"What's a liger? you ask.
Simple to answer, really. Ever try
to breed a lion with a tigress? No? Well, a liger is what you'd get, anyways.
They're a truly HUGE cat, often weighing well in excess of 1000 lbs. The
largest that I have heard about tips the scales at approximately 1600 lbs.
Ligers are, without a doubt, the largest felines to walk the planet at
present. Since they are a crossbred creature most often bred in captivity,
they're not recognized as an official species, so the status as being the
largest of all cats is basically held as an 'unofficial' title.
"Why a liger?" you query.
This is also simple to answer, but
is more a judgemental call. For the longest time, I've had a love for lions
and tigers, so it only seems natural to want to blend the two into one
creature. The sum of the two beasts is incredibly beautiful, I find. Benjamin's
mane looks gorgeous juxtaposed upon a tawny, golden-brown striped coat.
"What is it with you and these cats?" you inquire.
I can simply relate so strongly to the supreme nature of the feline. Prrrr...
Cats, I find, are incredibly gorgeous
creatures. Particularly the great ones. Such immense power and grace, all
rolled up into one convenient package. I also feel that I manage to convey
many of the felines' more cerebral patterns. I have a strong will and will
most often carry through with that which is of my choosing. Some even tell
me I have a rather biting wit. Regardless, I feel that the cat's been a
very positive influence in my life.
The first great feline I fell in love
with was the Siberian tiger, the creature that has the official title of
being the biggest of all cats. That love slowly evolved into an adoration
of the lion, which, by the way, grew in tandem with the growth of my own
mane real life-wise. Then, in late 1997, after a resurgence of interest
in tigers, came the idea that the liger would best suit me. My concept
of my personal fur as a liger is still dominated by the features of the
lion, which certainly shows in my furry self portraits.
You ask, "What do you know about cats?"
Seeing as I do whatever research I
can, I can say that I know a pretty good deal.
I fancy myself to be an 'armchair zoologist'
of sorts. Being of minimal income, I can't afford to do much more than
the reading and photo gawking that I do, accompanied by the occasional
trip to the Metropolitan Toronto Zoo, Killman Zoo, and Jungle Cats World.
They are all wonderful facilities. On my shelf, I've got a growing collection
of wildlife books,
particularly the studies of lions, tigers and big cats in general. My library
does include other species, but the large felines dominate the collection.
I collect these books for two reasons. Firstly, to learn more about these
beautiful creatures through the research of the zoologists in the field,
and secondly, to build a library of visual references to use for my artwork.
All that information and photography comes in quite handy.
"When did you start being a 'furry'?" you ask.
That's a question that a lot of furries
get asked. Basically, I'll give you one of the most often stated responses,
because - hey - it's true.
I've had an interest in anthropomorphic animals for as long as I can remember.
Lots of children's literature features
anthropomorphised animals, most often in the form of some sort of toony
character. Richard Scarry's work is one in particular that comes to mind,
especially since I recall gazing at his works for hours on end, letting
my mind wander through the worlds that he had created for these anthro
creatures. In some cases, I'd even imagine what particular characters'
lives would be like beyond the story line or placement they have in the
book. Mr. Muggs readers were common in early grade school, and of course
I was also subjected to fairy tales which often portrayed animals leading
lives similar to those of humans.
Through my teens, the interest was
perpetuated in my discovery of book style role playing games. Teenage
Mutant Ninja Turtles & Other Strangeness was perhaps the first
game of that genre that I took at all seriously. I can still vaguely remember
my first character for it. A cougar named Rocky. In similar systems, it
got to a point where I just couldn't feel comfortable playing a silly human.
The desire to play an anthropomorphised animal was oddly quite strong.
That feeling persists even to this day.
Either I've never managed to grow up,
or my imagination continues to thrive within me. It's probably a mix of
You ask, "How did you get into the furry fandom?"
I didn't really find the actual furry
fandom until the waning of the year 1994. Prior to Christmas that year,
a friend of mine had lent me a listing of BBS numbers that he had torn
out of a locally distributed computer newspaper. On that listing, I saw
a particular entry that was described with the term 'furry' in it. I recall
finding it rather odd that it was called 'The Trap Line,' though. At that
time, I knew nothing of the fandom, but figured it was worth a try, seeing
as it must have had something to do with animals... and hell, it was free,
too! From there, the interest in furry only grew more and more, despite
some rather awkward moments.
"What was it like when you first began MUCKing?" you ask.
Heheh. I've got two words for you: raw telnet.
The only connection that I had to the
net at the time was through the UNIX based dial-up server at the university
I was attending at the time.
If you know what it's like MUCKing
with raw telnet, then you can likely sympathise with my feelings. It was
rough... to say the least.
I acquired my first character on Wednesday,
February 22nd, 1995. FurryMUCK, of course.
I still have the character account,
but it has gone through many changes of name and full concept. He began
as King_Simba, but that was a great disappointment. It was difficult to
do much on the connection I had, because of numerous reasons. Raw telnet,
a lack of knowing anybody on the MUCK, and the omnipresent FurryMUCK lag.
All three of those compounded into massive amounts of frustration on my
part and others', and didn't end until I got a PPP connection through a
different provider and discovered the magic of GMud. Whew.
I feel that I was a pretty terrible
newbie, feeling downtrodden and harassed from all angles, but now, I've
learned so much and seem to be so well loved that I'm now a wizard on a
couple of the MUCKs that I'm on and a trusted fur in the community.
By the way, that account that my original
mucking character was made on is now carrying my own persona on FurryMUCK.
From King_Simba to Benjamin.
"Why do you do furry artwork?" you inquire.
I do it because I like it. It's as simple as that.
I get a big kick out of accomplishing
something on my own, and completing my own original artwork is the best
way to do that. The whole process of creating a new work, as tedious as
it can be, is rather enjoyable, since it usually pays off quite nicely
in the end, once it is complete.
"Why do you... draw the way you draw?" you ask.
I try to draw the characters the way
I envision them. My views of furry anatomy are rather classical in the
way that they tend to follow the rules of realism. In my opinion, the creation
of a visually realistic character makes them all the more tangible and
believable, as opposed to drawing in an abstract, 'cartoony' way. I have
a very strong, very vivid idea of what my characters look like, so I attempt
to portray that on paper with each work that I do. It breathes life into
them and gives them a greater sense of validity.
As for my style, or more appropriately,
my choice of medium, it's become a matter of a few influences. First of
all, my favorite comic ever to hit the newspapers has to be Calvin &
Hobbes. For that medium, Bill Watterson, in my opinion, is a genius. He
stood up for what he believed in, and didn't let the almighty dollar usurp
his rights over his characters. Aesthetically, I very much enjoyed his
work as well. Evidently, he used a brush with ink in his rendering of Calvin,
Hobbes, and the various other characters. It brought a certain quality
to his work that breathed life into the two dimensional creations that
was difficult to find from the other artists in those same pages. Brushwork
innately creates a sense of fluidity, spontaneity, and liveliness that
is both fun to plot out and fun to view. Very few media allow for such
an expressive change of line weight and implicit texture. I just had to
do it, and once it was demonstrated to me in Drawing 1 at the university,
I could never look back.
Another reason is... "Because I can." ;X)
You ask, "Why all the self portraits?"
As I had said above, I have a very
strong and vivid idea of what my characters look like. I find it most intriguing
to put those ideas to paper so I can share them with the rest of the world.
Additionally, I feel it's much less like a situation of mere illustration
and more a work of art when one attempts to convey a self perceived image
of one's own identity.
What better face and body to draw than that of such a handsome, loveable liger? Hmmm?? Hmmmmm???
<big fangy grin>
"Is StripeyManey a nickname for yourself?" you inquire.
Some furs call me StripeyManey on occasion, but it's actually not a nickname that applies to me personally.
It's simply a cute name that I've given to my gallery, like how one would name a building of importance such as a mansion or gallery.
It's simply that. Nothing more. :X)
You finally query, "And how might I contact you?"
I'm fairly open to chatting with new friends! If you wish to find me through the Internet, you can instant message me via...
AIM: Sudberian Liger