Dear Papa Bear,
First and foremost, I would like to apologize for the length of this letter. I've tried to write as concisely as possible, but there are so many details and I feel none can really be left out for the sake of telling the whole situation.
A little over a month ago, I was kicked/moved out of my father's house. A childhood friend of mine and her family agreed to take me in so long as I paid my own way and helped out around the house, no rent required.
The biggest issue, however, is that I work part-time in a grocery store near where I used to live; it's an hour away. I have a lot more expenses now that I did not have while living with my dad and the amount of gas I spend to keep this job is killer. Considering that I've only had it for a few months, the experience and income I do get is more than worth it.
In order to help me save some money and work towards being more self-sufficient, I opened up art commissions. My mate wholeheartedly encouraged the endeavor, save for "adult."
I personally have no moral objection, or any, for that matter, against it other than I'd rather be drawing fairies or something. While at my father's, I didn't need the money quite so badly, so in order to keep the peace, I opted not to do so at the time.
However, now that I'm scrounging for every penny I can find, I've decided that I can't turn down commissions for any reason any more. I even have a 10% upcharge to somewhat deter people from asking.
But, lo and behold, it's the furry fandom we're talking about.
My mate was rather upset with my decision, stating that up until now only one has been adult and "is it really necessary."
The money doesn't make it any better for him, despite the fact that upon seeing the "adult" option, the commissioner wanted two pieces instead of one, netting me more than double of what I was originally getting.
And this hatred of adult art stems from his religious beliefs. And while he's more than welcome to believe what he wants, I don't think he has the right to ask me to change mine.
Though he's not purposefully doing this, for a while I've felt like he's held the religion thing over my head. "We're not going to ever be doing any more than some casual dating unless you believe what I do," sort of thing.
And it's getting to the point where I can't really handle it much longer. All I'm asking for him is to accept our differences, where he claims that there's no compromise for him in that area.
I've gone more than far out of my way in order to learn, respect, and get to know his beliefs, and I don't feel like I'm getting that in return. At this point, I don't know what to do.
I want to take this commission. I want the money and I want to challenge myself. I want him to accept me for who I am and what I believe, regardless of if it collides or not.
And more than anything, I want to be able to compromise these issues together. It's just that I'm having trouble as he sees these things very much in "black and white."
The worst part is that this is the only strain on our relationship. Otherwise, it's sunshine and butterflies.
Any sort of words or advice you have would be amazing. Thank you so much for your time and for reading my story.
* * *
First, my condolences on being booted out of your father’s house. You don’t talk about why that happened, but it always makes this bear sad when family members are unsupportive. Secondly, it is a grand thing that you found friends who care more about you than your father and have taken you in.
Since you are not paying rent, I’m not sure how your expenses are higher, except, it seems in the case of gas and probably car maintenance. Gas prices keep going up, which is painful. The logical solution would be to find a job much closer to where you live now, and if you work for some kind of chain store perhaps there might be a chance for some kind of transfer? You could also save money by trying to find a carpool, or taking public transportation, if available.
While you try to lower your expenses, let’s look again at the problem of making more money. I have a dear friend, Dan the Bear, who is the creator of all the original art on my site. He’s run into the same thing as you have in which he finds that he makes a lot more money drawing adult stuff than G and PG stuff. I’ve been talking to him as I write this letter and he offered a few suggestions:
1) You can draw fursuit reference sheets. These are G rated and very popular among furries.
2) Same with con badges. Also very popular money-makers you don’t have to draw naughty bits on.
3) He also suggested doing streaming. You can stream through channels like Ustream, announcing you’re streaming to the various social boards and such in the fandom. Dan says he often gets fresh requests from furries who watch him draw online and that gets him new commissions. He notes, though, that you need a good video camera for this to work well.
4) (My idea this time) See if you can hook up with an author and do a comic book or graphic novel collaboration. Yours truly would love to find an artist for an idea I had for a furry graphic novel, but the only problem is that I would not be able to pay until it sold. So, it is not an immediate solution.
If you haven’t tried any of the above, they are worth a shot. Oh! and you might also try connecting with otherkin—as an alternative/complement to furries—who would probably really like your fairy drawings, I am guessing.
Okay, so say all that still doesn’t work for you: you can’t reduce your expenses and you have no luck on the G-rated strategies, so you need to sell some adult stuff. Now, to this bear’s mind, there are two types of adult artwork: tasteful and OMG. Tasteful would be like the stuff you see in museums: the statue of David by Michelangelo, or The Birth of Venus by Boticelli, etc. Yeah, they are nude but it isn’t shocking. Then there is OMG when you have raunch and fluids flying around and it gets very crazy.
Have you tried selling tasteful nude furry art? Artists like Blotch have been very successful at it, and maybe it would not offend your boyfriend’s sensibilities. Religious art has a lot of nudity in it, too, after all, especially all those cute cherub tuckuses, LOL.
On to your boyfriend: you say that everything is peaches and cream between you, except for this one issue, though I sort of perceive a second issue sneaking in there, being your religions. Do you not share the same religion? Or is he just much more conservative about it than you are? You say that he is, in essence, asking you to change your religion, but it doesn’t sound like he is asking you to change your beliefs so much as just to not draw porn.
Papabear has no objection to adult art, but your boyfriend clearly does. If he is in all other aspects a giving, loving person, then you might want to consider that relationships involve some compromise at times. If this is the only thing that really disturbs him, then I would say give him this one concession. Sometimes you have to give up something in a relationship to make it work. This is okay as long as one is not making all the concessions while one’s mate doesn’t do any giving. If you each give a little, that is what a relationship is about.
Papabear does bristle a bit, though, when your boyfriend threatened to back off of the relationship unless you “believe as I do.” That was a bit offensive and unjust, and he should respect your religious beliefs as you do his. You shouldn’t have to believe exactly the same things, and if your religion is that different from his, then it might not work out. However, if it is just a matter of adult versus G art, that is something you two can work through.
You say yourself that you prefer drawing fairies. What about drawing fairies and, say, angels? What about designing holiday and other greeting cards? You could even start a business doing such things. If you are a gifted artist, there are many many ways to express yourself both in the furry community and in the mainstream.
Talk to your boyfriend and see if he can help you. Say you really want to make money by being an artist and need his help to get started. If he doesn’t want you drawing adult stuff, then ask for his ideas and help in making an income in other ways.
You are right that adult art makes money. Yours truly could probably make a quick buck writing furry porn stories for some furry publishers. Just the way life is, but it is not the only alternative.
I wish you luck!
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