Eyes on the Prize: Guide to Obtaining a Paint Brush
Ah, Paint Brushes. They are possibly Neopia's most sought-after rare item, and for good reason. Let's be honest with ourselves--who among us wouldn't cherish the satisfaction of seeing a magical Paint Brush in their inventory, ready and waiting to paint a lucky pet some spectacular, unique color? It's the wish of countless owners and pets everywhere. It certainly must not sound like too bad an idea to you either, dear reader.
But truth be told, the fantasy fails to admit the reality: Paint Brushes are difficult to obtain. For the average Neopian, it would take a miracle for such a dream to come true! Many have tried and faced the obstacles: lack of funds, lack of luck, lack of patience, etc. It's discouraging and upsetting at times. However, it is not impossible for anyone... just look around Neopia. There are painted pets to be found everywhere. Though not easily, success CAN be achieved. You just have to know what you're getting into, and use the strategy that's right for you. I'm here to help with that.
1. Ways to Obtain a Paint Brush
Random Events - you must get a Random Event from Jacko the Phantom Painter. He will give you a random type of Paint Brush to paint your pet with.
Auctions or Trading Post - you have to bid on another user's lot and try to match their asking price, whether with Neopoints or items of equal value.
Contests - some contests, like the Caption Contest, offer special items as prizes to some of their winners. Sometimes the special item you could win is a Paint Brush.
Unfortunately, none of these options are necessarily easy ones. Random Events are, well, random, and you may never get a visit from Jacko the Phantom Painter as that specific Random Event is typically rare. Auctions and the Trading Post require a lot of spending on your part, and asking prices for most popular Paint Brushes are hundreds of thousands of Neopoints... sometimes even millions! Contests, while easy to enter, have countless participants and only a fraction of them are prize winners.
Now that you know your options, let's look at ways to make these options work.
2. Earning Neopoints
There's really nothing you can do about Random Events, so let's move right along to the Auctions or Trading Post option. Neopians know that Paint Brushes are almost priceless, but when it comes time to put a price tag on them, the number of digits alone could get your head spinning. The average asking price for, say, a Halloween Paint Brush is about 600-700 THOUSAND Neopoints, sometimes even more. That will seem like nothing in comparison to the average asking price of a Plushie Paint Brush, which is around 3.1 MILLION Neopoints. It's mind-boggling, for sure. While you might want to rethink committing to the grueling task of gathering 3 million Neopoints, if you are trying to buy a Paint Brush, there are a few simple ways to help your bank account flourish.
The first way is to have a daily to-do list of Neopian activities. Most activites can earn you Neopoints in one way or another. Some obvious choices are the Fruit Machine, Tombola, the Wheels, and Buried Treasure. Every now and then you might get an item you don't want from one of these activites--put it in your shop for sale! If you visit the Giant Omelette and the Giant Jelly daily and have only one or two pets, you should be able to feed them sufficiently without having to spend any of your savings on food. There are tons of other things to do in Neopia that cost you little or nothing and will benefit you in some way, so make sure you look around!
A fun way to earn some Neopoints is to play games! There are so many games to choose from that it should not be difficult to find one that you enjoy playing and that you are good at. No matter what the Featured Game is, you should always at least try playing it. Your Neopoint earnings get doubled with each play, and you can collect Neopoints three times a day, so go for it! Try to play a wide variety of games often, so you can start to get better at them and have a chance of getting a higher score. Also go for the games that can give you a lot of Neopoints without needing a tremendously high score, like Hasee Bounce or Ultimate Bullseye.
If you are consistent with this routine, you will notice that it is not unlikely for you to have a few thousand Neopoints ready to go into your bank account at the end of the day. It may seem tedious at times, but it adds up.
3. Buying a Paint Brush
If you are lucky and patient enough to save up all the Neopoints you need, and it's time to go buy that Paint Brush from the Trading Post or Auctions, find a lot with the lowest asking price and try to match it as closely as possible. Most lots will specify what the item owner expects in an offer. If they want nothing less than what they ask for, make sure you have equal to or more than what they want. You won't get anywhere by making an offer that doesn't match what they've asked for. Once you have made your offer, be patient. The owner might mention if they are online often, and you can always check their userlookup to see how long it has been since they were last online. Don't cancel your offer just because you've been waiting a day and are fed up, and don't send Neomail after Neomail to the item's owner asking where they are and when they will check the offers on their lot. And remember, your offer is not always completely guaranteed in the Trading Post, especially if several offers are made on one item. The owner could always choose another offer if it seems more appealing to them, or simply if it is the one they see first. You never know. You might get turned down, but don't give up! Make an offer on another lot and give the process another try.
Neopia offers several fun and exciting contests with a wide range of topics. Find the one that's right for you and enter! If you're funny and creative, try the Caption Contest. If you're artistic, try the Beauty Contest or submit a drawing to the Art Gallery. If you're a writer, send your works to the Poetry Gallery or the Story-Telling Contest. And of course there is the Random Contest, with a fun new theme every week or so. There are so many ways to showcase your talents that you should definitely be able to enter something. While some contests only offer certain items each week (like Better than You, the Lenny Conundrum, and the Mystery Pic) they also offer Neopoints from a prize pool, which can help you save up for a Paint Brush instead, if you so choose to try that option as well. Please take note that while contests do offer special and rare items, this does not always mean it is a Paint Brush. But having a special or rare item of any kind could potentially help you in places like the Trading Post, or could be sold for huge amounts of Neopoints!
So, that's about it. You may be overwhelmed by all this information, and the knowledge of what you have to do to reach your goal of getting that special Paint Brush. Speaking from experience, working for a Paint Brush is not an easy task! While I myself have not yet reached the light at the end of the tunnel, lots of Neopians have, and those still trying can't give up yet. Try new things, save your Neopoints, get out there and enter a contest... something can always be done to help you along. And one day, when you finally have your Paint Brush and make that special trip to the Rainbow Pool, you'll be glad you kept trying.