Author Topic: How to Commission a Fursuit, Version 2.5  (Read 60545 times)

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Offline Kobuk

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How to Commission a Fursuit, Version 2.5
« on: December 20, 2006, 10:20:15 pm »
EDIT: 7/4/2017  Due to circumstances beyond my control, a lot of the pictures associated in my fursuit tutorial threads are now gone. The reasons for this can best be described in this thread:
http://forums.furtopia.org/general-non-furry-discussion/time-to-dump-photobucket/

When or if I fix all the threads and broken links is unknown. But when I do, it will take a long time. A lot of the "text" information in various threads will still be useful.




This tutorial can be used not just for commissioning partial or full fursuits, but the information within is also useful for if a person commissions individual parts of a fursuit such as a head, handpaws, tail, etc. or if you decide to build your own fursuit.  ;)

CONTENTS:

1. Choose an animal species.
2. Name for character.
3. Full suit, Partial suit, or other type?
4. Toony or Realistic suit?
5. Select a mood/personality.
6. Body Characteristics.
7. Facial Expressions.
8. Colors and Markings.
9. Fur Fabric
10. Other Design Considerations.
11. Sketches and Artwork.
12. Research a fursuit maker.
12-A. Copyrighted Stuff.
13. Measurements and DTD's.
14. Commission Time!
15. The "waiting game".
15-A. When fursuit makers go bad.
16. Recieveing the finished suit.
17. Additional "End" advice.
18. Post # 5 by Far Raptor about "originality".
19. Post # 9 by SPark about "communication".
20. Post # 11 - Future Updates and Edits. Check this section often.
21. Post # 12 - Fursuits and Children (Minors 18 and under.)
22. Post # 13 - List of design elements of a fursuit.
23. Post # 14 - Getting a Refund (To be written and added later this year.)


Note: All fursuiter pictures taken by Kobuk at various conventions unless otherwise noted.


INTRODUCTION

For the past few weeks, I’ve been helping Baconstrip with giving him information on how to design and commission a fursuit in preparation for when he commissions his own fursuit. Helping Baconstrip with his commission process has given me the idea to write this topic and make a tutorial of sorts about how a person actually goes through the process of commissioning someone to construct a fursuit for them. Granted, not all my information presented here will be accurate or precise. I am only writing this tutorial based pretty much on my own experiences when I commissioned Lacy to make my fursuit. However, some information that was very useful when researching and writing this topic also came from the “Critter Costuming: Making Mascots and Fabricating Fursuits” book (Chapters 1-4) which is available from Amazon.com here:
LINK: http://www.amazon.com/Critter-Costuming-Mascots-Fabricating-Fursuits/dp/0967817072/sr=11-1/qid=1166560711/ref=sr_11_1/102-2497089-1318548"




Granted, the book is primarily about creating your own suit rather than commissioning someone, however the chapters I mentioned above are really great about discussing various design issues and the artwork involved to help bring your character to life. I am not going to quote word for word from that book about various design issues, but I do feel there are some valid points that are worth mentioning from that book. If possible, I will list those points in highlighted light blue colored text. If anyone has any information, hints, tips, suggestions, etc. they would like to add, then please feel free to do so. Any and all advice is welcome. ;)



1. Choose an animal species.

Is your animal species mammal, reptile, aquatic, or other? The species of animal you choose will determine how your suit is made, The materials used in it, How you'll be able to perform in the fursuit, etc. Try not to choose something too complicated that is beyond the skills/experience of the fursuit maker. ;) When selecting a species, Good references to use are either going to the library to research animals and/or visiting the nearest Zoo in a major city.


2. Choose a name for your character.

Try to think of something unique that stands out and makes the character distinctive that says something about their personality. Actually, this is the last thing you'll need to think about. But I thought I'd throw it in here anyway.


3. Do you want a full fursuit, partial fursuit, or other type fursuit?

Examples of the following:

Full fursuit: (Head, Body, Footpaws, Handpaws, & Tail)
Full fursuit allows for your entire character to be portrayed and seen, However, full fursuits tend to be more hotter since they are covering your entire body.

Click picture for larger image.


( ^ Picture by Dragonscales.com)


Partial fursuit: (Head, Handpaws, Footpaws, & Tail)
A partial fursuit is good for when you don’t want a bodysuit which would make you hotter or for when you are on a limited budget. However, a partial tends to still give the appearance of a human form (Arms, Body, Legs) when you’re wearing jeans and a shirt.

Click picture for larger image.




Quadruped Fursuit: (Head, Feet & Hands, Tail, Bodysuit) A quadruped (Otherwise called/spelled "quad suit" or "quadsuit".) fursuit is a type of fursuit where the performer/character is walking on “four legs” in feral animal form in a fursuit instead of performing in anthropomorphic form walking on two legs. Sample video showing a quadruped fursuit:
LINK: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2vOjyKu1UE&feature=related
These types of fursuits are gaining somewhat in popularity, though they do tend to cost about double of what a normal fursuit would be. Prices could run anywhere from as low as $2500, to as much as $4000+ depending on design/construction of suit and who you commission from. Some of the biggest drawbacks to this type of suit can be, but are not limited to: Higher price, Possibly longer commission/build time, Complexity of the suit, And the health/safety issues since the performer is bent over and putting a lot of stress and strain on the back and/or other body areas.

Click picture below for larger image. Quad fursuit picture credited to fursuit maker known as Beastcub (LilleahWest).




4. Will your fursuit be Toony or Realistic?

Cartoony presents more of an entertaining and cartoonish view to adults and especially children. Realistic is good for scaring and frightening people such as at Halloween, or perhaps you might need a more realistic character for a special venue or promotion, or you simply want your fursona to look as realistic to a real animal as possible. Examples:

Cartoony Fursuit: (Click each picture for larger image.)

 


Realistic Fursuit: (Click each sample picture for a larger image.)




5. Select a Mood

Basically, what is your character’s personality? Is he/she Friendly, Athletic, Clever, Intelligent, Silly, Brave, etc.? The mood you select may also determine how the facial expressions/features of your character will look like on the fursuit head.


6. Body Characteristics

What is your character like physically? Is he/she Tall, Wooly, Skinny, Fat, Winged, Scaly, Short, Old, muscular, etc.? The body characteristics you select will also determine how your suit is designed, How long it will take to construct, How much more it will cost, and any other variables (Extra padding, Wings, etc).

Click each picture for a larger image.





7. Facial Expression - (Eyes, Nose, Mouth, Teeth, etc)
 
IMO, I tend to feel that the main focus of a suit is on the head. It is instinctively what your audience will view first and what their eyes will look at. Your facial expression and how you have the ears, teeth, mouth, etc. says a lot about how your character looks and acts. Will you want: Small eyes or large eyes?, Whiskers on nose?, Tongue sticking out of mouth or no tongue?, Drooping ears or ears that are standing up?, etc., etc., etc.

Click each picture for a larger image.




8. Colors & Markings

Is your fursuit character the traditionally colored grays or browns often seen on wolves or foxes? Or do you have some other unique color scheme that sets your character apart from all the rest of the critters seen at a convention or other venue? Young children generally prefer bright colors. Make your character’s primary colors bold even if this makes them appear very unnatural. You’ll also want to avoid mixing too many colors and creating a color explosion so to speak. But on the other paw, Try not to use just one color as that will make the suit seem “flat” and not stand out to the crowd. You may also need to think about blending and contrast. Blending creates a more natural appearance; sharp boundries create a cartoonish appearance. Contrast creates more visual interest and can highlight physical shapes and contours. Similar colors or different shades of a color can create more subtle markings and shadowing.
Click each sample picture below for a larger image.




9. Fur Fabric

Although I would like to talk about fur fabric here, I feel that this subject is better left to more experienced fursuiters and fursuit makers who know more about pile length, nap direction, fur backing, and so forth and can give more precise information in regards to quality and what to buy. When selecting fur, You can either let the fursuit maker find and buy the fur to make the suit, or shop yourself to find the fur fabric to mail to the fursuit maker. Yes, the fursuit maker can find and buy the furs you want (or they may already have extra yardage/scraps at home) for your fursuit as they will generally have better contacts and resources with which to find the fur fabrics you need. However, I myself, decided to take a slightly different route. For my fursuit, I went shopping for my own fur to mail to the fursuit maker. This saved her the time and money looking for the green fur to use on my suit. If you do buy your own fur fabric to mail to the fursuit maker to use, You’re probably wondering how much you’re going to need. Unfortuneately, there is no easy answer to this. It all depends on how detailed you want your fursuit to be and whether your suit is a partial or a full fursuit. Generally, the “average” amount TOTAL for a fursuit regardless of amount of colors is about 4-6 yards for a full fursuit, and 2-4 yards for a partial. This might seem too much to some people, but the excess fur you have leftover is good for keeping for emergency repairs and other alteration work, etc. 
For my fursuit, I bought 5 yards of dark green at $20 per yard = $100 total. Add in a coupon for 40% off and my total cost was only $60! Taking advantage of coupons, sales, and discounts will greatly help in cutting down costs. Just make sure you check the quality of the fur before buying at a store if possible. If it looks too good to be true, then it probably is. Check for softness, fur density, thickness, etc. Make sure to ask questions or ask for pictures if buying over the Internet. ;) Also, if you do buy fur fabric over the Internet, Some fur suppliers can send small swatches (Usually 4 inch x 4 inch squares) of fur fabric to you by mail if you ask for them so that you can see and feel the quality of the fur before buying it.


10. Other Design Considerations

When commissioning a fursuit, You might want to think about a few other things such as:
* Where will the fursuit be used?
* Will it be for indoor or outdoor use?
* Any special movement and mobility requirements?
* Do you have any Handicap/Disability/Health issues which could affect the design and construction of the fursuit?
* Durability and lifespan of the fursuit?
* Packing and transportation?

You'll want the fursuit maker to construct the fursuit that will be easily maintainable and durable, but yet won’t be constructed in such a manner as to prevent you from performing your character. In other words, You don’t want a fursuit that’s built to some tough industrial grade standards that can survive a nuclear blast or something. You’ll want something that’s easily Cleanable, Repairable, Can take off and put on easily, etc.


11. Sketches and Artwork

After going through the above design processes, The next phase will probably be the artwork. This is where you can combine all your design elements into a visual representation of what you want your fursuit to look like. You can either draw the artwork/sketches yourself or you can commission an artist to do the drawings for you to give to the fursuit maker. Generally, Some good views to have drawn of your character are the following:
* Full body front view,
* Full body side view,
* Full body back view,
* 2-4 different head shots,
* And various views of Hands, Feet, Tail, etc. that you want to have done.

Depending on what views you want done and how much detail you want on your sketches, The artwork can cost anywhere from as little as $10 to as much as $50+. Cost also varies with what artist you commission to do the work and the medium (Pen, Paint, Colored pencil, Marker, etc) they work with. Also, any artwork that you do yourself to send to the fursuit maker, or commission someone else to do must be PG only. No naughty "bits and pieces". The artwork you send must be "work safe". If you attempt to send artwork that is mature/adultish in any way, Then the fursuit maker has the option of declining the art and/or fursuit commission as a whole. For an example of various concept art that should be done and what fursuit makers are looking for, Check the below sample picture.

Daisuke character credited/copyrighted to Daisuke Miles. Reference sheet artwork credited to artist Mitsu.

Click picture for larger image.




EDIT - Another suggestion for when you need an art sketch made of your fursona or fursuit is to check this Furtopian thread here:
LINK: http://forums.furtopia.org/index.php?topic=44785.0


12. Research a Fursuit Maker

Once you’ve finalized the design and artwork processes, The next step would be to browse the Internet and check out the various fursuit makers and their websites. One shortcut to give you would be to check out this thread:
LINK: http://forums.furtopia.org/index.php/topic,31257.0.html
......that lists various links to fursuit makers and their websites. Checking other maker’s fursuit work will give you ideas as to what they can and can’t do, Pics of things that might look good on your own suit, and the quality of the work they are capable of doing. When researching various fursuit makers and their websites,
Here are some things to consider below: (Highlighted yellow items A, B, and C)

A) Prices and Payments: The prices that a fursuit maker lists, if any, are mostly just a “base” price. This “base price” for a fursuit or fursuit part will go higher or lower depending on how detailed and complex you want your fursuit made. Just because a price says $800 does NOT necessarily mean it is actually going to cost that. If a fursuit maker doesn’t have prices listed on their website, They may instead have you send them your design specifications/artwork to them so they can give you a “price quote”. Another thing to pay attention to is that most, if not all, fursuit makers will require a 30-50% down payment in advance before they start work on your fursuit. This initial payment is used to cover the costs of buying the fur fabric and other materials. A WARNING THOUGH: Once you pay the initial down payment to start work on your fursuit, That payment "may or may not" be refundable! Once a fursuit maker has spent the money to buy supplies to construct the fursuit and/or actually started construction, You cannot get that money back. If for any reason you cannot finish paying for the commission or some other emergency comes up where you need the money back, You may be out of luck. If you cannot finish paying for the fursuit and you back out of the commission for any reason, The fursuit maker has the option of finishing the suit and selling it on Furbid, Ebay, or doing something else with it. However.......if, on the other paw, the fursuit maker has not bought supplies yet and/or started construction in any way, There may be a chance of getting a refund. But this will vary from maker to maker and what their "Terms of Service" policies are.
Another thing to check into is any payment plans/options the fursuit maker might have such as Paying by check, Money order, Paypal, Credit card, Debit card, etc. If one of the options is paying by cash, Then DO NOT SEND MONEY. Cash payments are too easy to get lost, stolen, and/or are untraceable. After you pay the initial down payment, You will need to continue to keep sending further payments over the next several weeks/months till the fursuit is paid, or some fursuit makers will allow you to finish paying for the fursuit at the time when the fursuit has been completed and is ready for shipping to the customer. Most, but not necessarily all, fursuit makers will NOT complete and/or ship a fursuit out until the final payment has been sent and they have received it. If you need to know what a fursuit maker’s payment plans are and so forth, Please contact them BEFORE you start commissioning them. And lastly.......Make sure you keep Financial records/Statements/Invoices of all monetary $$$ transactions. That way, you and the fursuit maker will know how much money has been sent, How much still has to be paid, and so forth.
EDIT: Adding in this link here to another thread that briefly describes fursuit pricing.
LINK: http://forums.furtopia.org/index.php/topic,40026.msg768889.html#msg768889

2nd Edit: When commissioning a fursuit maker, Please make sure you already have your initial down payment ready to send to the maker to start the commission. Do not contact the fursuit maker and try to begin a commission if you do not have any money to send them or if you tell them "Hey, I'd like to commission you right now, but I can't send any money till _____".  If you do that, Then they have the option of denying/dropping your commission or they will push you further back on the waiting list they have till you can come up with the down payment they require to start your fursuit commission. In short, Don't contact/commission them if you don't have any money ready/available to send. ;)

B) Reliability – Another thing to research is how reliable is the fursuit maker? Things you may want to consider are:

* How is the quality of their work? Is the quality of work consistant (same) on all the fursuit items the fursuit maker has done?
* What experience/skills does the fursuit maker have? Can they construct the fursuit you've designed with the skills/experience they have? If a fursuit maker does not have the necessary experience/skills in constructing a particular item, Then your design may be beyond their current talents. Don't commission or force a fursuit maker to make something that he/she may feel that they are not qualified to do. However, it's not uncommon to commission different fursuit makers to make different parts. If one fursuit maker doesn't have the skills to make something, Then maybe another fursuit maker does.
* Are there prices listed for various fursuit items on the website, and are the prices reasonable for the quality of work offered?
* Are they on schedule/time? Can they meet a deadline?
* Have they had any past troubles? Are they blacklisted?
* Do they have a website? Is there a gallery of their work? Is it updated frequently?
* Do they have a "Terms of Service" policies (Payment plans, Refund policy, Warranty, Shipping information, What they will & won't make, Measurement/DTD information, etc.)?
* Do they have updated contact info. such as Email, IM (Instant Messenger), Mailing address, etc.? Do they answer back on time/frequently?

If a fursuit maker is "all talk" and "no show", This may be an indication that a fursuit maker may not be all that they seem. But then again, it could also mean a new fursuit maker just getting started in the business and he/she may not have a lot of information ready yet. Do your research and check things out. ;)

C) Past Customers/Commissions – If need be, Try contacting some of the fursuit maker’s past clients to ask about the work that the fursuit maker does.
* How have past client’s fursuits been made?
* How did they like/not like them?
* How did they go through their commission process?
EDIT: For a review of fursuit makers and the past fursuits they've made for clients, You can read this Livejournal community here:
LINK: http://community.livejournal.com/fursuitreviews/profile


12-A. Copyrighted Stuff:

Or “What a maker will and won’t make”. As the old saying kinda goes: “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” However, that may or may not the case when it comes to fursuits and fursuiting.
Asking a fursuit maker to build a fursuit based on something from Disney, Pokemon, or any other tv, book, anime, film, etc. character or even copying another person's fursuit, could quite possibly not only get YOU in trouble, but the fursuit maker as well. While I wish I could fully explain all the legal and technical issues of Copyrights, I am not versed that well in legal/copyright issues. What I can offer though is a few links that will help offer more information as to what makers can and can’t make, and why copying something may not be such a good idea.
And even “IF” a fursuit maker were to make a character based off of Disney or some other anime cartoon, etc., Chances are, the fursuit maker may ask you to alter your design with different colors, markings, or other features to separate it from the “true” character. Probably the best advice I can offer here is: “Better to be safe than sorry.” and “Don’t do it.”
Sample links below for further information:
http://community.livejournal.com/fursuitlounge/363931.html?style=mine
 http://community.livejournal.com/fursuitauctions/532870.html


13. Measurements and DTD’s

Once you’ve done your research and have selected a fursuit maker, The next step would be to take body measurements of yourself to give to the maker in order for them to make the fursuit, or you can have some friends help you to make a duct tape dummy (DTD).
Taking measurements is one option, but sometimes, the measurements you take may not always be accurate or precise. For example, You might think that the circumference of your upper arm is 10 inches, But if another person were to help you and they took a measurement, Then they may come up with a different measurement of 10 1/2 inches. Some sample measurement charts are shown further below.

DTD’s (Duct Tape Dummies) are entirely different though. They are mostly used for when you want a better and more snug/form fitting suit. Most fursuit makers tend to use DTD’s and require them from their clients in order to get a better tailoring/fit of the fursuit. Sample link to a step-by-step DTD tutorial at Don't Hug Cacti :
LINK: https://www.donthugcacti.com/dtd.php

Sample pictures below showing the construction of a duct tape dummy. All pictures credited to Latinvixen at Mixedcandy.com. Click each picture below for a larger image.

   


Measurement chart below on the left credited to DarkDragonKaida on Deviantart. Measurement chart on the right credited to Silent Ravyn at www.foxwolf.ca

Click each picture for a larger image.





14. Commission Time!

Got your design finalized? Artwork done? DTD has been made? Got your money ready for the initial down payment? Good! Now you’re ready to contact the fursuit maker you’ve chosen to build your fursuit and commission them. Well.......almost. ;) Important: Before you even think about clicking that Email link they have on their website to contact the fursuit maker, you should FIRST check to see if the fursuit maker is OPEN or CLOSED for new commissions. Usually, this will be stated right on the front page of their website. If the maker is OPEN and accepting new commissions, then go ahead and send your email. If they are CLOSED, then they are already backlogged with orders they have to fill and cannot take any more commissions and/or answer emails at that time. Usually, a fursuit maker will list on their website front page a future date when they will be open again and can take new commissions, price quotes, and emails.

When emailing the fursuit maker, Please be sure to give them as much information as possible so they can build your fursuit to the specifications you’ve designed. Give them everything such as Measurements, Shipping the DTD and/or fur fabric to them, All artwork and sketches, and any other notes for other design issues. Communication is important! See SPark's post # 11 further down in this thread. Also be sure that the both of you have each other’s contact information such as Name, Address, Phone #, Email address, etc. so as to stay in contact with each other and communicate any problems or other stuff that may come up.
If you have any questions or concerns about the commission, etc., Then the time when you first contact the fursuit maker to begin the commission process would be a good time to ask about anything. If you feel there are changes to the fursuit you want made and the construction process is already ½ to ¾ done or more, Telling the maker about those changes when the suit is almost done is too late and he/she may or may not be able to accommodate such changes. Anything you want done has to be mentioned early as much as possible. Fursuit makers tend to be on a schedule and will have other clients to build fursuits for. It may be possible for fursuit makers to make last minute changes on short notice, but this will vary from maker to maker as well as how busy their schedule is, and also this may or may not drive up the cost of the fursuit. When contacting the fursuit maker through Email, IM (Instant Messenger), or written mail, Please be sure to keep all correspondence. DO NOT THROW AWAY OR DELETE ANYTHING! If something comes up and either you or the fursuit maker forgets a design issue or there is a payment problem, Then you can go back to that correspondence, find the item that was discussed, and notify each other on how the issue was discussed and/or what needs to be corrected. It makes for good maker/customer relations if the both of you are on the same page so to speak.
Another item to discuss would also be the deadline by which you need the fursuit completed and shipped. Make sure you are specific about when you need the fursuit done by but don’t give the fursuit maker an unrealistic goal of needing it in four weeks or less or something. Fursuit makers aren’t that quick. You may also want to consider giving the fursuit maker a backup date to get the suit done by in case he/she can’t make the original designated target date you asked for. This backup date would give him/her a little extra time for finishing touches or something else.


15. Waiting

After you’ve contacted the fursuit maker and sent in all your information as well as your initial down payment to begin construction and be put on a waiting list, Then the next thing that you can do is……..WAIT. That’s about all you can do. Building a fursuit is not a 1 night process. As the old saying goes: “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” It takes a long time to make a fursuit depending on the fursuit maker’s Skills, Experience, How detailed the suit is, and also how many other clients there are before you that he/she has to work on before they get to constructing your suit. Depending on the design of your suit and who you commission and so forth, It can take anywhere from 2 months to as much as a year and a half or more to make your fursuit. Just make sure that while you are waiting that you keep in contact with the fursuit maker about perhaps twice a month and also keep continuing to send payments so the fursuit maker doesn’t think you disappeared off the face of the earth. Also, don't pester or harass the fursuit maker either by contacting them day after day or week after week, etc. about the progress of your fursuit. If you do that, Then the fursuit maker may decide to stop construction of your fursuit, Cancel the commission altogether, or do something else at their discretion. As an option, You may choose to ask the fursuit maker for in-progress pics of the building of your fursuit so that you can see how it is being constructed and can add any opinions to the design that you have.


15-A. Lost contact with fursuit maker? Or: When fursuit makers go bad. :

It’s quite possible that at some point, You may lose contact with the fursuit maker or they lose contact with you. When this happens, the first thing to do is NOT PANIC!
When you go to contact the fursuit maker during the beginning stages of commissioning your fursuit, You’re going to want to get the fursuit maker’s contact information such as Name, Phone number, Email, IM (Instant Messenger) address, or anything else they have listed on their website so as to stay in contact with that person and communicate any further dealings. If either the customer or fursuit maker will be gone for extended periods of time or may have moved living locations, etc., Then it is the responsibility of both parties to notify each other WITH ADVANCE NOTICE on how long somebody will be gone, If they switched to new contact information, etc., etc.  If a fursuit maker is "on hiatus" (Vacation, Sickness, Job, Schooling, etc.) for any amount of time, Then hopefully, he/she should at least leave a message on their website notifying their customers when they'll be gone and for how long.
If you have not heard from the fursuit maker for a long period of weeks or months, or even years, Then that should be sounding alarms in your mind. Both the customer and the fursuit maker should at least stay in contact with each other about 2-3 times per month during the commission process.
If you have not heard from the fursuit maker during a very long time (Amount may vary), Then you may want to consider posting in the Artists Beware LJ community here:
LINK: http://community.livejournal.com/artists_beware/profile

HOWEVER……..only use the above community as a last resort if all other “diplomatic/communication options” have failed in trying to contact the maker/customer or when resolving other fursuit commission problems.

Another option would also be to contact friends or past clients to find out what may have happened to the fursuit maker and/or the customer.
Contact information that both the fursuit maker and customer should have:
*  Real name
*   Phone numbers
*   Email address
*   Instant Messenger address
*   Home address
*   Backup contact information such as secondary emails, phone numbers, etc.
How much contact information the fursuit maker and the customer chooses to disclose to each other is personal preference and optional.

At some point or another, you may have “gut instincts” about a fursuit maker. These “instincts” may tell you that he or she may not be what they seem. It could be things such as:
*   Fursuit maker is “all talk and no show” when it comes to making your fursuit, Not sending "in-progress" pictures, or does not have a lot of business information or pictures of their work on their website, or simply doesn't have a website at all.  :o
*   They may “take the money and run” and you will never hear from or see them again.
*   You get your fursuit, but it is shoddy craftsmanship.
*   They never finish the suit or fail to deliver it.
*   Or anything else which might set off alarms in your mind.
If you feel that something might be wrong with your fursuit commission, Then the best place to go is the Artists Beware LJ community which I have mentioned up above. ;)


16. Finished Suit

Once your fursuit is finished, The fursuit maker will contact you by Email, or Phone, etc. Sometimes, They may even provide you with “sneek peek” pictures of your finished fursuit to you so you can see what it looks like and can give final opinions before the fursuit is shipped out. Once you’ve finished paying for your fursuit, It will be sent on it’s way usually with either US Postal Service, FedEx, UPS, or another shipping carrier. After you receive your fursuit, You'll want to inspect the box that it came in and the contents inside for any damages. If there are any, You may want to report them IMMEDIATELY to the fursuit maker and/or postal carrier ASAP for insurance or other damage claim purposes (If applicable). If there are any damages to the fursuit and the fursuit maker has a repair or other guarantee listed on their website, You may choose to take advantage of this and inquire if the fursuit maker can make emergency repairs to the fursuit if you ship it back to them within a reasonable timeframe.
If the box and contents inside are all A-ok, Then go ahead and unpack everything and feel free to test fit the fursuit out. Test fit each and every piece to make sure the design and quality match to what you wanted. If anything is wrong for whatever reason, Then contact the fursuit maker to discuss the issue and negotiate a plan for alterations and shipping back of the fursuit. Otherwise, If everything test fits A-ok to what you wanted and you like the final design, Then congratulations! You’re the brand new owner of a fursuit. Enjoy your new purchase and have fun with it!  As a final note, Don’t forget to send an email with a Thank You note and/or a Testamonial thanking the fursuit maker for the hard work they've done and also how much you enjoy the fursuit. They spent a lot of time and effort on your fursuit and the Thanks you send them will put a big smile on their face knowing that they made another customer happy. :)


The End. (Almost) 

Well, that’s all I can think of to write for this tutorial. I’m sorry it had to be so long, but it was unavoidably necessary as there is so much information to present and discuss for such an important topic. Working on such a huge tutorial for something as simple as a fursuit may sound like overkill with all the information I presented, but you have to understand that a fursuit is not just a fake fur costume to wear, It's a MAJOR financial investment so to speak that you have spent countless money saving for and lots of hours thinking about and designing. People tend to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on fursuits. When you commission someone for a fursuit or even a part of a fursuit, You'll want to make sure that you get your money's worth.
Think of it this way: If you were investing money in some stocks in the Stock Market, You'd want to hopefully make sure you picked the right stocks to invest in and make sure you got a good return on those stocks, correct? The same can be said for commissioning a fursuit. ;) It is the responsibility of the customer to be a "savvy consumer shopper" so to speak and do their own research when commissioning a fursuit. What I've provided in this entire tutorial/thread is merely a "stepping stone" so to speak to help guide future customers on their way to getting their first fursuit.
As I’ve mentioned at the very beginning of this topic, Not all of my information presented here will be 100% accurate or precise. I do not claim to know everything about how fursuits are commissioned. My information here is gleamed mainly from how I commissioned for my own fursuit and also doing various research around the Internet. If there is anything else I missed that needs discussing or any other important information that should be added, Then anyone is welcome to add to this topic/tutorial.
 
Thank You.


EDIT: One other small piece of advice I'd like to throw in here that I've heard around the fandom:

Quote
Good, Cheap, or Fast
Pick any two...

If its Good and Cheap, it wont be Fast
If its Fast and Cheap, it wont be Good
If its Fast and Good it wont be Cheap

2nd EDIT: Don't forget to read the following extra advice further below in this thread. ;)
Quote
18. Post # 5 by Far Raptor about "originality".
19. Post # 9 by SPark about "communication".
20. Post # 11 - Future Updates and Edits. Check this section often.
21. Post # 12 - Fursuits and Children
22. Post # 13 - List of design elements of a fursuit.
« Last Edit: July 04, 2017, 09:54:52 am by Kobuk »
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Offline Baconstrip

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How to commission a fursuit.
« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2006, 11:10:11 pm »
Yay Kobuk... lol.. you spent so much time writing this up... THANK YOU!

And oh my god... making a duct tape dummy is even crazier than I thought.  NO THANKS!




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Offline SPark

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How to commission a fursuit.
« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2006, 11:39:10 pm »
As a maker, I'd like to chime in with a few points, from my point of view:

On character design - Most furs come to me with a character already created and designed. However, one of my favorite costumes ever was one where they guy said "I'm a grey, red and orange dragon, think smoke and fire."  That's all he knew.  I designed the entire character for him.  If you want your suit to look exactly like a character you already have in mind, then all those steps named are great steps, but if you're not attached to specific features, it's possible to go to a fursuit maker with just a general idea, and let them get creative.  (I know,  it's not going to come up much, most folks have their fursona already designed, but man... I LOVE doing design work when I have a free hand to be artistic, and I wish it happened more often.)

On fur - you mentioned it briefly, but I'd like to reiterate it.  Most fursuit makers will pick out and buy the fur for your suit.  Some may even already have it in stock and on hand before you order.  So don't think you need to, or should pick out your own fur if you don't really want to.

Everything else seems to be pretty comprehensive, I can't think of anything I'd add.  Wonderful advice!

Offline Kobuk

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How to commission a fursuit.
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2006, 05:21:58 pm »
Baconstrip: You're welcome! '<img'> *hugs*

SPark: I remember that dragon! That was an awesome suit you created. Absolutely brilliant!  ':shock:'   '<img'>  Thank You for the additional advice. '<img'> If you have anything else you'd like to add, feel free to do so. '<img'>
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Offline Besdeki

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How to commission a fursuit.
« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2006, 01:14:40 pm »
Thanks for all the info, i think i have an idea of what im going to do now.

HUGS '<img'>

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How to commission a fursuit.
« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2006, 10:36:43 pm »
Lots of good info in there.  That's pretty much the process I use in figuring out the things I need before commissioning a suit from someone.

Another thing people may want to consider before commissioning is that of originality.  It's *very* tough to make an original design when it seems everything has been done.  But going through picture data bases to see the sorts of things you like definately helps to give you an idea of what's been done before and what hasen't.  Choose wisely, and remember: the more unique your suit, the more people will remember and say: "Oh yes!  That's you, in the (whatever) suit!"

~FaR~


Thanks to Baconstrip for the awesome sig!

Offline lilfurbal

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Re: How to commission a fursuit.
« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2008, 07:53:08 pm »
How excellent.

Actually before I registered here or saw this I've already started the commission process with Lacy.  While I have no drawings, and actually am not really that picky in the first place, the design I'm going for is fairly easy to follow.  But actually what I'm trying to do is get a plushie Amur Leopard that I already have and get a fursuit made that matches.  Other than that I've actually only seen like basically no anthro leopards so have little to base it off of.  I have seen some (few) Leopard fursuits and I will go about saying the plush style I'm going for doesn't really match those other costumes at all. 

This guide has pointed things out though that is most helpful.  I've been really excited about all this, and also have a huge desire to make it to FWA 09.  Exciting, exciting indeed. 

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Re: How to commission a fursuit.
« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2008, 04:56:02 am »
To anyone who is interested in that book; I have it, and it is amazing. There is so much good information in there it will save you a lot of pain if you decide to build a suit.
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Offline Koryak

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Re: How to commission a fursuit.
« Reply #8 on: July 14, 2008, 02:08:34 pm »
Great guide Kobuk, Good info for the future  :)

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Offline SPark

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Re: How to commission a fursuit.
« Reply #9 on: November 19, 2008, 04:12:17 pm »
On Kobuk's excellent suggestion, I thought I'd add a bit here, from what I've said elsewhere on this forum. 

Communication is the single most important part of having a fursuit commission come off smoothly.  Especially if you have an exact image of your mind of what it needs to look like.  If you're not picky, so long as it's the right color and species, it's a little less critical, but even then being clear about things like deadlines and payment methods is still VERY important. (And please, be honest with your fursuit maker. I had one very ticked off customer, who had told me "Oh, whenever, though I have a convention on such a day, so by then would be nice." who didn't get it on that day and pitched a screaming fit at me over this. Well, if you don't mean "whenever" don't say it!  Be clear!  She meant "I really want it for this convention" and if she'd said so I would have bumped back something else and gotten hers done in time, or else I would have warned her ahead of time that it was going to be late, and maybe offered her some form of compensation, but I thought she didn't care.)

As a fursuit maker I can say that there is nothing more frustrating to deal with than a customer who knows exactly what he wants but can't clearly tell you what that is.  Especially when you discover this after you've made the suit!  Sending something out thinking that it's exactly what they wanted, only to hear back that it's all wrong, is really rough on both parties!  And a fursuit maker cannot peer into your brain and see what you want.  The fursuit maker knows only what you have told him or her. 

A good example of what happens when communication breaks down is an incident I had a few years back with a fellow who disliked velcro and wanted a back zipper.  I don't know why, he never told me. In fact he never told me anything about his dislike of velcro until after his suit, with a velcro closure on the front, had arrived.  This left us both in bad positions.  I have a full work schedule, and re-doing the body suit would take a lot of time and effort and make my other projects late, which would make my other customers unhappy too, but he of course wanted it how he wanted it, and there was no way to fix this problem that was fair to both of us.  So being clear early on about such details is vital!

HOWEVER!  Flooding your fursuit maker with a constant stream of things that you want is going to cause just as much frustration.  Having details spread out across dozens of e-mails makes it all too likely that a busy fursuit maker will forget something.  Clear communication is not just a matter of including everything, it's also a matter of including everything in an orderly and understandable fashion!

I highly recommend going through your future fursuit point by point and making sure you know what you want in each area.

For example, a head has:
eyes,
ears,
nose,
teeth,
tongue,
jaw,
eyebrows,
neck,
etc.

Make a list, for YOU, of everything on a fursuit.  Every little detail.  Then consider what you CARE about.  Do you care if the teeth are sculpey or plastic?  If you don't care so long as it looks good, then there's no need to even mention it.   But if you do care, then make a note of it.  When you've gone through the whole suit, from top to bottom, and know exactly what you want on each bit, then is the time to write up your e-mail to your fursuit maker and let them know exactly what you want.  (Though please, don't do this if you're just talking about a suit you might someday get, this kind of detail is for after you are certain you're getting the suit, maybe even after your down payment.  Wasting somebody's business time discussing a commission you might or might not get in this sort of detail is a good way to really annoy a fursuit maker, trust me.)

As I have said before, from a fursuit maker's perspective, the best thing is when the customer doesn't care about the details, so long as the end result looks good.  But I do know that some customers DO care, so if you're one of those picky people, you'll make yours and your fursuit maker's lives both much easier if you have one single, complete, organized list of all the details that you want just so.  That way they don't have to be frustrated by trying to read your mind, and you don't have to be frustrated by getting a suit that's not what you wanted.
« Last Edit: November 19, 2008, 04:16:15 pm by SPark »

Offline Kobuk

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Re: How to commission a fursuit.
« Reply #10 on: November 19, 2008, 05:05:43 pm »
Excellent advice, SPark. :) Thanks for adding it in.

As the old economic saying goes folks, "Nothing ruins a business/contract/partnership, etc. faster than bad customer relations and/or communications or bad business practices."

So please make sure you give the fursuit maker all the info. they need and that you are very clear on what you want. Commissions will work out better if the customer and maker are "on the same page" so to speak. ;)
« Last Edit: November 19, 2008, 05:20:17 pm by Kobuk »
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Offline Kobuk

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Re: How to commission a fursuit.
« Reply #11 on: April 18, 2009, 05:45:09 am »
FUTURE UPDATES AND EDITS:

6/6/2010  (Repairs/Alterations) -

If for any reason you need to return your fursuit to the fursuit maker, whether for repairs or some other alteration work, Then please make sure you give the fursuit maker as much information as possible about how you want things repaired or re-designed. Also, please pay attention to a fursuit maker's "Terms of Service" policies if they have them. Some fursuit makers may or may not be able to do repairs and alterations within a given timeframe. Also, they may choose not to repair/alter items if you used your fursuit in some sort of bad or neglectful way, or you did not care and properly disinfect/clean your fursuit.
Before shipping off your fursuit or fursuit parts for repairs, please take the time to make sure those parts are disinfected and/or cleaned. If you do not and you still send the costume to the fursuit maker, Then the fursuit maker may ship the items right back to you without doing any work on them. 


6/14/2010 - "Will your fursuit commission be accepted?"

At some point during the design phase of your fursuit or during the commission process, etc., You might be thinking to yourself the following question: Will my fursuit design/commission be accepted?
Just as there are numerous reasons why people join the furry fandom, So too is the varied reasons on if a fursuit is accepted for commission by the fursuit maker or not. If your design/commission is not accepted, It could be any of the following. This list can include, but is not limited to:

*  Some fursuit makers will only take designs/commissions that interest them. They may choose to do only certain styles, coloration patterns/markings, animal species, etc. of fursuits.
*  Some fursuit makers may or may not do "basic" styles and species of fursuits. After all, Wouldn't a "basic" brown fox get to be a bit boring and plain?
*  Some fursuit makers may be looking for unique designs that will expand and/or "test" their fursuit building capabilities. They may be looking for a unique head shape that they can make with new materials and construction techniques, etc., etc.
*  How will the costume look if the fursuit maker were to make it? Will it represent their style well?
*  Fursuit makers may choose not to accept a design/commission if you haven't provided all the necessary information for the design, Concept art and sketches, Duct tape dummy, The 30-50% down payment, and any other information or materials.

These are just a few sample reasons. There are many more that you will notice if you take the time to carefully read this entire thread/tutorial. ;)
And if for any reason your design/commission is not accepted, then don't fret. Just because a fursuit maker does not accept it does not mean they are being rude, mean spirited, or some other negative attribute. If your design is not accepted for any reason, Then try going "back to the drawing board" so to speak and tweek your design a bit by changing shapes, colors, markings, etc. so that the next time you submit your fursuit design to the fursuit maker, They'll look at it and say "Hey! That's a really great design. Let's discuss more about it." :)


« Last Edit: July 16, 2015, 07:13:44 pm by Kobuk »
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Offline Kobuk

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Re: How to commission a fursuit.
« Reply #12 on: August 18, 2012, 08:20:03 pm »
Fursuits and Children (Minors 18 years old and under.)

From time to time, I've read various posts here on Furtopia as well as elsewhere about minors (Under 18), especially those in the 13-16 age bracket, who wish they had fursuits. You see fursuits at furry conventions or in Internet picture galleries and you just fall in love with them because of the cuteness, fluffiness, etc. and you'd love to have one to represent your fursona. Well, I'm here to help give you a bit of advice about commissioning a fursuit for children. This advice isn't just meant for the child, but also the parent as well, since the parent has to be the one to handle contacting the fursuit maker, make the payments, etc.

Before a child goes and begs/wishes for a fursuit, There's a few "problems" both the child and the parent need to be aware of. ;)

1. Sizing - Children don't stay small for long. We all grow up. You have to take into consideration that a child will outgrow a fursuit or a fursuit part in a short matter of weeks, months, or years. The only way you could keep wearing a certain part that you've outgrown is if you had the fursuit maker construct the part a little bit larger than what you needed when you originally commissioned the fursuit item at the start of the commission process.

2. Commission - Sorry to have to say this, but children can not enter into a legally binding contract. And that's exactly what a fursuit commission is: A contract between the fursuit maker and the purchaser. A parent or other legal guardian must be the one to handle all communications as well as monetary $$$ transactions. It might be possible for a fursuit maker to work directly with a minor, but this will vary from maker to maker and what their "Terms of Service" policies are on their website. Most, but not necessarily all, fursuit makers will NOT make a fursuit or a fursuit part for children, not just because of sizing or monetary issues, but also because of possible City, State, or even Federal laws or other legal issues as well. Some fursuit makers might accept commissions from minors, but the fursuit maker wants to be sure that the commissioner is a responsible person who can handle monetary transactions, Be responsible about communicating with the fursuit maker, and follow all other commission advice listed throughout this tutorial. In short, It all comes down to maturity and responsibility. ;)

3. Heat/Health Issues - A full fursuit (Head, Hands, Feet, Tail, Bodysuit) would probably not be recommended for a child to commission and wear. Fursuits can get extremely hot.  :P It would be comparable to walking around on a hot summer day with layers of winter clothing on. If it's 85 degrees outside, Then it will get around 100 or more inside a full fursuit in a short time span.  :o Unless the minor is:
* Very physically fit.
* Can handle heat, stress, etc.
* Learns to take breaks and stay hydrated with water.
* And has adequate adult supervision such as a handler/spotter,
........Then wearing a full fursuit is not recommended. It is more preferable to start by wearing a partial fursuit (Head, Hands, Feet, and Tail) first as that does not require a bodysuit which would make the wearer hotter.

4. Care of a fursuit - A fursuit is not a toy. It's more like a wearable piece of art. It needs a lot of care to properly maintain it such as brushing the fur, Disinfecting it, Cleaning and washing, Storage, etc.  If you wear it in some sort of harsh environment or neglect your fursuit in some other manner, Then seams will pop, Claws will break, Fake fur will fall off or apart, etc.  A fursuit is not meant for a lot of extreme romping around in or abuse. It needs a lot of care. :)

5. Prices - Fursuits are very expensive. They can cost anywhere from hundreds of dollars to as much as thousands of dollars depending on who you commission from, the design of the suit, as well as various other factors. Even fursuit parts such as a tail or handpaws, etc. can be anywhere from $50 to as much as $200 or more.



What I have listed above is only a few sample problems a child or parent will need to consider when commissioning a fursuit for a child. There are likely many more problems to consider. But the best advice I can give is that if the child truly does want a fursuit, but is not able to commission one for whatever reason, Then your only option is to learn how to make your own. ;) Below is a sample link to fursuit making tutorials:  
LINK: http://www.matrices.net/fursuiting.asp

Sample links to further information regarding fursuits and children:
LINK: http://fursuit.livejournal.com/4353574.html
LINK: http://forums.furtopia.org/index.php?topic=40652.0
LINK: http://fursuitlounge.livejournal.com/763712.html
« Last Edit: December 10, 2013, 07:23:12 pm by Kobuk »
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Offline Kobuk

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Re: How to commission a fursuit.
« Reply #13 on: August 19, 2012, 02:28:46 pm »
Design Elements of a Fursuit

Adding to what SPark posted further above in her Post # 11 (as well as what Far Raptor mentioned in Post # 5), It makes sense to think about every little detail you may or may not want on a fursuit, Whether you get a fursuit commissioned or whether you make your own suit. You need to decide the following:
* Colors and markings of items
* Sizes of various items you want.
* How much quantity of an item you want to have on a fursuit.
* How you want the item constructed.
* What materials you want used to construct the item.
.........etc., etc.

Make a list and decide what is or is not important to you. ;)
Below is a sample list that can include, but is not limited to:

HEAD -
Hair
Whiskers
Eyebrows
Tongue
Shape/Style of jaw.
Teeth
Taxidermy jawset
Neck
Toony style eyes - Plastic bowl type, or 3D "Follow me" style, or something else?
Taxidermy realistic style glass eyes
LED/Glow in the dark light up eyes
Ears
Beaks
Nose
Scales
Airbrushed markings
Horns
Antlers

HANDPAWS -
Claws or talons?
Pawpads
How many fingers?
Species of hands such as hooved, feline, canine, etc.
Length of handpaws: Wrist length, Elbow length, etc.

FOOTPAWS -
Claws
Parade soles or pawpads?
How many toes?
Species/Style of feet: Hooved, Bird, Canine, etc.

TAILS -
Attached to bodysuit or not?
Foam core, or use of polyfil, or delrin rod, or other armature to give shape?
Do you want an articulated/moveable tail?
Species/Style of tail:  Rabbit, Feline, Canine, Dragon, etc.

Special Note About Tails: Here's another idea that I've heard about from various sources that people may wish to take advantage of when getting tails commissioned or constructed. For anyone that is currently in the process of either:
* Commissioning a fursuit.
* Commissioning a separate tail piece.
* Building their own tail. or
* Re-constructing an old tail.
.........You may wish to think about adding a zipper along the underside length of the tail. This would allow you to remove any padding, foam, animatronics (for a movable tail), etc. as needed for when you clean/wash/repair your tail, and then you can put everything back in when the tail is dry, Or for when you need to do maintenance on your tail and add more stuffing or fix the animatronics or other armature inside the tail.

BODYSUITS -
Length of arms/legs
Any special markings and colors?
Density, softness, fur pile length, etc. of fur fabric?
Do you want airbrushed markings and colors?
Loose fitting suit or form fitting suit?
Digitigrade or plantigrade style legs?
Suit entry: Buttons, velcro, snaps, or zipper? Front entry or back entry?

OTHER ITEMS -
Wings - Small or large? Removable or not? Articulated or not?
Animatronics and electronics: What do you want and where?
Padding/Muscles: How much and where?
Fur - Colors, Softness, pile length, etc.

CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS
Faux fur
Fleece
Foam
Polyfil batting
Styrofoam
Wood
Wire mesh
Plastic mesh
Metal rods, tubes, sheets, or other shapes.
Plastic rods, tubes, sheets, or other shapes.
Canvas
Rubber/Vinyl/Latex
Plaster
Resin
Clays
........etc., etc.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2012, 05:22:29 pm by Kobuk »
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Offline Kobuk

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Re: How to Commission a Fursuit, Version 2.0
« Reply #14 on: January 11, 2013, 09:16:07 am »
.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2015, 05:09:28 pm by Kobuk »
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