FURSUIT FRIENDLY DESIGNS
WHAT IS A FURSUIT FRIENDLY DESIGN?
I haven't really seen many people talk about fursuit friendly designs online, so I thought I'd write a page to explain what I mean when I reference "fursuit friendly design" on this site and why it's so important. A fursuit friendly design is a character design that can be easily translated into a costume. Not having a fursuit friendly design can impact the chance of your character being chosen for a commission slot and could decrease the durability of your costume in the long run. It is extremely important, especially if you plan to move a lot or dance in your costume.
If you're unsure if your character is fursuit friendly or not, or you don't know how to simplify a character that isn't fursuit friendly, you can ask an artist or fursuit maker. You can also find an artist that does fursuit friendly references, for example Neonslushie, who specialises in fursuit-ready references.
COMMON UNFRIENDLY FEATURES
Lots of small details
Having a lot of small details, such as a lot of spots, can compromise the durability of the suit. These details are too small to machine-sew, so must be hand-sewn, and seams could pop easily if caught or put under stress. To make them fursuit friendly, you can reduce the number of them and make them larger.
Tattoos on characters are common, but some aren't possible to sew into a costume, especially if they have a lot of small details. Tattoos on costumes don't work the same as drawing them onto a 2D image, they can be difficult to sew and the fur's length can distort the image. I would recommend simplifying your tattoos if possible, or removing them entirely if they are too small or too complex.
Gradients aren't fursuit friendly because they are difficult to achieve and difficult to maintain due to the amount of airbrushing that would be necessary. Make sure that your design uses solid colours.
THE NEUTRAL GROUND
Some design features may be neither fursuit friendly or unfriendly, and may require you to have further discussion with your fursuit maker.
Unusual or Rare Colours
Not every colour exists as a faux fur colour. If you have a lot of tones or non-standard colours in your design, you'll need to discuss further with your fursuit maker about fabric. You may have to alter the colours in your design or settle for something that's close enough with your maker. If you're in doubt, you can look up faux fur on commonly used websites such as Big Z Fabrics and Howl Fabrics to see what kind of colours are available. If you have a specific fabric in mind, be sure to mention it to your maker - they will be able to tell you if they can use it for your costume or if they can't (for example, if the fur is low quality or can't be shipped to their country).
Excessive or Unusually-shaped Extra Features
Excessive or unusual features (for example, large or unusual horns, multiple eyes or mouths, a lot of piercings, etc) are a grey area as they're often not listed as something that makers offer, and would require discussion. You may have to come to a compromise and change the design slightly for it to be fursuit friendly, as many makers may not want or be able to do a certain aspect of your design due to complexity or lack of experience/skill with what you want. For example, you might have to simplify a character's antlers, as a maker may not know how to make large, fully shaped ones.