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Artist spotlight: Jeremy Bernal; a retrospective

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In honor of the ten-year existence of SexyFur, and the recent publication from FurPlanet, Isiah interviews Jeremy Bernal about his career as a furry artist. Some mature topics are covered.

Isiah Jacobs: Hello, Mr. Bernal, thank you so much for joining me today! It's a great pleasure to have you on the show!

Jeremy Bernal: Thanks for the opportunity of the interview.

Isiah Jacobs: For the very few furries out there who have never heard of you before, you are the owner of two of the most well know furry porn pay sites, SexyFur and Tail Heat. SexyFur has been around for pretty much ten years now, and you just recently came out with your first official publication; a decade's worth of retrospective pin ups.

Jeremy Bernal: I'm not sure if it's the first official publication. We've done some other artist books and comics before the retrospective book. But it's probably the first "new book-like thing" I've put together in a few years.

Isiah Jacobs: Right, sorry about that. What I meant was your own publication featuring your own work.

Jeremy Bernal: Ah, gotcha.

Isiah Jacobs: Going back to the very beginning, have you always had a fascination with anthropomorphic animals? Or was this something you discovered along the way?

Jeremy Bernal: I was always drawing them since I was a little kid. Probably more to learn how to draw the cartoons I watched. I always wanted to be an animator, even from age 10 or so. I would sit in front of the TV and draw the characters. That evolved into creating my own ideas, drawing little comics for myself and for my friends, and eventually turned into small-press comics, actual work in the animation industry, video games, etc.

Isiah Jacobs: What were some of the earliest cartoons you watched?

Jeremy Bernal: Ha! Let me think. Grape Ape. Underdog. Captain Caveman... All those cheap Hanna Barberra cartoons... And of course the classic Tom and Jerry. Super Chicken... The King Leonardo Show...

Isiah Jacobs: Of the ones you listed, I've only ever heard of Underdog and Tom and Jerry. But honestly, who doesn't know about T&J?

Jeremy Bernal: It's all excellent, morbidly violent stuff with no plot whatsoever. Ah, and I can't forget the old classic Warner stuff with Bugs, Daffy, Wile E Coyote... I think those Roadrunner cartoons were some of my favorites. I always root for the Evil Genius characters.

Isiah Jacobs: Is that why you have Dr. Evil as your icon?

Jeremy Bernal: Hahaha, probably.

Isiah Jacobs: Do you still have copies of some of your earliest drawings?

Jeremy Bernal: I think I have a sketchbook or two sitting in a storage box somewhere. The "collection" of old books and piles of paper became truly onerous to lug around from place to place, so I had to get rid of it and keep only a few select things. Also, a number of years back, I cleared out my entire life to "go mobile" and much of that stuff had to go. It wasn't anything worth selling, it was all hundred thousand of those "bad pictures" you have to purge from your system before the good ones come out.

Isiah Jacobs: You said that learning to draw the characters from the cartoons led to you coming up with your own ideas. Do you remember what your comics were about?

Jeremy Bernal: The stuff from grade school was standard-fare Nickelodeon style crap involving a dog and a rabbit. The stuff from high school got more complex and had some actual story and humor. We had this ritual that formed where one of the art nerds would draw a frame of the comic story and hand it off to the next art nerd, and it would go on and on like that for months. We came up with all sorts of hilarious stuff, twisted plots, bizarre characters. It was a form of artistic outlet as well as a way to take the piss out of each other.

Isiah Jacobs: That sounds pretty awesome, actually! Seems like it was loads of fun! Would you say that some of the earliest characters you came up with served as precursors to the characters we see now on SexyFur?

Jeremy Bernal: Of course I had to throw in a sexy cat ninja character, "Sheila the Wonder Cat" which prompted lots of fan-service style shots in those comics, both from myself and from other artists. Even in shots with multiple characters, all the artists would always focus more time drawing her because of, well, basic teenage boy perversion. So that influenced me a lot. It not only became a competitive comic in terms of plot and characters, but also a sort of competition to see who could draw the raunchiest shots of Sheila without going over the line into straight-out porn.

Isiah Jacobs: Who won?

Jeremy Bernal: Hahahah guess :) And of course then there was the "secret stash" of stuff other people wanted to see but I couldn't be caught drawing in school. The comics had also gotten popular with the other students, who were always asking to see the latest day's stuff.

Isiah Jacobs: Do you remember how you came up with Sheila?

Jeremy Bernal: I want to say she was lightly inspired by "Cleo" from the Heathcliff "Catillac cats" cartoons. At least in hairstyle and coloring. But we drew her in a sort of space-ninja outfit with crazy 1980s shoulder pads. We also experimented with Anime stylings, learning the eyes and mega-mouths and whatnot.

Isiah Jacobs: Has she lived on to become a new incarnation on SF?

Jeremy Bernal: Nah, I haven't drawn her since then. I'd say that GunBunny is sort of where that evolution went, at least in terms of the outfit and gear. Sheila's outfit was much more "conservative" :)

Isiah Jacobs: With all this curiosity coming from your peers, surely this caught the attention of your teachers, right?

Jeremy Bernal: The secret stash was never infiltrated by unwanted outsiders. Fortunately :) In college I didn't have to worry about that stuff so I drew it out in the open. I was still living at my Mom's house and commuting to school, and I'd have these big airbrush commission pieces I'd be working on in my room. Mom would come in to see what I was working on, "Oh, more naked foxes?" I think that she was mortified but fortunately she didn't want to stomp on my creativity.

Isiah Jacobs: Well, at least she was that kind of mother. I think that's the best kind to have.

Jeremy Bernal: Yes. "My kid's weird but in a good creative way." Hahahaha to eventually hear my grandmother describing to her friends just what it was that I did for a living... hilarious! This in an Irish Catholic family, and my grandfather was in Seminary to be a priest until he met my grandmother. I was "he who shall go unnamed" but at least I wasn't an outcast.

Isiah Jacobs: Well that's good. At least he didn't bring the wrath of Hell down upon you.

Jeremy Bernal: That or send me to head doctors to analyze why I am drawing stacks of pornographic pictures. I think it helped ease their pain to know I was using it to pay for college. We weren't rich by any stretch. I think I was in high school before I had ever been shopping for clothes before, everything up to that point was hand-me-downs from family. So I had maybe one year of college saved up for, because I had been working on early-release in high school. Sounds like prison, "early release". Anyhow, I paid my way through two years of college with airbrush and furry porn :)

Isiah Jacobs: When was the very first actual "dirty" drawing you did?

Jeremy Bernal: Hmm... not sure. Early teens.

Isiah Jacobs: Remember what it was?

Jeremy Bernal: I want to say it was a squirrel. Maybe a fox. Can't remember to be honest. So... much... porn...

Isiah Jacobs: It all just blends together eventually?

Jeremy Bernal: Some stuff in my brain is still very clear. Some is blurry. I remember my mother finding a stack of old college papers I had written (writing is a hobby of mine) when she was cleaning house a few years ago, and I didn't remember writing half of them. Same way with art. It was especially disturbing when I was going through the retrospective material, "Huh. I drew that?" shocked sometimes in a negative way (barf!), sometimes a positive way (still looks good after all these years), sometimes a "why can't I remember this? I'm going senile!" way.

Sometimes I wondered why I stopped drawing the old style with ink and halftone film on vellum, and then I remember what a mess it was and how much it sucked because it didn't have the "undo" button... And also because you probably can't find halftone films anymore, they've likely been extinct for years. I had a lucigraph in my room, if you even know what those are. I saw one in a recent website devoted to ancient and obsolete "lost bits of graphic art culture." Makes me feel old :) Lacey Luci... the thing weighed a ton and was a total fire hazard. You had to duck your head into the equivalent of a tracing table inside a giant photo bellows...

And it had these metal tapes to measure the distance of the source plate and the bellows, to do old-school text point resizing, and you'd always be cutting your knees on the edges of the metal tapes. Your source drawing's paper would be brown from the heat after you were done enlarging or shrinking it. Them's were the days ;) And that's if your tape didn't melt or catch on fire, seriously. I suppose I should now start telling the stories of walking uphill, both ways, to school, barefoot, in the snow, on broken glass...

Good, scary memories with that lucigraph. So yeah, there were a lot of sacrificed drawings-that-never-were because the tape melted, the paper curled up into the lamps, and I had to put out the inevitable fire :) Thank god for newfangled technology like scanners and xerox machines to do your precision scaling. Mom: "What smells like it's burning?" Me: "Naked foxes!"

Isiah Jacobs: Those poor, poor lost naked foxes. What a shame.

Jeremy Bernal: May they rest in peace.

Isiah Jacobs: Gray muzzle memories aside, did you go into college with the specific intention of going into animating?

Jeremy Bernal: Yes. I took a summer course in animation, for high school students. It was great. My first animation project was a sort of nature film where a snake stalks a mouse through the forest, and the mouse turns to face it with a shotgun and blows it away. Whole thing was maybe 30 seconds. After my first year in college I caught the eye of the local animation folks so I ended up spending my summers working in the studios doing breakfast cereal commercials and whatnot. Captain Crunch, Lucky the Leprechaun, stuff like that. It all came out of Chicago. And hell, the money was better than anything I had made up to that point.

So after year two of college, I had made up my mind: why keep going to school when I am already doing what I want to do? Fatefully, that was also the year when all the animation houses in Chicago closed up and outsourced to Korea. So work dried up. I fell back on my furry porn and airbrushing, and then got a job in video games.

Isiah Jacobs: Before we get in to that, though, were there any specific animators of our time that had a great influence on you? Artists that served as a role model?

Jeremy Bernal: Chuck Jones and Don Bluth. Never met Jones but I did meet Bluth once.

Isiah Jacobs: When was that?

Jeremy Bernal: hmm... early 90s. Early to mid 90s. Probably around 95 or 96.

Isiah Jacobs: Tell me about your experience meeting Bluth. What was it like?

Jeremy Bernal: Hahahaha well that part is kind of funny and the jokes didn't stop afterwards. There were a few of us fanboys from the studio who went to see him at an art event, one in particular who was ga-ga for him. Well our impression was that Don Bluth was incredibly gay, and may have taken an interest in said ga-ga fanboy (who was straight). So fanboy became the brunt of jokes like "Hey, man, do you have any Irish in you?" "No..." "Maybe Don Bluth can help you with that!"

Maybe he's just effeminate. I dunno. Anyhow we hazed our friend for months and it was the source of all sorts of drawn jokes as well as verbal ones. Every animation studio has "The Folder" which contains all of these jests which circulate the studio. You can only draw so much Captain Crunch before you have to take a 10-minute break to draw him in assless chaps and Gimp gear riding Lucky the Leprechaun around on a leash, stuff like that. Stuff the clients must never see... Anyhow Don Bluth seemed like a cool guy but it was like every project he touched since Secret of Nimh got FUBAR somehow. That and how every single cartoon he did has some sort of sick child in it. It's a creepy obsession, I think.

Isiah Jacobs: Well, every artist has that one signature trait that reappears in their work.

Jeremy Bernal: True.

Isiah Jacobs: Now, I will admit that there are certain topics that I'm not very knowledgeable about. That said, this is the first time that ever heard about the animation studios being outsourced to Korea. When did this happen?

Jeremy Bernal: Mid 90s. Literally everything in Chicago closed down at about the same time. Up until then it was the breakfast cereal commercial Mecca. There was a lot of volatility and consolidation in the industry at that time. Also Disney was in the process of gutting out their traditional animation stuff (watch The Pixar Story for more details) Other than a few holdouts like Klasky-Csupo doing some daily cartoons and things like Dexter's Lab (I went to school with Genndy Tartakovsky) most stuff got sent to Asia.

Isiah Jacobs: How exactly did you make the transition to video games? Had it caught your interest before the outsourcing?

Jeremy Bernal: I was a video game junkie but never considered it as a career until I could no longer do animation. Well, I could have kept doing animation but I wanted none of the drama that was going on with Disney or other California studios. I also didn't want to live in CA. So while my computer skills were extremely limited, I managed to get a job in video games based on my drawing skills and animation experience, and learned the technical stuff on-the-job.

Isiah Jacobs: Why didn't you want to go to California?

Jeremy Bernal: Nothing personal, but it's the modern-day equivalent of Gomorrah and I hope the whole place slides off the continental shelf into the Pacific, never to be seen again :) It is a hive of scum and villainy :)

Isiah Jacobs: I don't blame you. There are some nasty parts there, I will admit. What developer did you end up working for?

Jeremy Bernal: I worked for Parallax [makers of 3D ship-based FPS Descent], which then became Volition. Then I left Volition to pursue a potential animation project which didn't pan out, so I returned to Chicago and worked for a smaller studio that imploded and got picked up by Midway. Commuting in Chicago sucked and the weather sucked and I promised myself I would never shovel snow or chase my mailbox down the street after the snowplow ever, ever again, so I went to North Carolina to work for MicroProse, which was then picked up by Hasbro, which then canned everyone, and they migrated to iRock, which was the last video game place I worked for. At that point I had promised myself I never wanted to be laid off and reacquired and restructured in the fickle software industry ever, ever again, so I started SexyFur with the severance money provided by Hasbro, the Family Company™

Isiah Jacobs: So we have Hasbro to thank for furry porn?

Jeremy Bernal: Indeed. They should put me on the Monopoly box holding dirty comic books and wads of cash.

Isiah Jacobs: Dressed up like Dr. Evil.

Jeremy Bernal: I would do the pinky laugh but this is text.

Isiah Jacobs: Well, to those who know what it is, I'm sure they can imagine it. Before we get more in depth as to the creation of SF and TH, let's talk about what you do on the side. What do you do nowadays?

Jeremy Bernal: Anything and everything. Real estate investment, I write articles for international newsletters, books, blogs, I built a biodiesel refinery in Uruguay, developed a few software products... I am getting into 3d printing.

Isiah Jacobs: Oooh! As in figurines?

Jeremy Bernal: Maybe, but more likely developing larger-format printers to build housing and transportation structures. I'm a serial entrepreneur, I suppose. So far as I see, figurines are still best made using traditional methods and casting. The detail just isn't there for 3d printing. Yet. The scanning is there. Just the output isn't. But I suppose what takes the most time these days is the real estate stuff. We have a bad habit of bouncing around the world, finding good deals in gentrifying areas, fixing them up, renting them out, etc.

Isiah Jacobs: And that's what currently brings you to Chile?

Jeremy Bernal: Yes.

Isiah Jacobs: You sure are a busy man!

Jeremy Bernal: Jeez, don't I know it.

Isiah Jacobs: I can see now why there hasn't really been a lot of output from you!

Jeremy Bernal: Well, the last year I had to take a break and do absolutely nothing. So I did, literally. Didn't pick up a pencil in an entire year. Combination of too much other stuff to deal with (in this case building a house) and not wanting to "cast pearls before swine" to the hate crowd, who had flared up like a bad case of hemorrhoids.

Isiah Jacobs: Yeah, we'll be getting to that in just a bit.

Jeremy Bernal: Joy!

Isiah Jacobs: When did the thought for a furry porn pay site first cross your mind?

Jeremy Bernal: Shortly after the "you have 4 months of severance pay to find a job or another source of income" hit me post-Hasbro.

Isiah Jacobs: And this was in late 2000, correct?

Jeremy Bernal: It was on Pearl Harbor Day, a couple weeks before Christmas. I think it was 1999/2000. At that change-of-years. Hasbro came in and canned the whole studio 2 weeks before Christmas. Happy Holidays, from The Family Company. Wow, I'm still bitter, 12 years later.

Isiah Jacobs: I think you have every right to be! That's a terrible time for layoffs!

Jeremy Bernal: I think what made it worse is that they were sending company reps to teach us all about these great new benefits packages we were getting in 2000, literally up to a few days before we got the news. So we all felt safe. We had no idea.

Isiah Jacobs: Let's finally move on to SexyFur! You said it first crossed your mind shortly after you were laid off. When did you actually give it some serious thought? Or was that at the same time?

Jeremy Bernal: It was all at the same time. I already had a website with my collection of art on it. All I needed to do was clean it up and commercialize it. It was originally a site on Furnation. What gave me the idea was that Nexxus was telling me about the traffic, and my site was pulling more traffic than all of the others on his server, combined.

That, plus a bunch of plagiarists, had me in the mood of figuring out how to more legitimize my stuff and how to make money on it as well. If they were going to take credit for my work, I may as well get paid for it, right? Worst that could happen was I spend some time on it and nothing happens. So I taught myself Apache and built myself a webserver out of spare parts, and it was alive.

Isiah Jacobs: And this was around Christmas time of 2001/02?

Jeremy Bernal: The site went live in spring of 2000. Probably February or March.

Isiah Jacobs: Was there a problem with the archive so that it only goes back to '02?

Jeremy Bernal: More a case of the fact that the site was originally raw html, and a mess, combined with never keeping track of dates so that when I would revamp the interface, it's just chalked up to lost data. So all the images are there, just not sure which ones came from specific dates in the early years. So we just grouped it into "pre-2004" or pre-2002

Isiah Jacobs: Makes sense! And how long was it before you started bringing in other artists?

Jeremy Bernal: I can't remember specifically but it was at a point when I was quite literally deathly ill and couldn't get any work done. I was so stubborn not to miss an update that I hired some folks to fill in for me.

Isiah Jacobs: And until then, the site had updated once a month, correct?

Jeremy Bernal: Right. It started monthly, then I moved it to biweekly, then weekly. It was a grand experiment to manage workload and server load. I was also motivated to start keeping a backlog in case for whatever reason I was unable to draw. Not only of my stuff but guest artists. And to this day, unless it has literally been technically impossible due to Acts of God, we have never missed an update.

Isiah Jacobs: As a subscriber since last December, I can attest to this. So what guest artists were you able to bring in back then?

Jeremy Bernal: LoupGarou was one of the first. I was always pestering Malcolm and Shawntae to draw for me but they never did. Well, Malcolm did draw us a couple of pieces but only after lots of nagging and verbal abuse :) gNAW did us a good deal of art also. I also had Linno and Jean Gear doing art for me. The art crew has come and gone, and is always changing.

At this point, though, we have a core group of reliable people, and we give shots to new blood as space becomes available. Some sink, some swim. Other than some editorial corrections and nudging, we try not to interfere with the artists. We do not keep them on timelines, but we do want to make sure that they will supply us with x amount of images per month. We find that a hands-off approach keeps them happiest.

Isiah Jacobs: And I know that this is one of the many things that you've received criticism on. While I can understand one side of the argument how that can be a bit harsh on some new artists, I can also understand where you are coming from. I mean, you have built up a strong reputation so far. Furthermore, it can actually prove as beneficial improvement to the artist in question.

Jeremy Bernal: If you can't take constructive criticism, you have no business being an artist. If it's not us, it will be your other customers or fans. Just because we are a business does not mean that we somehow lose the privileges of being a customer.

Isiah Jacobs: Well said. Moving on, what made you decide on the title SexyFur? Did you have any other titles in mind?

Jeremy Bernal: I did, but none of them would make easy-to-type URLs. I can't remember what the alternatives were, though. I had a list, and I went through them and actually timed how long it took to type them out, etc. Also checked common mistypings to minimize keyboard stumble, etc. It was a scientific process. And thank god that was 12 years ago when domain squatting wasn't as bad as it is today.

Isiah Jacobs: Oh, I can imagine! And I really have to give you props for going in to such depth as to the title! That's pretty deep!

Jeremy Bernal: Marketing, marketing! Merchandising!

Isiah Jacobs: In the ten years of the visible archived data for SexyFur, you have come up with a ton of characters. Is there a specific one that holds a special place in your heart? Or groin? Whichever?

Jeremy Bernal: Hmmm... good question. I suppose my tastes have evolved over the years. And hence the characters. I like to think I have tried to make them appear more classy and sophisticated than the raw base porn I drew at the beginning.

However a favorite, I don't think I have one. Well, maybe Orchid, since I originally drew her as a clean good-girl type character and now I draw her as a darker more gothy high-class whore. I got to skank her up, so to speak. Her boobs also got bigger... which is, well, haven't all the girls evolved in that direction? : More top-heavy, more junk in the trunk.

Isiah Jacobs: Ok, I was suspecting Orchid was your favorite. While you've developed your characters over the years, they weren't really as drastic as seen with Orchid. One of the earliest illustrations of Orchid is her being all shy and she looks like she's just entering adulthood. She has a slim body with modest breasts. And as the years progress, she starts to acquire more curves fills out more. At this point, she's pretty much a full grown woman. I don't think you would have put so much effort in to her development if you weren't fond of her.

Jeremy Bernal: Yeah, I guess you're right.

Isiah Jacobs: Which led to me to believe that she's your favorite. How did you originally come up with her?

Jeremy Bernal: Eh, honestly I can't remember. Might have been someone bugging me to draw some good-girls since normally I was drawing rabid sluts.

Isiah Jacobs: I.E Sasha?

Jeremy Bernal: Right. Sasha was the outlet for my repugnant imagination.

Isiah Jacobs: Mmm, yes. I remember reading somewhere that Sasha was a character designed to be someone you could go hog wild with?

Jeremy Bernal: Right. Smack her around, chug a beer, pour it on her, do the most disgusting things and she'd ask for more. Tucker Max kind of stuff.

Isiah Jacobs: Just to briefly change gears to your Retrospective collection for a moment. Obviously, I enjoyed the hell out of it. It was nice to see these illustrations as full page prints.

Jeremy Bernal: Glad to hear it. It had been a while since I had updated any of my available print library, so a lot of that stuff in there was never available in print before.

Isiah Jacobs: However, at one point, I got to thinking, and it didn't stop. I put myself in another man's shoes. A man who is fairly new to the fandom, and he's never heard of you or SexyFur at all. However, he is interested in adult material. So he stumbles across FurPlanet and finds your collect. He buys it on a whim. When he gets it, he appreciates the illustrations of course, but he's left a tad disappointed. He doesn't really know much about these recurring characters. He wants to know more about them.

Jeremy Bernal: Well, honestly I have avoided giving the characters much back-story in general. It's something people give me hell about a lot. I focused more on the visual theme of them than anything else.

Isiah Jacobs: And why did you decide this?

Jeremy Bernal: I don't think it was an active decision, more so a simple lack of ever considering it. I did get into some storyline stuff, but it's such basic porno cliche plot that there isn't any character development to speak of. I don't know if it makes any sense, but I was always better at "designing the world" than "designing characters and personalities". Maybe it's better that people can use their imagination, maybe not.

Isiah Jacobs: I think that definitely plays a heavy part for the fans. Seeing these characters that they grow fond of, they can form their own lives and dreams.

Jeremy Bernal: I've let other folks write fan fiction and whatnot, and they've come up with some good stuff. But I dunno, assigning them specific minds kind of approaches the realm of religion and politics, and the last thing I want to do is turn people off mentally because I am trying to turn them on visually.

Then again, some people are turned on by characters that they may not personally like. Renamon, for example. She's a bitch, but look at how pervert artists respond to that. Hahaha they tie her up and violate her.

Isiah Jacobs: Mmm, yeah, I can see how she can behave rather cold heartedly. But anyways, we'll come back to the fiction in a while.

Jeremy Bernal: I guess I just never considered it that important.

Isiah Jacobs: So, you become really sick at one point, causing you to miss updates. Now you expand the site to include other contributing artists. Do you remember who was among the first?

Jeremy Bernal: Ah-- to correct you, I didn't miss updates. I hired LoupGarou from my hospital bed :)

Isiah Jacobs: Oh! My mistake!

Jeremy Bernal: There was a set of black-and-white images that I did not have a chance to color (I was coloring his work at the time), so while I did not miss the update, I did have to post uncolored work. But I had a legitimate excuse. Ha. I think LoupGarou and Linno were among the first.

Isiah Jacobs: Was the story section included around this time?

Jeremy Bernal: Hmm, I can't remember when I added stories. Alps was the first author if I recall correctly.

Isiah Jacobs: Either that or Fred Brown.

Jeremy Bernal: It definitely wasn't Fred, I think we brought him on just a few years ago. Yeah, it had to have been Alps.

Isiah Jacobs: You said the policy for the artists was that they had to submit a certain number of illustrations per month. What is the policy regarding stories?

Jeremy Bernal: We don't have a timeline for stories. We usually get one per month from Alps but there's nothing official in terms of must-produce for the writers. Fred works differently; with him, we don't hear from him in a while and then he tosses us an encyclopedia :)

Isiah Jacobs: Yeah, his stories are pretty damn long! So, it isn't mandatory to have at least one sexual act per chapter?

Jeremy Bernal: We try :) Same with comics. We understand the need for a story but sex sells so we need it to get to the point within a couple of pages. It's the constant struggle between artistic license and commerce.

Isiah Jacobs: Right. And I'm not saying I don't like Alps' stories. It's just that I personally get so worn out just reading the sex in chapter after chapter.

Jeremy Bernal: Ha! But would you feel like reading, say, Dawn's experiences of a day in the office filing papers? Yes, but only if it involved her being taken forcefully on top of a desk covered with said scattered papers...

Isiah Jacobs: Admittedly, that would be pretty kinky.

Jeremy Bernal: Alps' stories are carefully calculated to be taken in regular doses :)

Isiah Jacobs: Heheh, I'll be sure to remember that going forward!

Jeremy Bernal: He keeps the story going through to the next sex scene, and leaves you on a cliffhanger to read the next chapter, which inevitably flows into the sex... It's very clever porn dosage. It has a good balance of smut and plot, in my opinion.

Isiah Jacobs: Oh, I agree, absolutely! After reading the first chapter of "Rocks in the Dark", I emailed him if he knew when the second chapter would be going up. The wait was terrible! As you've said before, many artists have joined and left the ranks of SF. Jessica Elwood tragically amongst them. There is one artist in particular that I would like to discuss; Scappo. Do you remember when you first found out about him?

Jeremy Bernal: I don't remember my first encounter with his work, but I did see it before we "officially" met in Bermuda. He had bought one of my pocket sketchbooks on auction, and since I was sailing out there I dropped him a note to see if he wanted to grab a beer. So we met and then he reminded me that he was an artist, and so I started giving him pointers on art and coloring.

Isiah Jacobs: Did you invite him to be a contributor to SF?

Jeremy Bernal: I did. And, eventually, he hired himself as my Evil Henchman. In true Napoleon Hill capitalist Think and Grow Rich style, he laid out his case on why I should hire him, and so I did.

Isiah Jacobs: And that's how he became the administrator and art director for SF and Tail Heat?

Jeremy Bernal: Right. I needed more time to pursue other things, and he needed a job that could be done anywhere (he wanted to get off the island). It all happened at the right time.

Isiah Jacobs: Win-Win scenario! That worked out perfectly!

Jeremy Bernal: It's still working out perfectly. He also has a finger on the pulse of the fandom, which I had become increasingly distant from. I'm sort of a hermit.

Isiah Jacobs: When did this self-hiring occur?

Jeremy Bernal: Hmm, I want to say he's been working for me for 3 years. He may disagree :) I'm not certain. Scappo: "Feels like a century, old maaaaaaan!"

Isiah Jacobs: I plan on doing a mini side interview to go along with this anyway. I'll ask him then.

Jeremy Bernal: So now he handles art wrangling and direction, updates, and dealing with the public. I handle all the server, technical, legal, financial, and bureaucratic stuff.

Isiah Jacobs: And then the world!

Jeremy Bernal: Tomorrow, the world...

Isiah Jacobs: Why not tonight? :O

Jeremy Bernal: Hmm... A million clever quips and they all suck ;)

Isiah Jacobs: I don't think Scappo would appreciate being compared to Pinky anyway.

Jeremy Bernal: Every henchman joke you can think of we've been through.

Isiah Jacobs: Do you remember his reaction when you first invited him?

Jeremy Bernal: Actually he invited him. I thought about it for a while and he was right.

Isiah Jacobs: Man, he was on the ball back then!

Jeremy Bernal: He still is.

Isiah Jacobs: True!

Jeremy Bernal: He probably feels like an orderly at an old folks' home sometimes :)

Isiah Jacobs: What makes you say that?

Jeremy Bernal: Because I am always forgetting important stuff and he is always reminding me with "dammit old maaaaaan!"

Isiah Jacobs: Hahaha! Oh, I can't wait to ask him about that.

Jeremy Bernal: It's a good working relationship. We get along well.

Isiah Jacobs: I'm glad. I also understand that you give him hell for being a My Little Pony fan?

Jeremy Bernal: He deserves it! It is a Hasbro product, after all.

Isiah Jacobs: OKAY! It all makes sense now!

Jeremy Bernal: Devil-worshiper!!!

Isiah Jacobs: I thought you were making fun of him for liking a show meant for little girls. It's your history with Hasbro!

Jeremy Bernal: Well, that too. When I first heard of it, it was making fun of him for liking a girly show. But then it dawned on me that it was a Hasbro product, which is why I still have refused to watch it. Wow, amazing that bitterness still to this day.

Isiah Jacobs: Personally, I think the fact that it's made my Lauren Faust counter balances that fact. That woman can turn cartoons in to gold!

Jeremy Bernal: Ha. Bronies.

Isiah Jacobs: Holy shit did they seriously come out of nowhere.

Jeremy Bernal: Huh. She worked on The Iron Giant. Good movie.

Isiah Jacobs: That's why I liked that film so much! Anyways, moving back to the site, things were going along relatively well until 2008. That's when the economy crashed and one of your payment services stopped working, right?

Jeremy Bernal: That's actually happened a number of times. It's a repeating theme. Whether it's the billing company closing down and taking your money, or your payroll service closing down and taking your money... I think it's pretty much every 3 years something like that happens and shoots us in the foot.

iBill was the worst, though. They absconded with some $36,000.00 of our revenues. Money I will never see again. When I think of what I can do with that and what I can grow it into... it makes me furious. And that was a while back when its purchasing power was probably double what it is today.

Isiah Jacobs: I can imagine. And the event I'm confusing with 2008 was actually your server crashing.

Jeremy Bernal: Yeah, the gnomes who fed coal into the server's boilers went on strike. That machine ran for years and years under tremendous abuse. I guess its death motivated us to get moving double-time to get the site rebuilt in a new data based format.

Isiah Jacobs: And I believe it was right around that time that piracy had gotten really bad. I'm sure the piracy had been going on for a while, but I think it was during the crash that it got really bad.

Jeremy Bernal: Yeah, for sure. BS seems to avalanche in great quantities. Feast or famine.

Isiah Jacobs: It was actually that same year that I had first heard about SF. Me, being the hormone-driven little shit that I was found some adult websites. It was there that I found the pirated images from SF.

Jeremy Bernal: Ah, so you are one of the few brave souls who actually decided to pay for the stuff? :) Most just take what they can get for free, and then tell you how much they hate it, meanwhile using it for fap material.

Isiah Jacobs: Regretfully, no. It was a free image board. They were up for a while, then it got taken down. I presume that was your hunt for the pirated images. I was curious, so I did some digging, and that's when I found the true source of the images.

Jeremy Bernal: Could have been me, could be some of the others who are getting fed up with it these days. Thankfully, artists have been getting more and more educated about their rights, and enforcing them. Also there seems to be a backlash against piracy in the fandom. It's not the street-cred Robin Hood stuff it used to be.

I think people are disillusioned enough by the rampant piracy that they heap on disrespect where there was once indifference. The "lulz" are harder to come by, so to speak. And more people see trolls for what they really are. Either that, or the folks who used to run around looting and pillaging finally had to get themselves real jobs and now maybe have appreciation of the value of hard work. I can dream.

Isiah Jacobs: Pretty much. It was also around this time that you received some more criticism about piracy. This is something I personally don't really want to get much in to. If people want to know more about it, they can visit your FA page.

Jeremy Bernal: Yeah, there's enough of that elsewhere.

Isiah Jacobs: Speaking of which... Why Evil Art Nazi?

Jeremy Bernal: Why not? :) People were giving me the label anyways, why not wear it? You can predict the reactions of people who hate you. If you are going to be treated like a tyrant, don't throw away the benefits of being a tyrant. That's simple Art of War stuff.

Isiah Jacobs: Sun Tzu would be proud, I'm sure.

Jeremy Bernal: There is only so much PR you can throw at a meme, and if that meme is determined to roll on despite your best efforts, you can either crawl in a hole, or use it against your enemies. Fighting it is a waste of time. The truth will prevail eventually. And it has. And now we have more artists wanting to work for us than we ever had before. We have to turn people away. That's another of those feast-or-famine things. When you need artists, they are nowhere to be found. And when you don't need them, they are beating down your door.

Isiah Jacobs: Forgive me for not understanding, but why would it be an issue to have TOO many artists?

Jeremy Bernal: Because we can only hire so many. We can't afford to feed the world :)

Isiah Jacobs: It would be nice if that was possible, though! Just saying!

Jeremy Bernal: Well we're working on a way to fix that problem.

Isiah Jacobs: HNNNNNG YES.

Jeremy Bernal: Unfortunately it requires reliable artists who are self-starters. And speaking as an artist who knows how unreliable we can be, that is a difficult thing to find.

Isiah Jacobs: I think what would help is if all artists wore shock collars. If they stop using their drawing utensil, they get a shock. Problem solved. ;D

Jeremy Bernal: Then you get dicknipples and massive leaking hermaphroditic things... oh, wait...

Isiah Jacobs: Hahaha! XD As for your FA icon, I take it it's a reference to your own financial success?

Jeremy Bernal: It's sort of a joke. I've got mountains of hate mail from people telling me to "get a real job" along with awe and wonder how it is even possible to make money in furry porn. Since traditionally it is difficult or downright impossible. The same people who wonder how I can afford to develop new web technologies and lawyers and employees and whatnot. It's easy: treat it like a business and it will either succeed or fail. Learn from both success and failure. Repeat success stimuli, avoid failure stimuli. It's not rocket science.

Isiah Jacobs: I like how they seem to ignore the hundreds of other artists doing JUST THAT.

Jeremy Bernal: If you put your hand in a fire and it hurts, you shouldn't put your hand in the fire again. But furries... they are special, in the "Olympics" sense of Special. They keep repeating their mistakes, and so you always hear of the next great project going straight to hell due to mismanagement. Maybe it's a penchant for drama that destroys so many of the potentially successful niche startups in the fandom.

Or that people treat something as a hobby and not a business, and they get their project going large-scale, and when they run out of their seed money, it goes kaboom. No sense of inputs, outputs, revenue streams, or sustainability. That's OK, just don't complain that your project goes bust. And for god's sake don't drag down innocent victims as your house of cards collapses.

In my general experience, furries are TERRIBLE businesspeople. Anyhow, I seem to have disconnected from the question :) I used the Dave Chappelle icon as a sort of in-your-face representation of all these sentiments. IT CAN BE DONE. ...but you've got to be serious about doing business, and treat it like a business.

Isiah Jacobs: With all that in mind, it is funny in a sort of ironic sense. To rewind a bit, when was the first time you came across other furries?

Jeremy Bernal: Ah-- good question. I saw a copy of Gallacci's Albedo in a comic book store. Bought it. Ads in the back had all sorts of other related stuff. I remember looking at this and thinking, "Wow! There's other people who draw this stuff too!?" From there I learned about the other comics at the time, learned about the convention circuit, started going to cons and meeting other artists, etc.

This was before the internet, mind you. Or at least right at the advent of the internet. I remember chatting with people on the BBS services to find out how we get internet hookups in our area, but it wasn't available yet except on college campuses. Wow, BBS services. On 9600 baud modems. OLD. And 9600 was for uber-nerds who demanded screaming-fast data transfer. 16 megs of RAM cost like $800.

Isiah Jacobs: That had to have been legendary back then. So, you had discovered Albedo sometime in the 80s?

Jeremy Bernal: I probably discovered it around 1990.

Isiah Jacobs: So you've officially been a part of the fandom for roughly 20 years now!

Jeremy Bernal: Which is fortunately more than half my life :) Otherwise I'd be even more geriatric :)

Isiah Jacobs: Well that's good to know you've still got a whole lotta life yet to live!

Jeremy Bernal: Hope so.

Isiah Jacobs: Isn't a there a furry con that takes place in or around the Chicago area?

Jeremy Bernal: Midwest FurFest, I think. I haven't been. I used to go to DucKon back when I still lived in the area because it had a furry fan contingent. I think MFF branched off from that but don't quote me. One of those midwest cons did, anyways.

Isiah Jacobs: What was the first con you ever went to like?

Jeremy Bernal: Scary.

Isiah Jacobs: How's that?

Jeremy Bernal: I was 17 years old and I was dropped off in the company of, well, fanboys. At that point in time there were maybe five females. So yeah, it was scary. I had been to GenCon and other stuff like that, and half of my friends were nerds, so the nerd factor didn't phase me. But the fanboy factor, you gotta admit, can be downright blood chilling. Trial by fire. Like the beginning scene of 300 where the boy is sent out to kill a wolf with a spear. If he lives, great. If he dies, ah well.

Isiah Jacobs: I think that's a pretty good way to put it!

Jeremy Bernal: So he returns home covered in blood, shell-shocked, and doesn't speak a word for days :) But now he's got the 100-yard stare because he has looked death in the face and triumphed. He will never be the same, but he is stronger for it. That is the essence of First Fan Convention. And the friendships you forge with other folks at those places are the exact same as those that soldiers forge on the frontlines. You make death pacts. "If it comes to that, I'll do us both. Don't worry bro."

Isiah Jacobs: Yeah, I'd say my first experience was very much the same!

Jeremy Bernal: It's like being in a nature documentary of the Serengeti.

Isiah Jacobs: What furries did you end up meeting and eventually became friends with?

Jeremy Bernal: Hmm... Lots of them, but I don't really keep in touch with them much. Mostly artists. Shawntae Howard, Eric Schwartz, Malcolm Earle, Mitch Beiro. And some of the fan regulars like Bruce Rowe and Paul Kidd. We used to all hang out and drink away the scary things we had seen during the day. The population of both artists and fans was very small back in the day. Shawntae is probably one of the only old farts left that I talk with once in a while. Few of the other oldies, with exception to Malcolm, still draw stuff. When you don't run the convention circuit anymore, you tend to lose touch with those folks.

Isiah Jacobs: I can just imagine you all, mature gentlemen, smoking pipes in this Victorian styled library, reminiscing and discussing furry porn.

Jeremy Bernal: Ha! Sipping cognac from our goblets, and adjusting our monocles. Twisting moustaches.

Isiah Jacobs: Exactly!

Jeremy Bernal: I say, old bean! All of this tomfoolery and flimflam. Poppycock! Young whippersnappers don't know anything, I say. Let's show them, what?

Isiah Jacobs: That is a hilarious image. When and what was the last convention you attended?

Jeremy Bernal: Hmm. I stopped in at a Memphis con a number of years back because I was in the area. Before that, it was probably one of the ConFurence Easts.

Isiah Jacobs: Have you ever dealed at a con, before?

Jeremy Bernal: Yes. I used to sell prints and t-shirts.

Isiah Jacobs: Was this after the establishment of SF?

Jeremy Bernal: No.

Isiah Jacobs: What types of prints did you sell?

Jeremy Bernal: Color and black-and-white stuff. This was in the infancy of high-quality inkjet printing, and I learned how to do sharp prints on photo paper, had a good cheap source of wholesale Kodak paper, so I capitalized on that and had stacks and stacks of prints ready to sell at cons. I'd usually go to a con with art prints, a few large pieces for the art show, and at some of the later cons I did airbrushed t-shirts on the spot.

Isiah Jacobs: Was all of it smut? Or did you sell general pieces as well?

Jeremy Bernal: Most was smut. The art-show pieces tended to be classier, stuff that would be more suited to hang on a wall.

Isiah Jacobs: Hard to believe that Mr. Bernal does clean art! :O

Jeremy Bernal: Ha

Isiah Jacobs: One thing that I've noticed on your FA is that you call yourself an anarchocapitalist. What exactly does that mean?

Jeremy Bernal: It's like a Libertarian, but with the belief that government is not necessary in any capacity. As ye harm none, do as ye may. The free market will provide voluntary structures to take the place of anything governments have traditionally monopolized. Government cannot exist as anything other than a coercive parasite. It's probably too complex a thing to cover in a few sentences. You can look it up on Wikipedia :)

Isiah Jacobs: I'm sure that you've noticed that streaming has recently become a popular past time for many artists. Have you considered streaming your own work?

Jeremy Bernal: I work such weird hours that I don't think it would get any viewers, to be honest :) Since I rarely have 8-hour stretches to work anymore, I draw in time-chunks when I can, so folks would have to watch me color an arm for a little while, then color a leg tomorrow... it probably wouldn't be enjoyable.

Isiah Jacobs: Going through your gallery, you submitted an illustration of a fox in small pool of water. Would you say that she's an early incarnation of Champagne?

Jeremy Bernal: Oh, you mean the really ancient drawing? If memory serves she was indeed an early incarnation of Champagne. The first "portfolio" of work I ever put together was a set of pics of Champagne.

Isiah Jacobs: Wow! That's amazing how much she's changed in such a short amount of time! A common theme that I've observed about your work is that while in the process of rendering an illustration, you come up with different version of the same picture. Like, with one featuring Orchid, there were two versions with different sized cup bras. You've also done illustrations where a character will have an "oh" face and a smiling flirtatious face. And then you'll show these different versions and have the viewers vote on which one will be the final version.

Do you normally come up with different versions of your drawings?

Jeremy Bernal: Sometimes I get stuck and can't decide which way to take a drawing. Fortunately I can poll the fanbase to see what they prefer, and sometimes I just go ahead and finish it multiple ways and let the viewer decide which one they prefer. It all depends on the specific drawing and amount (or lack thereof) of inspiration that goes into an individual image.

Isiah Jacobs: I'm sure you've been asked this many times, but why don't you have a fursona for yourself?

Jeremy Bernal: I'm just not that social :) It may sound weird but I have a lot of online impersonators/dopplegangers. And in thinking about it critically, the best way to authenticate myself is to first invalidate all the impostors by simply not communicating with others unless absolutely necessary. It had gotten so bad that people were taking commission work in my name, and I would have to sort through at least one counterfeit drama bomb weekly.

Isiah Jacobs: Fair enough. What is your most favorite species to draw?

Jeremy Bernal: Rabbits, obviously.

Isiah Jacobs: Just wanted to make sure! Now is this because of the whole Playboy thing? Or is there another reason?

Jeremy Bernal: It probably has a lot to do with it. Playboy magazine was a big influence for me when I was a teenager, not only for horny teenage reasons, but also for understanding the female form, anatomy, and what makes a good shot or pose good.

Isiah Jacobs: Oh! Something else I'm curious about. For your book, why did you decide to go backwards in time?

Jeremy Bernal: My reasoning for newer stuff first is that if a potential customer picks up the book, I want them to see the best stuff right away. It is a sales/marketing tactic. Sure some say "save the best for last" but it's not necessarily a good thing for a linear product like a book. One could argue that an art book is nonlinear but most folks start books at the beginning.

Isiah Jacobs: Right, let's move back to your business. A few months before the server crash, you had actually started up a site for the gay audience: Tail Heat. Is that correct?

Jeremy Bernal: We launched it at the same time. We had been amassing content for it for the previous year, though.

Isiah Jacobs: Ah! Okay, I see! Again, my mistake!

Jeremy Bernal: We designed the new databased SexyFur in a modular fashion so that we could use it like a turnkey template for other spinoff sites. So we could have launched Tail Heat earlier, but we wanted to wait until the new code was done.

Isiah Jacobs: Gotcha. Yeah, that's really all I had to ask about that. I was confused about when it was launched. I am curious about one thing; why haven't you contributed to that site yourself?

Jeremy Bernal: I don't draw gay art. I have nothing against gay people, I just don't know what would "work" for a gay audience, so I don't draw it. I have no skin in the game, for lack of a better and possibly less Freudian way of putting it. Sure I could probably draw it but it does nothing for me and that lack of spirit would probably show in the work. And that's no fun.

Isiah Jacobs: Fair enough!

Jeremy Bernal: Lesbian stuff, well, that's every man's fantasy so I can draw that. It's like a window into the sick twisted imagination of what I would do if I were presented with two lesbian chicks who were into me, so off we go into pervertland. For a guy, it's like "meh. not my thing." Does not compute. It would be like asking Ozzy Osbourne to sing opera. Maybe he could swing it, but it wouldn't be pretty :)

Isiah Jacobs: Hahaha! That's one way put it! One thing I noticed about your art is that up until 2007, you gave your character four fingers, and then you started giving them five. Why did you start with four? And what prompted the change?

Jeremy Bernal: The four finger thing was residual from my animation days. And the more I looked at it the more unnatural it looked to me. So I started changing features around a little bit and decided I liked five better. I think the four-finger hand also became a bit of a turnoff for me.

I have since realized the error of my ways and now I repent :) Maybe there's a point where it crosses the line between cartoony and more realistic, and one of the things holding it back is the improper finger count.

Isiah Jacobs: You're forgiven. Is this also why you stick with plantigrade characters?

Jeremy Bernal: I think so. Digitigrade legs are hard to draw in certain poses, if those poses would even be possible with a digitigrade. I do like the design of digitigrade legs for some things, but I just dont think they have the sex appeal as plantigrade legs.

Isiah Jacobs: The effect high heels can have on a woman?

Jeremy Bernal: Especially when pointed skyward. Forget the effect they have on a woman, it's the effect they have on men that you are shooting for ;) ...especially when pointed skyward.

Isiah Jacobs: XD I think I get where you're going with this.

Jeremy Bernal: Grab handles and whatnot. TMI.

Isiah Jacobs: You've posted quite a few tutorials of your technique. In one of these, you've admitted youself how legendary your spooge effect is. Is the spooge your favorite part to work on when drawing?

Jeremy Bernal: Nah, but pun intended it is the icing on the cake for the images. I usually save it for last. Wow, pun potential here is amazing. I usually do a "messy" and "clean" version of most images.

Isiah Jacobs: That was going to be my next question, actually! You have those sorts of images, then you have a few where it progresses from clean to messy. Why do you do these sorts of images?

Jeremy Bernal: It's like mild, medium, and spicy sauce. Give the customers a few different choices to cover all tastes. In the big picture, it could look good either way, and it doesn't take much time to alter the spooge level in the illustration. So we can take an image and make it a "come here big boy" image, or a "job well done" image.

Isiah Jacobs: That's pretty clever!

Jeremy Bernal: I credit Hentai video game art for that.

Isiah Jacobs: Thank you, Japan.

Jeremy Bernal: Indeed.

Isiah Jacobs: Are you often complimented on your work on the fluids the most?

Jeremy Bernal: I've seen other artists who do a better job on it than I do. Tsampikos draws excellent spooge.

Isiah Jacobs: Absolutely! Agreed!

Jeremy Bernal: If I could learn the secrets of his spooge Kung Fu, and combined it with my techniques, I could be unstoppable.

Isiah Jacobs: I mean that he also does a pretty good spooge effect. I honestly think yours is better. If you can somehow improve it, I don't think I could handle it.

Jeremy Bernal: I think his "structure" with my rendering/coloring skills would look pretty good in that respect.

Isiah Jacobs: Then I totally expect for there to be a collaboration between you two in the future. ;)

Jeremy Bernal: I met him to trade some art techniques a year or two ago and learned a lot from him.

Isiah Jacobs: Oh! What did you learn?

Jeremy Bernal: How to paint an entire forest of leaves in a few seconds, how to build a brush to draw a precise zipper, stuff like that. He's really good with the technical stuff in Photoshop and how it can relate to drawing.

Isiah Jacobs: Nice! Was he able to glean any info off you?

Jeremy Bernal: I dunno. If he did, good. Either way, art was improved. Kung Fu was mastered.

Isiah Jacobs: Huzzah! When you go to work on an image, what aspect of it do you like working on the most?

Jeremy Bernal: The boobs, I think. That and designing tight minuscule outfits.

Isiah Jacobs: As many people have commented, and I would have to agree, you would make an excellent lingerie designer.

Jeremy Bernal: Lots of people tell me that. And I have considered it. Need a manufacturer in China. Just what I need: another business and/or hobby :)

Isiah Jacobs: I think it would be nice to see a Gun Bunny, Dawn, and Pirate Ann clothes, but I'm biased.

Jeremy Bernal: Well, I wouldn't tell a woman dressed that way to change, which is why I draw the stuff ;)

Isiah Jacobs: Well, of course, but it would still be cool if those outfits were made!

Jeremy Bernal: Agreed.

Isiah Jacobs: So, finally moving on to your book, did you know for a while you wanted to do something like this?

Jeremy Bernal: Oh, definitely. I had it in my to-do-someday list for years. Back when I hit the five-year mark I wanted to do one. Procrastination!

Isiah Jacobs: Well, I'm glad it waited until the ten year mark. Otherwise we wouldn't have gotten so many images!

Jeremy Bernal: True. And some of the best stuff is the more recent stuff. At least in my opinion.

Isiah Jacobs: I agree! What I really like about your most recent illustrations is your attention to the eyes. The way you rendered them is beautiful!

Jeremy Bernal: Thanks. I kind of cheated with "makeup" details to get the desired effects. But it works.

Isiah Jacobs: Hell yeah it does!

Jeremy Bernal: Scappo gives me hell about how you couldn't see blushing beneath fur, but I am playing on base caveman stimulus/response stuff here to make the images as sexy as I can make them. Yeah it's a lie ;) But it works on your brain on a fundamental and subliminal level.

Isiah Jacobs: No doubt about that! Were there more images you wish you could have included?

Jeremy Bernal: Yes, but at risk of crowding out page count and lessening the overall quality of the book. yeah, there are like 5000 Sasha images that I think are great but the others need space too.

Isiah Jacobs: Do you think that in the future, there could be entire books dedicated to one character?

Jeremy Bernal: I have an Orchid book ready to go any day now. And the Creampie comic that Rabbit Valley printed is all Jessica stuff. I'll likely put together more of that kind of thing over the next year

Isiah Jacobs: Oh, are you talking about "A Night Alone"?

Jeremy Bernal: That's in the Orchid book. Along with all the older illustrations of her.

Isiah Jacobs: Man, it'll sure be nice to see all of the progression next to each other!

Jeremy Bernal: It's not exactly a steady timeline :) I experimented a lot with different styles and looks.

Isiah Jacobs: Now, why do you like your most recent work? Should have asked that first

Jeremy Bernal: Hmm... I think it's because for the latest batch of stuff I didn't have anything in mind but drawing something I wanted to draw. No pressure timewise. It was done for the enjoyment of it and I think it shows through.

Isiah Jacobs: I would say so!

Jeremy Bernal: Especially the latest Dawn image, I think it's one of my best. I wanted to use it on the cover of the retrospective, but I was told the boobs either had to be covered or not present. It would be criminal to cover those, so I opted for another image. Which I still had to "cover" but at least it made more sense as part of the wardrobe, whereas the whole point of that Dawn image was that she was nude.

Isiah Jacobs: Yeah, Dawn should never, under any circumstances, be covered up. What can I say, I am so thankful for you creating her. |3

Jeremy Bernal: Heh

Isiah Jacobs: Now, I'm not complaining, but why are there some images smaller and a couple put together on the same page?

Jeremy Bernal: Because some are related and I had to preserve the integrity and flow of the book. I didn't just haphazardly throw images in, I planned the page turns beforehand. Probably a bit obsessive :) So when you turn the page, then you see these images, and then it goes on to this set... Even though some were done at different times, etc.

Isiah Jacobs: There's a reason why tasteful porn is considered an art!

Jeremy Bernal: Fortunately 3rd-wave feminism is realizing this.

Isiah Jacobs: Looking back at the history of SexyFur, or even your own personal life, is there a certain event that you wish you could do over?

Jeremy Bernal: There's always things I would have done over. Innumerable things. But all said, I think I still did a fair job of things. Otherwise we wouldn't be talking about it and I'd be just another angsty artist. Woulda shoulda coulda. Shoulda never used iBill, for starters :) Shoulda never used ePassporte, or PayPal, or any other numbers of those scumbags who stole my money. But then I wouldn't have learned the things I learned.

Isiah Jacobs: Excellent point. Looking towards the future, I know that you mentioned working on getting more artists and putting out an Orchid book, but is there anything else you're planning you'd be willing to mention? Anything you're looking forward to?

Jeremy Bernal: I've been hounding a few Japanese CG places to get together for a collaborative animation project but so far no luck. I think the language barrier is too great. There was a group of guys working on another animated porno cartoon with SexyFur characters, but I haven't heard from them in a while. There's some figurine stuff in the works. All this stuff, by the way, is stuff that I am hands-off on, other than approving it-- it's other people being entrepreneurial and wanting to produce SexyFur themed stuff.

Isiah Jacobs: Well, if they ever read this, good for them!

Jeremy Bernal: I have a connection by which we could air a SexyFur cartoon pilot on Spike TV, but we'd need to actually make one first. And therein lies the problem ;)

Isiah Jacobs: Spike TV?! Oh man, please don't tease like that!

Jeremy Bernal: Well, it would have to be toned down but could still be sexy enough. Someone would have to work out a plot better than Stripperella...

Isiah Jacobs: Please don't remind me of that show. Mr. Bernal, thank you so much for your time! It has been an absolute pleasure being able to talk with you. I look forward to having you back, whenever that may be!

Jeremy Bernal: No problemo. Any time.

Comments

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tl;dr summation:

So... much... porn...

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Why is Jeremy Bernal doing this?

They said when Jeremy Bernal? got here the whole furrydrama started.

Who is Jeremy Bernal?

WHAT is Jeremy Bernal?

Where did Jeremy Bernal come from?

I think? Jeremy Bernal is the cause of all this!

I think Jeremy Bernal is evil!

EVIL!!!

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Funny that Don Bluth seemed incredibly gay to you, because Bluth is a devout anti-gay Mormon who is reportedly not on speaking terms with his brother Toby, who is gay and flaunts it. Toby is also an excellent cartoonist.

Fred Patten

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Oh, I'd love to hear more details about this.

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Here are a couple of Toby Bluth’s public comments on his lifestyle and his career.

http://www.affirmation.org/history/toby_bluth.shtml

http://www.awn.com/mag/issue2.8/2.8pages/2.8bluthmemories.html

Fred Patten

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Oh, OK, this is why people complain about "the image of the fandom" ruined by crappy wank material.

I can't understand why an imagination-based medium must be used for the blandest, most superficial of all cliches. Cartoon strippers. Date a real one... Conversations are about their feet hurting, humble college aspirations, and daddy issues frustrating them from having healthy relationships. Sex is unexciting with too much makeup, waxing and descenting, and done-everyone routine. Give 'em credit for being human and wanting to date like anyone else, but there's not a lot of fantasy in it.

Who fantasizes about prefab characters defined by crappy jobs, and why would anyone give money to this huckster? At least he's just ripping off fanboys, not trying to roofie sorority girls too.

SexyFur's motto should be: "we give you everything but imagination..." It's like they're selling dehydrated water.

Jeremy Bernal: Well, honestly I have avoided giving the characters much back-story in general. It's something people give me hell about a lot. I focused more on the visual theme of them than anything else.

Isiah Jacobs: And why did you decide this?

Jeremy Bernal: I don't think it was an active decision, more so a simple lack of ever considering it. I did get into some storyline stuff, but it's such basic porno cliche plot that there isn't any character development to speak of. I don't know if it makes any sense, but I was always better at "designing the world" than "designing characters and personalities". Maybe it's better that people can use their imagination, maybe not.

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Superficial porn! Who'd a thunk it?

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Erotic and superficial don't have to go together, especially on the extremes. (An idea that may fly over the head of virginal nerds.)

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Ah, but I didn't say "erotic," I said "porn."

I'm thinking "superficially erotic" would be a fair definition of porn.

Porn is a dirty word; not with furries or San Franciscans, I suppose, but there are reasons they invented two different words for porn and art.

Hint: It's because they are two very different concepts.

For instance, that thing Bernal does, that thing you were railing against right now; we have a word for that. It's porn.

As another example, that thing Kyell Gold does, with the whole story and context and meaning and also buttsex; that's erotic art.

Porn. Eroticism. Porn. Eroticism.

Two words. Two concepts.

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por·nog·ra·phy
noun \-f?\
Definition of PORNOGRAPHY
1: the depiction of erotic behavior

It wouldn't vex you so, if you could get more than the concept of it.

/thread

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Oh man the dictionary! The be-all, end-all of language, nevermind connotations, slang, or convention!

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Well, that's a crap definition. Have you ever seen it used in context, Merriam?

Because when people say "torture porn" they're not saying, "Gee, Eli Roth, I love how erotic the behaviour in Hostel was."

Also, "/thread"? You little ...

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If furry taught you anything, you know some people wank to it (even if they deny it.)

Confucius say: actress who bare boobies for Eli Roth movie have sexually hostel workplace.

For more smart-ass opinions, Urban Dictionary on Torture Porn:

An ignorant, judgemental and hypocritical phrase asserted by fuckwit Bible-thumpers and conservative critics. Would you call a sad romance film that exploits audience emotions "romance porn", or a funny comedy that exploits the audience sense of humor "comedy porn"? 'Torture porn' is a term that doesn't apply because it's BEEN applied by assholes. You want torture porn? Read the Bible, and shut the fuck up. If you use this term, that invalidates any argument you may put forward.

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Well, let's break down what we agree on:

1. Jeremy Bernal is crap.

2. Jeremy Bernal is a pornographer.

3. 2 really doesn't have much bearing on 1.

The main disagreement (setting aside loaded words and what they imply) is Author intent vs. Audience interpretation. Roth never intended anyone to jack off to his scenes of torture. The fact that some idiots (who completely missed the point of said scenees) did doesn't make the movie porn.

Also, it should be noted that Roth himself has objected to the term "torture porn;" he may not be a Bible thumper or whatever (though I recall most of the critics who used the label were liberals), but even he recognized the term can, and was, being used pejoratively.

Hell, you even did it yourself; why did you switch out the word I used (porn) with a different word (erotic)? It's because you recognize that "erotic" is the better word, without the negative connotations of "porn."

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Sexually Frustrated Semantics: Flayrah edition

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Oh, come now; if you really weren't playing the game yourself, you just would have told me to go fuck myself. Same thing really.

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Ah, I see we have an Escher Fox on our hands! What is so attractive about having a broken spine? Poor thing needs to go to a vet.

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What I find somewhat amusing about Bernal is that he's one of those figures that is only involved with furry to sell people porn, and carries some resentment towards both himself and the subculture because of it.

Occasionally that spite bubbles to the surface, but for the most part he's dealt with it. Still, if you compare his older output with his current output, it's pretty apparent that he just stopped caring sometime in the late 1990s.

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tl;dr

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I already did that!

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>Jeremy Bernal
>artist

*pornographer
Pornography isn't art. They'd make a bad artist, but a good pornographer to "some". Art is all about self-improvement and bringing together elements the artist finds most beautiful and hopes others do, too - art has no real world purpose beyond symbolism and is distinguished from things such as business (i.e. crafts), whereas pornography is for a means of getting off. Art is one of the forms of the Muse creative philosophy. Porn and art have very different aesthetics, anyone who says otherwise is uneducated.

Also, tl;dr, even high class celebrities get less dense interviews.

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Art is all about self-improvement and bringing together elements the artist finds most beautiful and hopes others do, too [...]

You can do that with porn, too--especially with porn that you have to, erm, draw.

The thing about Jeremy Bernal is, he's drawn so much porn that it's basically redundant at this point.

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Art involves progress, Jeremy Bernal has not improved, they do not follow through with art. Thus he is not an artist. Practicing porn will only get you aimed at refining yourself for the interests of your "customers". In that respect, it is a different craft and there's nothing really much to improve in terms of porn, when people see porn their brains only notices logical components in the act such as the genitalia, there is no lean to art.

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Um, I'm an individual who would like to see more art that stimulates the mind than the dick myself, but I don't think you know what you're talking about.

I know someone who does clean art as a part time job, illustration for an author in fact. She drew this wonderful thing but the customer didn't like it, so she had to go back and redo sketches, sounds a lot like refinement for interest of customers to me. So in effect anyone who does art for a customer will have the issue you claim is exclusive to porn artists.

Don't try to make differences that aren't there it harms the rest of your opinion. The difference between "getting off" and "mind stimulation" is enough, and is probably the underlying factor.

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Woah, there was something even more stupid in your first comment that I didn't pick up on. I think it was just so mindbogglingly inane that my brain blocked it out for fear of inadvertently lowering my IQ:

[...] art has no real world purpose beyond symbolism and is distinguished from things such as business (i.e. crafts) [...]

Because, you know, art has never spread news across the world, made a political statement, been a form of worship, or told a story before there were words.

Go far, far away from this place.

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About the author

Isiah Jacobsread storiescontact (login required)

a furry journalist and Spider from Michigan, interested in science fiction