The Zoion Project

I originally had the idea to do an anthropomorphic art magazine back in 2013. Using some friends’ art, I put together a few example spreads and cover designs. I did it more as practice and just to get a feel for what the format could look like in print, rather than as something that I thought could seriously be done.

Like all ambitious projects, it took a back seat when I had the rest of my life to live. I had a full time job for several years, than later left my “real” job to do furry art full time. I’ve been really fortunate at how well that has worked out. But always in the back of my mind I kept going back to this magazine idea.

The furry fandom has gone through some quite significant changes in the past five years. Some are reflections of broader cultural shifts; some are more specific to the fandom. In particular, the fandom has been growing rapidly and has also been getting more mainstream attention. The tone of that attention has shifted as well, from the CSI days of furry being known exclusively as this weird fetishy thing, to more journalists, charities, and internet denizens standing up to defend furries when they come up in threads or news.

I’ve started to notice that even the term “furry” is now taken to be understood by default. News articles used to spend a paragraph explaining what furries were any time they were featured. Later it would be just a sentence or two. More recently, I’ve seen articles posted that don’t explain the term at all. This is an interesting development. Furries are no longer so weird that they need explanation. As a subculture, it’s still quite niche, certainly. But furries are increasingly well known even to the general population.

Meanwhile within the furry fandom, there is the confluence of several factors: furries as a group are growing older, earning more, and developing more professionally. And they’re doing this while still staying involved with the fandom. In the past it was always a joke that as furries turned 30, they’d disappear. In a smaller group, those absences are even more noticeable. While that still probably happens to some extent, the growth of the fandom has made those absences less noticeable—and certainly less than the influx of new people. Older furries are sticking around. Even cooler: as the fandom’s notoriety grows, people are getting involved at an older age, too. I personally believe we’re on the edge of a snowball effect where the growth of the fandom attracts even more new members, which in turn normalizes the subculture further, which attracts more people, and so on. It’s not just going to keep growing; every year is going to grow more than the last.

These factors together have led to what I believe is an increasing desire for legitimacy within the furry fandom. It means more professionalism in the way cons are run, policing our own subculture from the damaging effects of hatred and intolerance, and standing up to and calling out media sensationalization. It also means there’s interest in a platform for showcasing clean, professional furry art.

I believe this desire for legitimacy in the furry fandom means it’s right time to launch that idea for an anthro art magazine I had five years ago. It took another six months working weekends—research into the magazine industry, planning, developing a brand and visual design—until I had a well-thought out proposal to present to the furry community. I’ve finally reached that point, and on Friday March 30, I’ll be launching the Kickstarter.

I’m very excited for the project! Over the next few days I’ll be posting more articles about my thought process behind it, what I hope to include and where it might go in the future. If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, please consider supporting us on Kickstarter, or spreading the word to your friends.

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