This formula for drawing comic rabbits paid.
Till in the end he could not change the tragic habits
This formula for drawing comic rabbits made."
A lot of cartoons, anime, and Webcomics have anthropomorphic animal characters. Many self styled internet experts perfectly explain this tendency by claiming, "The artists are themselves furries, and this is why the characters are all literal Furries." While this is certainly true in some cases, more than 90% of the time, it's not.
The fact is, Most Artists Are Humans, but unfortunately humans are fairly hard to draw. This has a lot to do with the principles behind the Uncanny Valley theory. We know what people look like. We see them every day. We have entire neural structures in our brains dedicated completely to picking up the incredibly subtle differences between human faces. If an artist's human characters don't look just so, those characters won't be appealing.
Oddly enough, there doesn't seem to be much of an Uncanny Valley equivalent for animals aside from photorealistically rendered CGI animated animals and real animals in live action films that talk or make humanlike facial expressions. There is almost no equivalent of Uncanny Valley for any extremely stylized animals, monsters, alien characters, or giant robots. After all, there aren't any Beast Folk running around in the real world. This means that there isn't any right or wrong way to draw cartoon animals, so it's impossible to be close but not quite there.
Also, while artists who limit themselves to humans are very likely to use a limited variety of facial designs, Furries and animals have several additional traits to help tell each other apart, from fur color to ears, tails, paws — not to mention species. As a result, an artist can easily make a Cast of Snowflakes just by randomizing each character.
Further, while human body language can be on the subtle side (especially if you have trouble drawing people to begin with), animals have lots of features that are easy to use in this regard; tails, ears, whiskers... they all can convey meaning very directly. And since, as above, we are more familiar with human emotions by default, if you make a misstep with animals it isn't as noticeable.
In some cases, but not all, this may be due to a Lazy Artist. In particular, most webcomic artists are amateurs. Some of them just can't draw that well, so they borrow from the more professional Furry Comics as a shortcut. The audience tends to notice the difference in quality. Most art school students run a long, long gauntlet of figure drawing courses. An appealing human face is indeed one of the hardest damn things in the world to draw — however, the rest of said human isn't any harder or easier to draw than any other animal. Many artists go on to create animal characters anyway — but there is a noticeably greater attention to detail from someone who's trained on drawing humans. Furthermore, once you start drawing animals, you understand why you drew so many human figures. We're about as close to a "Do Anything Tetrapod" as you can get.
A lot of early 3D artwork and video games made use of this as well. It's awfully hard to make a convincing human out of a handful of triangles, but maybe, just maybe, that puddle of polygons is a bandicoot or something. This is also a common reason why certain works that make it clear humans exist within their fictional universe choose to not portray them at all.
A major cause of Furry Confusion, if not handled well.
- Wolf's Rain is one of the few works that turns this trope on its ear. The animators had far more experience animating appealing human characters; their animal characters tend to look a little off. So there are whole episodes in the series where the animal characters spend all their time in human form (It Makes Sense in Context) when there is no particular reason to do so.
- Yoshihiro Takahashi's works tend to invert this. Especially the anime adaptation of Ginga Densetsu Weed - the dogs can look so strange as to be cringe-worthy. Ginga: Nagareboshi Gin suffers from this as well, but not nearly as badly. Humans in these series, on the other hand, tend to be rather well-drawn.
- Usagi Yojimbo: Stan is perfectly capable of drawing recognizable and distinct humans — but his "furry" characters allow new readers to grasp the essentials of his regular cast very quickly and easily. The character Katsuichi is powerful, insightful and reserved, so he's a lion. Kitsune is fun-loving and cunning but essentially amoral, so she's a fox. Gen is fearless, powerful and easily angered, so he's a rhinoceros... and so on.
- Omaha the Cat Dancer is pornographic — its characters all have animal heads and tails, but the rest of them is quite human. Quite.
- Maus: Drawing all the characters as mice or other animals is the only significant acceptable break from reality that this explicitly biographical comic tolerates. Cats vs. mice also makes for a convenient visual metaphor, though one that would turn the story into a Broken Aesop if taken too seriously. The book has a fair few fourth wall breaks where creator Art Spiegelman addresses readers directly and discusses some of the metaphor's limitations. When Spiegelman is at his most medium-aware - the scenes where he visits his psychiatrist - he draws the animal faces as explicit masks worn by humans. There's also an ambiguous scene regarding a concentration camp inmate who claims to be a non-Jewish German; Spiegelman initially draws him as a mouse but then redraws him as a cat when asking his father's opinion on the truth of the inmate's story.
- Inverted in the Pokémon webcomic Team Rocket Roots. The humans are drawn rather on-model, but the Pokémon are another thing. They're more noticeably off-model.
- This is almost certainly why Pluggers uses furries, since the strip is about Midwestern senior citizens.
- This was the reason stated why German comic artist Peter Puck drew his character Rudi as this. Dog snouts are easier than human noses, apparently.
- Played straight by Lewis Trondheim besides being a huge Carl Barks fan.
- Bloody Roar averts this trope, even with resident Cat Girl, Uriko. The Zoantropes look pretty realistic with human like proportions, but animal enough to look like furries. Without mentioning that they look like realistic furries, so for most of the time, no, they're not cute furries, quite the opposite.
- Lugaru and Overgrowth by Wolfire Games are Low Fantasy fighting games that take place an island that is populated entirely by Beast Men. There are three official reasons for that:
3. This trope.
- Inverted with FusionFall. The official reason why animal characters, like Lazlo from Camp Lazlo, weren't in the game is because the artists couldn't figure out how to make them animesque well.
- Tracy J. Butler, the author of Lackadaisy, says that she doesn't identify with the Furry Fandom but uses cats because she finds them more expressive.
"When dealing in sociopathic criminalism and gratuitous violence, how could it not be cats?"
- Coach Random had some characters drawn as dogs because the artist was under a deadline. In one strip, he has humans and a dog side-by-side, showing the difference in how the artist drew them. His humans are quite detailed. The dog, not so much.
- After seeing both humans and Furries as drawn by David Hopkins, the artist for the Furry Webcomic Jack, it doesn't take much effort to figure out why he very rarely draws humans.
- VG Cats — though the artist had no idea what Furries were when he started.
- Though the strip uses human characters at least as often as the cats, depending on what game is being mocked at the time.
- Doc Nickel (artist for The Whiteboard) has explicitly stated that he used anthropomorphic animal characters because he couldn't draw humans for crap. According to several of his posts on the forums in August 2011, though, he was working on overcoming the problem with drawing humans, with more human characters being given actual details instead of undefined "floating bubbleheads", and the results were impressive. But a few months later he decided to drop humans altogether. He did use generic human faces to replace "the no-necks" when he retroactively coloured strips for winter and spring of 2012, but after that all one-shot characters have been anthropomorphic animals. Also of note is converting Larry and Daryl — the no-necks who gained some depth over time — to squirrels.
- The creator of the web comic Harkovast originally struggled to draw animals, but after a few months of drawing nothing but animal people found human infinitely more difficult. Fortunately, the comic features no human characters!
- Vince Suzukawa gives a detailed explanation of why the cast of The Class Menagerie were all furry. The main point was that animal faces can be more expressive (ears can move, fur can bristle etc). Also, it creates a comfortable divide from the real world, and problems of racial balance or resemblance to persons living or dead. He also demonstrates that he can draw humans and make his characters work in human form. Not to say it's is fun to violate Animal Stereotypes. Like when a mouse bullies a bull.
- The artist of Keychain of Creation has stated that he gradually made Marena's fox ears and tail more prominent because they make her more expressive. It's hard to show complex expressions on a stick figure.
- The artist of The Dragon Doctors attempts to avert his instances of Only Six Faces by throwing in a few "beastmen" to diversify the cast. We've seen a cat-man SWAT officer, an insect-looking lawyer (talking to a buffalo-looking lawyer!).
- Though the creator of Cheap Thrills can (and does) draw humans very well, she claims this as one of the reasons she draws in an anthro style: "When I started the comic, I couldn't draw human faces for shit. I could draw animal faces, though, so I went with it...If I were to start over, I'd probably do the comic with human characters instead, or possibly tinker with the comic's universe a little bit so that the usage of animal people made more sense."
- Most of the characters in Stubble Trouble are furries for this reason, though some humans do appear as well.
- Webcomic Rank Amateur has only one human in the main cast, which the author has so far drawn only a few times. The cast also features two furries - Felix, a cat and Guardian, a bird - though the majority of the main characters are humanoid aliens.
- Those aliens have snouts rather than human-like flat faces, so they fit the trope too.
- T.J. Baldwin admits that Karate Bears are easier to draw than people. Look at the crowd scenes.
- Ilya Savchenko claims he even can't draw animals other than toucans. His works include parodies of House M.D., The Matrix, and Lord of the Rings. With all characters as toucans. (No translations, unfortunately.)
- The art of Ruby Quest is half this and half Shout-Out to Animal Crossing. This series also clearly displays an interesting side effect of this trope: furries are easier to tell apart. Ruby Quest is done in a very simplistic style. The different animal features make it possible to identify who's who.
- Pretty much the reason why many, many cartoon characters were Funny Animals during The Golden Age of Animation when the medium was just getting started. Artists at that time knew how to draw people, sure, but animating them was a whole other story. Cartoons at the time all shared a very similar art style due to Follow the Leader and the fact that details were harder and more expensive to work in, so many characters tended to look exactly the same... what helped separate them from the masses were those one or two characteristics (ears, tails, etc.) indicating that X Character was supposed to be a Y Animal.
- As Walt Disney sought to drastically improve animation quality and standards in his cartoons throughout the 1930s and early 1940s, this trope became apparent in full force. Far and away the best and most revered Disney animation of the period tends to be either animal characters such as Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, The Three Little Pigs, Jiminy Cricket, Dumbo and Bambi or stylized caricatures of humans such as the Seven Dwarfs.
- Not to mention, most Disney films from the 1930s to the 1950s used rotoscoping for the human characters, which may have had something to do with this trope.
- Because they found humans to be extremely hard to draw and animate with the technological limitations of the time (particularly No Flow in CGI), most of Pixar's earlier films primarily had either toys, insects, monsters, or fish as main characters. It wasn't until 2004's The Incredibles that humans became a large part of the characters in their movies (though not always).
- Warner Bros.' Looney Tunes, back in the day, had a lot more animal characters than humans. There were really only three recurring humans at the time: Elmer Fudd, Yosemite Sam and Granny.
- When the Day Breaks: The animators went with barnyard animals after starting with humans but being unable to get a satisfactory look for the woman (the character that eventually became the pig).
- A notable aversion is the work of UPA (United Productions of America). The founders of the studio wanted to avoid certain clichés of theatrical animation at the time, particularly talking animal characters, and so concentrated on creating human characters like Mr. Magoo and Gerald McBoing-Boing. Their stylized approach to design and movement helped somewhat to avoid the Uncanny Valley by making the humans highly caricatured.
- In some sense, this trope is Truth in Television. Furries aren't necessarily easier to draw, but it's easier to get away with flaws when drawing furries. The human brain has very specialized centers for interpreting human faces, but there is no equivalent for animals, which end up getting processed with generalized optical centers. As a result, minor flaws in human faces will be picked up on (it could be interpreted as nonhuman), whereas bigger flaws in animal faces will go completely unnoticed (some will assume it is a part of the creature and/or animal faces cannot really be too exaggerated).
- Another reason that occasionally pops up is that, except in specific cases, drawing furries bypasses most matters regarding character race. Can't decide if someone is black or white? Answer: make them a cat.
- A section of the Barefoot Cartoon Animal page speculates that one reason the trope is so prevalent is that paws are easier to draw than shoes (and many people don't notice shoes anyway).
- Generally subverted in regards to making 3-D MMD (Miku Miku Dance) models of this type. Non-human models are more difficult and complex to make from scratch, let alone animate. A certain skill level and the right software are required to pull it off, so human models are more common.