Just depends on the person. I've noticed that good artists are good costume makers, and vice versa.
  6. Springdragon

    Springdragon Member

    I think the same concept applies to all crafts. (Craft as in "profession", not craft as in "miscellaneous makery which involves popsicle sticks".) You have to ask someone better than you to know whether or not you're doing well. Mistakes are a discrepancy between how the item should be and how it is. If the observer has no idea how it should be, he or she is not going to be able to recognize errors.
  7. Wereling

    Wereling Member

    Yeah I hear ya that's why I'm tring to better my drawingskills and stuff
  8. Umbra.Exe

    Umbra.Exe Revolver Snocelot

    I completely agree. Friends and family always try to spare your feelings, or even worse, don't know what's wrong with it either! XD This is not directly suit-related, but I've seen plenty of... Not-so-good pieces of art/drawings online, and they receive nothing but praise from their friends, without even a hint of constructive criticism. :p

    And as for the anime community... They know their stuff, but fursuits aren't really "their stuff". so of course they wouldn't know as much as someone who specializes in animal costumes. That would be like asking someone who builds ball-jointed dolls for tips on how to make an action figure. Somewhat similar in some ways, but not quite the same. Might as well go right to the 'specialists for help.' I suppose this could apply to anything, really.
  9. Wereling

    Wereling Member

    Yeah like asking a water color painter how to paint with oils or someone who wrties romance novels about an action novel or even asking a contractor how to build a table
    It's not their field of expertise even though it might seem like it
  10. Kaluna

    Kaluna *squeak squeak squeak*

    I just finished my first suit and I'd say the biggest issue is the muzzle doesnt move like i planned ti would, in fact i couldnt get it to move at all it was just flapping open so i had to glue it shut (kinna) it still flops around too much when i nod or run or dance.... :< i want it either static or moving, its not really either. its mostly static, its really not that bad, just if i bounce or dance really hard it looks a little silly
  11. Wereling

    Wereling Member

    If it bounces too much try putting some plastic mesh in the roof of the mouth and glue the muzzle a bit higher (if you can get under the fur try doing a support system or something like that) have ya got any pics so we can see what's going on?
  12. mojobojo

    mojobojo Member

    I considered it an accomplishment when my first fursuit head did not end up on there. Biggest problem I ran into is I put the fur on the wrong way, I had to rip it all off and redo it.
  13. Dokid

    Dokid Member

    In all honesty it's actually fairly easy not to be put on there. The site really only showcases the worst of the worst.

    Also I hate it when you think everything is going smoothly but then you find out that you sewed or glued something the wrong way.
  14. Springdragon

    Springdragon Member

    Just finished my first head. I have the following insights:

    1) Make the tape pattern with the mouth open.

    2) Light colors are okay to drybrush on. Dark colors, especially black, need to be sewn in unless you're working with an animal that has a white undercoat, such as a wolf, or my (pet) cat. In some places, the fur is too long to work the color all the way down the base.

    3) Attach the hood, then the ears. They started out level, but I accidentally knocked them out of place and had to reglue in an odd way. In addition to that, they're so fragile that I don't want to risk brushing out the paint.

    4) I am really bleeping tiny. I will probably have to wear shoulder pads with the head to make it look okay.

    5) Here's a picture of it in the most unflattering light possible. (Night time, incandescent overhead light, camera flash on.) I'll try to take a better one in the morning.
  15. Kaluna

    Kaluna *squeak squeak squeak*

    Lol In making my first suit at one point I sewed the right ear to the left side of the face fur, and when I noticed I freaked out almost gave up, cried a little in frustration (granted this was at 4am after sewing for like 8 hours straight) and then finally took some deep breaths and carefully cut the stitches off with a razor blade. Everything was fine. :3 I really did have to laugh at myself after that drama.
  16. Umbra.Exe

    Umbra.Exe Revolver Snocelot

    Springdragon: That's quite nice for a first head! What species/breed is it though? Is it the Akita/Chow you mentioned in your other thread?

    Oh man is that frustraring. I haven't made a suit yet, but when I sew stuffed animals, I occasionally sew the pattern the wrong way... And man is it annoying to find and pick out all the stitches from fluffy fleece! I can't imagine how hard that must be with fur. D:

    Oh, and to keep with the topic of the thread a bit more, I've thought of a few more mistakes I've seen:

    Eyes too close/too far apart: I know good vision is a must, but try not to place your eyes too close together. Alternatively, don't place them too far apart either, because, well, good vision is a must!
    Ears too close/too far apart: Sometimes ears look like they're nearly on top of the mask's head, with only an inch or so between them! And sometimes, the ears are a bit too far apart as well.
    Overbite/Underbite/Crooked jaws: Pretty self-explanatory. Tends to happen on "moving jaw" heads, I think.
    Plastic vampire teeth: Once again, I kid you not, I've seen people use these as fursuit teeth. It tends to look pretty cheap.
    Frog-mouth: Unless you're making a big-mouthed creature, your head should not have such a wide mouth!
    Cheap fur: Buy quality fur for your suits, folks. People can tell when you skimp and buy "fun fur."
    Textured/patterned fur: When making a spotted cat or the like, it's tempting to go buy pre-spotted fabric. please don't, this tends to look out of place on a fursuit. It's probably better suited for smaller things like plush toys.
    GIANT heads: Tends to happen with partials.If the head looks big in the foaming stage, it's not going to look any smaller once furred.
    Lumpy foamwork: Again, bad looking when foamed=Bad looking when furred. I know it's hard to get foam smooth, but try to get the big lumps out. Fur can't hide everything.
    Visible glue/raw edges: Sometimes hot glue can be seen at the edges of fur/eyes/ears. Sometimes people don't secure the edges of fur in places like the ears, this can look pretty bad.
    Glued bodysuits: While I personally don't like glue much, it's acceptable on low-stress area like the head. However on a bodysuit, where seams are stressed more, please learn to at least handsew, or maybe get someone to help you sew it.
    Wonky ears: Ears that are tilted differently from one another (when it's not done on purpose). Also, ears that are tilted too far forward or backward.
    Feather-Boa whiskers: I don't see it often because it only happens in special cases. Sometimes, a character has long whiskers like that of an Eastern dragon. People sometimes use craft feather boas for these whiskers. It tends to not match the rest of the suit and looks bad.
    Back-tails: Tails that are too high up, and are on or nearly on the wearer's back. Tends to happen with "dragon" type tails, or tails with thick bases. Remember tails, sprout from the base of your spine, not from the middle of your back. Tails generally do not belong above the belt line!
    Butt-tails: Opposite of the "back tail." Tails don't sprout out of your butt, either. Don't place them too low.
    Everything-is-a-dog Syndrome: If you're not making a dog, don't use dogs as references. Don't copy dog mask shapes. Even if it has raccoon or zebra or leopard markings, and it's shaped like a dog, people are going to think it's a dog. I saw a very nice suit of what looked like a Husky once. Only it wasn't a Husky. It was a Tree Kangaroo. Very nicely made, but it still looked like a dog!

    And now, as promised, some quadsuit mistakes:
    Tube legs: This happens when PVC pipes are used for the arm stilts, and no padding is used to break up the tube's shape. Professionals as well as first-time makers have done this. I've seen really beautiful suits that would be nearly perfect if it weren't for the shipping-tube legs.
    Short/no neck: Quadsuit heads are built a bit differently than regular heads to give the appearance of a longer, animal-like neck. Some people don't realize this and appear to have little or no neck in-suit.
    LONG neck: I think there was an Epona suit posted earlier with a giraffe-like neck... However, I've also seen a Girafarig (giraffe Pokemon) quadsuit, in which case a long neck is just fine!
    Insufficient padding: Many quads I see don't have padded chests, which kind of ruins the animal illusion. Humans have very "flat" chests. Animals, however do not, so padding must be used to help the illusion.
    Baggy fur: Okay, this occurs on both quad and regular suits, but I see it more on quads. Empty bags of fabric are not a substitute for padding.
    Super-long arms: This one bugs me a bit. If your arm stilts are so long that you're basically putting all your weight on your hind legs, it looks very weird... Might as well wear a regular suit if you don't want to go on all fours. It also gives too much of a slope to the back and makes the torso look very short, which is usually not what you want for a quad.

    And the biggest mistake for both fursuiters and quadsuiters:

    Not using reference images! Whatever you're making, have some reference images handy. Not just one, as many as you can get your hands on! Reference images should help a lot for placing things like eyes and ears, and for getting the shapes of things right. Get reference images of the specific species/breed you're making. What works on a cat will not work for a dog, and what works for a Shiba Inu will not work for a German Shepherd.

    Also, try not to use other people's suits as your only reference. It's like making a drawing of a drawing of a picture; They've simplified the original to their liking, and if you simplify that, it's going to look less and less like the original source. It's like playing visual Telephone.

    I think that's all I can think of for now.
    Oh my... Now this is a long post! Sorry everyone! D:
  17. Springdragon

    Springdragon Member

    Yes it is. Here's a better picture: http://d.facdn.net/art/springdragon/1359590165.springdragon_photo-2013-wipcook5.jpg

    Since then I've repainted the nose, added another coat of black to the lower jaw, and recut the ears. I originally had it as a divot at the top of the ear, but I shaved a false edge into the fur and reshaped the inside to give a clearer distinction between the plush inside of the ear and the long fringe outside. I also painted the front of the fringe black and cut the center all the way down and added a dab of fawn paint there for some shading. The ears look much better now.

    Back on Topic: Another beginner lesson I learned is that I need to make all the curves in the base much more dramatic than I want it to look, to make room for the thick fur. The ears are curved, but they look flat. In another thread, Deo suggested that I have the ears too far back, but I disagree. I think they would look funny if they were set any further forward. The front of the ear is in the right place, but if anything, the backs need to extend further into more of a conical shape. Maybe I could get that if I cut down near the edges of the ears but left the fur longer at the base.
  18. Umbra.Exe

    Umbra.Exe Revolver Snocelot

    Springdragon: That looks pretty nice! The ears seemed small to me at first, but then I realized Chows have smallish ears, don't they?So what are you doing next? Handpaws? Feetpaws? Tail?Oh, and here's a couple other mistakes I've seen, not too many in this post though.

    Non-follow follow me eyes:
    I've seen lots of people attempt follow-me eyes, but some don't, well, follow. The eye needs to be set deep enough in the head/eye sockets for them to work. Conversely, don't set them too far in, or you might just have white-eyes from certain angles with no pupil visible. Follow-me eyes seem a bit tricky.

    "Use your own eyes masks,"
    when done the wrong way, look like you just forgot to put in eyes. I personally don't like UYOE masks, but if you're going to make one, at least do it correctly. These masks look best when small and form-fitting to the face. The closer the eyes are to your real eyes, the better. If the eyeholes are too far away, we can't see your eyes and it looks as if it was intended to be a regular mask, sans eyes.

    Splayed toes: If your feet look like pancakes with tennis-ball toes stuck to the edges, they might need a bit of work. Animal toes are actually a bit closer together then a lot of beginners make them. This happens more with "toony" suits, I think, that exaggerate the toes a bit too much.

    And I realize I may come across as sounding like some sort of fursuit dictator... ^^; I'm not saying you can't make ANY of these mistakes, because everyone makes mistakes. Even the pros. But once you know what to avoid, I think it gives you a bit of an upper hand.
    Also, I unfortunately haven't been able to start my first suit yet, (no money, no room to put it), so I'm probably also going to refer back to these things later. XD
  19. Springdragon

    Springdragon Member

    Agreed, follow-me-eyes are tricky. Also, if they're set at the wrong angle, the face looks cross-eyed instead of focused, from the front.

    I think Use-your-own eyes masks are scary. On a human, the sclera(sp?) is usually visible and we've gotten used to it, but on an animal that usually indicates fear and alarm. The expression ends up somewhat neurotic because the facial muscles are relaxed but the eyes are terrified.

    I don't think splayed toes has been mentioned yet. That's a good one.

    Umbra: Yes, the ears are intentionally small. The character is a quarter each of kunming military dog (basically looks like a straight backed GSD with shorter ears and some really wolfish color morphs), akita, chow, and a few local nonrecognized breeds. Most of those have a blunt head with small wide-set ears.

    Another thing that really bothers me about some suits (and some drawings) is enormous tall ears. An animal's ears aren't normally the same height as the rest of its entire head. It's close, on something like a housecat, but as the animal gets larger the ears get smaller in proportion to the head. Judging the size of an animal by its proportions is something that we've visually internalized. When something doesn't match, it looks out of scale. Even a house cat mask should have slightly smaller ears would be proportionate on an actual cat in order to reflect that rule.

    Then you get animals like artic foxes and wolves which have small ears already.

    Another mistake is the S shaped tail, or pointed tip tail. Fluffy fox and wolf tails actually have a rounded tip. Fox tails are tube shaped, not football shaped.

    The severe bend at the top of the S shape is meant to accomodate the wearer's butt. However, a tail that curves up at the end would usually be held away from the body. The spine doesn't usually bend at sharp angles and the tail is supposed to be an extension of the spine.

    Edit: I've been wondering for a while, is is possible to muck up a resin head? As in, provided you start from a decent base, is there anything a beginner might do that can completely wreck it?
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2013
  20. Finty

    Finty Guest

    The eyes can either make or break a fursuit. Most beginners make them unequal.
    Hurrrr Duuuurr

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