The Kenno Arkkan Interview

It’s almost Halloween! Time for me to pick out a costume. I’m thinking either a devil… Or a mime… Or a ghost/toga… Or the scariest thing out there… A high powered lobbyist! I already have the suit and tie for it too. But that’s for another day. Time for yet another interview from the awesome folks at the Kemono Cafe. Introducing…KENNO ARKKAN, the creator of the hit webcomic MY LIFE WITH FEL. I mean, I wouldn’t call it a hit. more like a decade long slow boil. Thanks for having me. Don’t sell yourself short my good fellow! And thank you for agreeing to do the interview! You excited for Halloween? You got any major plans, such at any parties or trick-or-treating? Are you planning to dress up, and if not, what outfit would you wear? Not at all. I’m the book-example of boringness. I don’t like parties. Or wearing costumes. But I’ll indulge you this time. Sweet witch outfit with an adorable kitty cat! I came across your TWITTER and FURAFFINITY and notice that you’ve been art-ing for over a decade now. So I’m curious what got you into the art scene in the first place. And is it your primary profession?
Correct! I’ve been doing this professionally since… 2009 I think. It’s been a while. What got me into it though? I think it was a mixture of wanting to draw for a living since I was a kid, and wanting to tell stories. Mix that in a blender and the first option you get are comics. I focused mostly in comics, while doing freelance illustration work on the side. The latter helping keep afloat the former, until it took a life on its on late 2013, and now the comic-related work is the bulk of my income. 2009!? That was a fun year for comics. That’s awesome that you’ve made it into your primary source of income! And I notice that you have a very unique style from your recent uploads of the comic and artwork. Who or what works were the inspirations to your style?
I think, like every 90s kid, I was pulled in by videogames and anime. As I grew older and the internet became more ubiquitous, I could look further away, and that’s when I saw this furry stuff and was like “…Nice.”. From the top of my head, there’s the Metroid franchise, Warcraft 3, Age of Empires 1 through Age of Mythology. Anime like Cowboy Bebop, The Evangelion tv show, Ghost in the Shell. I must sound very pedantic with “this highbrow references” haha, but I borrow a lot of visual inspiration from more run of the mill shonens like Naruto and the Pokemon tv series though. Later on, with the internet, I grabbed influences from all the community of artists around me. It’d be hard to pinpoint all of them, but suffice to say, there were plenty. I also just like playing around with techniques, and never settle with one particular software or tool. I like to stay “light on my feet” in that regard. I don’t know why, but I was reminded of the South Park Nice meme going around. And dang…that’s bringing back all the throwbacks with the animes. Cowboy Bebop was SWEET! And for that matter, what tools of the trade do you employ in your artwork?
Well, I started doing digital art, and kept doing digital art until today. I began with a janky Genius tablet, a brand that doesn’t even exist anymore. Then moved up to wacom tablets, then I used a 22HD cintiq for 7 years or so, and now I upgraded to a slightly less monstruous 16 inch drawing display by xp-pen. Yeah…I had to look that up online. That technology belongs in a museum. And from all your artworks, you tend to do a combination of humans and furries. What got you into the furry scene in the first place?
I was like seventeen at the time, and I couldn’t stop fawning over this one artwork by a Venezuelan artist named Reiq featuring, shockingly, a redheaded white tigress woman. That was it. That was the spark. Everything else spawned from there. The story, the characters, their struggles. Not going to lie, but red heads are pretty fine. And it’s nice to be inspired by other’s works too!<<< While exploring your TWITTER FEED, you tend to post and retweet content that has a comedic or memes in them. What style of comedy do you like the most. I’m… not sure. I can tell some elements of what kind of comedy I like to include in my work, but I can’t tell exactly what kind of style it is. There’s elements of adult, sexual themes. It’s also very lighthearted in nature. Although sometimes it gets a little cynical when its about critiquing something. There’s this very old hentai manga, called “Slut girl” by Isutoshi, that despite its raunchy sounding name, it was actually a very fun, lighthearted comedy adult comic. That’s the earliest reference to what kind of comedy I wanted to include in my work. I actually heard of that manga!!! And outside of the art world, what do you do for fun? What are your hobbies?
Well, whatever is left after the long hours grinding away at the waifu mines that we call free time, I spend it reading more stories. Videogames, comic books, books, whatever catches my attention. I used to bike around the city a couple of times a week in the beforetime of this pandemic, and I’m looking forward to that once this whole thing is over. It’s a folding bike. My home is quite small so I can’t have a full-size bike comfortably in here, so I went with a foldy. This is my 2nd one. My first one was made by a different brand, and couldn’t manage my weight, unfortunately, so it eventually broke. This 2nd one is a brompton, the ferrari of folding bikes haha, so it manages my 100kg just fine. I haven’t gone anywhere in particular in my bike, really. I’m not into the so called “touring” side of cycling. Unfortunately that’s a little dangerous to do in my country. I just ride along the city doing my errands and enjoying essentially “speedrunning traffic” in my town, which can get pretty awful at peak hours. I got into tabletop games right before the pandemic, which has put that into a halt since… well, you can’t see anybody. That all sounds awesome, especially the bicycling. And as for comics, you got any particular ones that you frequently buy/read?
Unfortunately I’m a pretty awful reader of pretty much anything, which doesn’t speak well of me as a comics creator, does it? I mostly try to keep up to date with my closest peers’ work. The Eye of Ramalach, Knighthood, Draconia Chronicles. I’ve been trying to finish the still-running Oglaf, but that comic is massive! I personally wish I could read more stuff, but I don’t seem to able to muster the energy or the motivation to do so. And now for the comic MY LIFE WITH FEL. I’ve actually read four of those five comics you mentioned! And for those that haven’t read your fantastic comic, could you give us a description as to what it is all about?
Well, it tries to answer “What if furries were real? except they’re super soldiers made in secret by the government”. It’s a question that has been answered many times in the past, but I think what’s fresh about it is its down to earth, intimate take on the answer. The story is about Fel, a tigress woman who is in the run, and stumbles upon a guy named Al. And it goes on about how they figure their lives out. What happened to the rest of the “hybrids”, and how do they deal with living in hiding. Yeah, I’ve gotten the feeling that they’re eventually going to rise and overturn the human race…or mate with them! Seriously, they’re so athletic. And from the vibrant scenery, I see it takes place overseas. Does it take place in your neck of the woods? Do you use real life scenes as a factor in doing your comic?
The story happens in a fictional island country called Hedron, between the US and Mexico. Visually, it’s a mixture between a mexican city, with its sprawling, convoluted busyness, and an American one, with its tall skyscrapers and its fancy infrastructure. The combination of two perfect forms of architecture! Well done my good fellow! I will say that you have the diverse cast of characters, especially when it comes to the females with all the different species. Do you have a particularly favorite animal?
Take a wild guess. Hm…I’m going to go with kitty cats… And they dance dance dance. And they dance dance dance. While taking a look at your characters, I can see that they have quite the array of fashion when it comes to women, especially tight fashion to say the least. What factors do you consider when it comes to their unique fashion sense?
Well, I try to look at it from a practical sense? They don’t have the time to wear frilly stuff and walk around in high heels. They’re always on the move, always hiding, always running away, always on guard. That’s why I went with a more “athleisure” approach with their looks (since I suppose combat fatigues are harder to obtain if you’re a civilian in hiding). Now if athleisure clothes have gotten more and more eye-catching over the years, that’s not my fault haha. I think the only one that has the privileges of not having to be ready to bolt at any given time is Fel, so she can afford to dress more casually from time to time. Yeah…I can see running in a high heels as not being a good way to escape. And for those that have been reading, you all know what’s coming next. Who is your favorite female character out of the entire cast of My Life with Fel?
I mean, the comic is named after her. I don’t think it gets more obvious than that. Valid point, but I will say that she is one purrfect feline hottie. And to make certain that I’m getting all the facts straight, I saw that you have quite the few social media accounts as seen on FURAFFINITY But to make certain that you get the most traffic, what top three social media accounts do you regularly use? Sure thing as I actually abandoned my FurAffinity account years ago! So I’d appreciate if people stop using that url. There’s my WEBCOMIC SITE!!! My TWITTER ACCOUNT where i interact the most. WARNING! It is NSFW though. So beware! I also have my PICZEL GALLERY Done and done on all accounts! And now for the final question. What is the best way for fans to support you?
There’s two ways. The fast way, is to buy some digital comics from MY STORE The slow way, is to support my work on PATREON, and get some nsfw comics fresh from the presses while you’re at it. Thank you very much for the awesome interview! Thanks a lot for having me! And now, if you all excuse me, time to invest in some athleisure stock! Take care all!