The A to Z of Galleries: Life as a Collector
Galleries are one of those things on Neopets that are adored by some, despised by others and invoke complete indifference from still others. I fall into the first category. I love my gallery and enjoy showing it off to other Neopians. Galleries can be very satisfying, but unless you know what you are doing, ‘Gallery-ing’ can be a bit overwhelming.
Now before we get much further, I ought to apologize in advance for my creative suffix use – you are probably aware that words such as ‘Gallery-ing’ and ‘Gallery-er’ do not in fact exist. For the purpose of this article, though, let's assume that ‘Gallery-ing’ means ‘to work on your gallery’ and ‘Gallery-er’ means ‘one who enjoys working on their gallery’.
In short, galleries are places where you can display your most prized possessions to other Neopians – no longer do you need to keep your 35 slorgs in your safety deposit box where they can get slime all over your secret laboratory map pieces – now you can let them run free in their very own gallery (or crawl very slowly in the case of slorgs, I guess). Lots of people display an eclectic range of unrelated items in their galleries; others like to display expensive items they have. Still others like to collect items to a ‘theme’, for example, chocolate or clothes or toys, and only display items that fit into those themes. Confused? Excited? Want to know more? Well, you are in the right place – Welcome to the A – Z of Galleries and your new life as a collector!
A is for Acquire
There is no point having a lovely big gallery with no items in it! Acquiring items is probably one of the most important things about gallery ownership and there are a variety of ways to do it! You might start with raiding your own safety deposit box, buying from other users' stores, restocking from Neopian stores, bidding on auctions, trading unwanted items at the trading post, or for the truly lucky gallery-owner the perfect item will appear at the Money Tree or in a random event. *crosses fingers for Chia Cake to appear in inventory*
When it comes to acquiring, there are of course some things NOT to do! Number one being don’t beg, cheat or steal! Just don’t do it – it's not nice and it makes a lot of Neopians rather cross...
B is for Budget
Unless you are lucky enough to find all the items you want for free (in which case I would love just a smidgen of your luck), or you have lots of very rich neofriends willing to give them to you (and never beg from your rich neofriend either – it's not nice and it is almost guaranteed to make your rich neofriend not want to be your friend anymore), you are going to need a budget for your gallery.
Your budget will depend on lots of things – how expensive the items you want are, how many Neopoints you make, whether you are focusing all of your resources on your gallery or if you are saving for other things as well and goodness knows what else! Obviously, if you want a Faerie Queen Doll for your gallery and a Royal Paintbrush for your pet, you will need to decide which, if either, you are going to give priority to and it may take longer than if you just want a pair of Cybunny Pajamas for your ‘Bedtime’ Gallery.
C is for Categories
Once you have some items and you have opened your gallery, you might choose to put your items into categories. Categories is a nifty little feature in the ‘Edit Description’ section that enables you to choose to display certain groups of items within your gallery by themselves. Categories are great for people with several different, mostly unrelated themes in their gallery (e.g. plushies, jellies and pink things), but they are also good for displaying just one part of your collection. For example, if you collect chocolate, you may wish to organise your items into Milk, Dark and White Chocolate categories. This can be done from the main gallery page by selecting ‘create categories’. Not everyone likes categories, I myself do not use them, but other people LOVE using categories and they can be very effective when items are organised well. The good thing about categories is that the only limit is your imagination... oh and the twenty-category limit imposed in all galleries!
D is for Design
Now that you have some lovely items, a budget in place and you have decided which, if any, categories you are going to use, it might be time to consider a design. All galleries initially have no design apart from the items put in them, although you do have the choice to select a ‘gallery keeper’. But like your shop, user lookup and petpages, you can customize your gallery using html. I am certainly no html expert, but there are lots of friendly Neopians who may be able to help you. You could also look up the helpful html guide written by Neopets.
Another option for design is to get a ‘pre-made’ gallery layout from another user. These are layouts that other Neopets players have created that they let other people use. The most important thing when using a pre-made layout is to ensure you never delete the credit or thanks given to the creator. This is ‘graphics theft’ which fits under ‘lie, cheat or steal’ and you can be frozen or suspended or warned for doing it.
E is for Enlarge
Like your shop, galleries start at size one and can be increased to be as large as you like! Each ‘size’ means you can hold five items. So a size one gallery holds five items, a size two holds ten items and so on. It costs 150 NP to open your gallery and then 200 NP to increase it to size two. From then, every increase will cost the same as the increase before it PLUS an extra 200 NP. So going to size 2 will cost 400 NP, a third upgrade will cost 600 NP, then 800 NP, 1000 NP and so on. This can get quite expensive. My gallery is currently size 52; to upgrade it will cost me 10,400 NP. While this does not sound like a lot, when you do the math I have spent 265,350 NP just on upgrading my gallery – let alone anything inside of it! (Hmm, perhaps this is why my bank account constantly looks a little sick...).
The fact is you cannot get around enlarging a gallery – if you want to display your items, you will need to enlarge – so you should account for upgrades in your budget and forward-planning... and speaking of forward-planning....
F is for Forward-Planning
Even if you don’t love forward-planning and prefer to do things on the spur of the moment, it is especially important if you are planning on having either a huge gallery or a hugely expensive one!
If your gallery is going to be the former, you need to be able to plan for upgrades (see E for Enlarge). If your gallery is going to contain the latter, you need to not only save up for items but also research their price, how often they come up for sale, how common they are and so on. Forward planning may involve (well, for me anyway) making a list of items I want to buy and keeping an eye on my Neopoints and that wish list. Lists mean you have a pretty good idea of where you are going with your gallery in the future and you can keep a goal or goals in sight to keep you motivated! *meditates on the thought of a White Aisha Cupcake before continuing*
G is for Gallery Spotlight
Ah, the elusive Gallery Spotlight... the Gallery Spotlight is a competition run by Neopets ‘spotlighting’ a splendiferous gallery once a week. The trophy is one of the most sought after items by all true Gallery-fanatics as it shows to the world (or at least Neopia) that yes! my gallery is splendiferous! Sadly, many gallery-fanatics never obtain the Gallery Spotlight honor, but if you dare to try, enter here. There is also a board dedicated to Spotlights where you can discuss the weekly winners and get feedback on your own entry. I highly recommend having a look through the previous spotlight winners, as there are some truly amazing galleries floating around Neopia (well, I guess they are floating if they are on Kreludor; otherwise, technically they would be firmly grounded, oh, apart from Faerieland ones, they float too, hmm and Maraquan ones are submerged... and... oh...) you get the picture...
H is for Have-to-have-it-now
The ‘have-to-have-it-nows’ is a common ailment amongst gallery owners. The have-to-have-it-nows is exactly what it sounds like – I have to have that item NOW! There should always be a large emphasis on the ‘now’ and a slightly smaller emphasis on the ‘have’. Sadly, the have-to-have-it-nows can end up costing you dearly in a number of ways – let's use my own personal experiences as the perfect example...
I have-to-have-that-new-cake-NOW! And so I purchase it, the day or within days it is released, usually as an unbuyable, sometimes for hundreds of thousands of Neopoints, only to find it a week later on the shop wizard for a fraction of its original price. Yes, the ‘have-to-have-it-nows’ can cost you lots of Neopoints. My recommendation (if you can stand it) is to try to wait for newly released items to deflate a little before buying them. Of course, you should never wait too long, as they may inflate once they are retired!
The second way the ‘have-to-have-it-nows’ can affect you adversely is when you impulse items that perhaps don’t really fit into your theme and then you have to either sell or stash. ‘Impulsing’ is when you buy an item really quickly without really thinking about it – for example, if I brought a Baby Paintbrush without really thinking about it I would be in trouble because a) it won’t fit in with my gallery theme and b) I don’t really want to paint any of my neopets baby. Therefore I would have to choose to either stash it in my SDB (where chances are it will be lost forever in that mess!) or sell it – often at a loss. While this have-to-have-to-it-now is not as devastating as the ‘300k today, 10k tomorrow’ mistake, it means your Neopoints are not available for more important items that you have-to-have-right-now!*
*despite my wise words here, I fit firmly within the have-to-have-it-now group, and I never seem to learn the lesson I am trying to teach here! But dear readers, do as I say, not as I do and your bank account will thank you!
I is for Ideas and Inspiration
There is no point in having a gallery unless you are inspired to fill it! You might get your inspiration from things you like such as colours or beauty products, you might base your gallery on a certain Neopet species, or you might like a very quirky idea. Regardless of where your idea comes from, unless you are inspired by it, there is just no point in having a gallery.
A note to all potential gallery owners, you might change your ideas at some point. I started off first with a legal gallery, but found that I had no inspiration for it (which made Lawyerbot feel rejected, but I hear he soon moved on), so I moved onto my current gallery. It’s okay to change your mind! Especially if you lack inspiration.
J is for Jubilant
Jubilant is that feeling that you get after acquiring a particularly evasive, expensive or desired item. You may also experience jubilation after the tedious task of ranking all of your items, finishing a new layout, winning the elusive Gallery Spotlight or when new items relating to your gallery are released (or activated *pokes inactive cakes with a cake fork*). All serious Gallery-ers are familiar with that jubilant feeling in some way or another. All new Gallery-ers will no doubt become familiar with the feeling.
The problem with Gallery-jubilation is that it's addictive – no sooner are you jubilant over obtaining, say a Jhuidah Faerie Doll, you are looking out for your next conquest, say a Psellia Doll – note the price difference? (Approximately 100k NP compared to 1M NP.) Oh yes, and it's only going to get worse *gently pokes the Darkest Faerie Doll at 40M NP!*; this is why I collect cakes and not Dolls!
K is for Keep At It
Keep at it is better said as persistence, but persistence does not start with K and I am up to K and if I put a P here people would laugh at me. Most new gallery owners find the first few items very easy to get; after all, they are often cheap and easy to get hold of. But when you realise the next item on your list for your Cat Gallery is a Kadoatie at a tidy 4 million Neopoints, it is easy to get a little disheartened. After all 4 million Neopoints is a lot of games of Meerca Chase! When you get disheartened, don’t give up; take a few days off of your gallery if need be, but always keep at it – particularly when you are so close to finishing a gallery or you are very attached to what you have so far.
L is for Location
Like shops, galleries reside in Worlds. Where you choose to locate your gallery is important, as people can choose to search galleries by their location. For this reason people usually choose to locate their galleries in ‘appropriate worlds’. For example, a spooky food gallery in the Haunted Woods, a rock gallery in Tyrannia, a treasure gallery on Krawk Island and so on. Never fear, though; if you change your gallery theme, you can also change your location if you so desire – this way you can be sure your faerie gallery will not feel out of place in the Virtupets Space Station. That said, there is no rule that you HAVE to have your gallery in an ‘appropriate’ world, after all, I am sure tough pirates love cupcakes as much as the cuddly residents of Neopia Central!
M is for Market Place
Ah, the marketplace is a wonderful place indeed. The marketplace is where most new gallery owners will begin their quest to acquire lots of amazing items for their new pride and joy. A few things to note about the marketplace:
- The marketplace is where fellow Neopians sell their goods to the public, so by buying from the marketplace you are supporting local business; doesn’t that make you feel good?
- However, you can only buy items priced up to 99,999 NP from the marketplace. These items are known as ‘buyable’ items. If you want items 100,000 NP and over, you will need to go to the Trading Post on Mystery Island or the Auctions.
- Don’t buy from the first shop you see – shop around for a good deal by using the friendly shop wizard! If you cannot find the item you want using the Shop Wizard, there is a good chance it is worth over 99,999 NP.
N is for Neopoints
Yes, and you are going to need a lot of them if you intend on really getting into this gallery thing. You also need to get used to never having a lot of Neopoints on hand. I myself have such a bad case of have-to-have-it-nows that I very rarely have a lot of Neopoints, but I have my lovely gallery to console me! *snuggles* Actually I don’t recommend snuggling a cake gallery – it gets all squishy and sticky... If you intend on gallery-ing, I suggest you either save up a lot of Neopoints or get very good at earning them! Whatever you do, don’t beg for Neopoints and items; it's just plain rude and it is far more rewarding to earn your things yourself. That said, if some nice Neopian does want to give you a present, say thanks and display it proudly in your gallery! Which reminds me, thanks, Chyrie! On a side note, it is nice to give people items out of the blue sometimes. Just don’t give them to people who are begging; it only reinforces bad behaviour.
O is for Originality
Many gallery-owners are forever on the hunt for original gallery themes so their gallery stands out. Originality is thought to benefit you in the spotlight and it is nice to have an original gallery rather than one of 30,000 dedicated to Jelly. Some of the most original themes I have seen include: items with buttons on them, items with corks and galleries devoted to a specific activity (like sleeping or camping). Some of the most common themes include jelly, faerie and plushie galleries. That does not mean a common theme is a bad thing, but in order for your gallery to really stand out, you will usually need many items and lots of Neopoints so you have some uncommon items as well as lime and smelly jelly (hee hee, I am a poet and did not know it... hee hee, I did it again!) .
P is for Passion
But building on from originality is passion. Quite frankly, there is no use having a truly unique and original theme if you are not passionate about it – very soon you will be bored with your gallery if you are not passionate about the items you are collecting. If you have started a collection and you are finding that you are not enjoying it, sell your gallery and start again! It may take a number of attempts before you find your true passion. I myself have gone through a number of themes before arriving at my current gallery – I was not passionate enough about any of my previous themes to continue my collecting. And it should go without saying that if your passion is not necessarily original, who cares? Passion should always come before originality (unless you are writing an article for the Neopian Times in alphabetical order, in which case it is a little difficult and by virtue of the construction of the alphabet you are forced to put passion after originality...).
Q is for Quests
No, I am not talking about faerie quests (after all, I have already mentioned that running around asking other Neopians for free items is a little rude... and in my opinion those faeries fit squarely in the begging category. I mean, sure, sometimes they give you something in return, but usually the lab ray just takes it away or you forget about it or something like that... speaking of forgetful, where was I?). I am talking about personal quests! Guaranteed you will come across one while you are Gallery-ing – whether it be expensive, hard to obtain, retired, or so popular no one wants to part with them a personal quest for a specific item can be great fun, and a source of a wee bit of stress!
Quite often ‘Quest’ items possess all of these characteristics (expensive, hard to obtain and retired); take, for example, a Negg Gallery looking for the ultra rare Fish Negg. At the time I wrote this article, the fish negg was estimated to be worth over 30 million Neopoints (expensive); there was only one on the trading post and the user with it was only going to accept a trade for certain items (hard to obtain). The fish negg is retired and because it is so rare and expensive, not many people want to part with them! Good luck with this personal quest!
Of course, your own personal quest may not be as ambitious. If you are after a gourmet food, it may be expensive and hard to obtain because it is very popular, but it might not be retired – alternatively, your quest might be one of quantity (which also starts with Q!). Quantity collecting is when you collect lots of one item instead of many different items – for example, you might be aiming to collect 10,000 pieces of dung (ewww, but let's roll with that). Dung is not expensive, hard to obtain, or retired, but if you want all of that dung, it's going to take a while – and thus you have a quest on your hand! (Quantity is also a term used for being cheeky and slotting in two headings under one letter in a Neopian Times article. Oops.)
R is for Ranking
Ranking is how the items in your gallery are displayed. Because a gallery is for displaying your items, ranking is an imperative (albeit sometimes frustrating) activity. Basically ranking means you give your items a number that corresponds to how they will appear in your gallery. For example, if you wanted your Ultra Fashionable Potato sack to be the first thing people see when they look at your gallery, you would rank it at number one.
Because TNT is so clever, you can rank in decimals. Basically this means you can use decimals to squeeze items in between other items without re-ranking your entire gallery. This is very helpful as once you get to over two hundred items, re-ranking the entire gallery to fit a pile of dung in second place is impractical – rather, using decimals, you can call your pile of dung ‘1.1’ and it will rank automatically as the first item after the item numbered ‘1’. Good ranking makes a gallery; bad ranking can destroy it! Bad ranking means all items thrown in higgledy-piggledy, with no real method. Items tend to look nicer if (for example) all of your cupcakes are together, then all of your cups of tea, rather than having them mixed up. Many people like to rank similar items (e.g. eyeshadow, then lipsticks) together or similar colours (e.g. blue items then red items). If you need tips with ranking, try the Help or Spotlight Boards.
S is for Shopping!
This heading really ought to be read in conjunction with ‘Acquire’, ‘Budget’ and ‘Forward-Planning’ – however, ‘S’ is later in the alphabet than A and B so I had no choice in the matter! Shopping is a huge pleasure in life; it's so much fun to head out to the marketplace and come back with something new and shiny! (Unless you have a gross food gallery, then it's probably old and disgusting, but hey – one person’s trash is another’s treasure!) Quite frankly, I cannot really think about anything bad about shopping (besides the lack of neopoints at the end, but I am used to it!). Sure, you should set a budget, plan ahead and avoid the have-it-nows as I have already wisely said, but quite frankly I am not the best Neopian to be giving that sensible advice when it comes to the amazing vice of shopping! So in short, gallery-ing will involve shopping, lots of it; enjoy!
T is for Themes
I touched on this briefly in Originality and Inspiration. Themes are an important part of gallery-ing; without a theme of some description, you are likely to lack direction and thus persistence. That said, possible themes are as wide as your imagination! And even better, you are not limited to just one theme! Galleries can be set up to have lots of themes, so if you cannot decide between collecting lions, tigers or bears, who cares! (Ooh, more poetry; I clearly have a hidden talent.) Collect them all! A word of advice, though, is to rank and separate your items (whether through ranking or themes) carefully so you don’t get theme-flow over. Theme flow over is when your lions, tigers and bears get all mixed up and as a result of this flow over, viewers of your gallery generally have no idea what it is you are trying to achieve.
Another option, if you cannot choose just one theme, is to set up a gallery on a side-account. Just remember you must fund your gallery through your main account only.
U is for Unsure
Sometimes you may feel unsure about something in or about your gallery. You might be worried that your theme is confusing, that you are ranking items all over the place or that your layout is dreadful. In these cases of uncertainty, you are best to chat to your fellow Neopians. While it is a little quiet, the Spotlight Chat is a great place to get some feedback from passionate ‘gallery-ers’; just be prepared to wait a while for an answer, because normally we are off dusting items and acquiring new stuff for our own galleries. If you NEED an answer now, the Help Chat might be your best bet for a bit of Quick Help from those helpful Neopians.
Another way to deal with unsure-ness (yet more creative suffix use, but the heading is unsure, not uncertain and I don’t really want to change it now!) is to sleep on it, whether it be overnight or over a few days. Take some time off from your gallery and look on it with fresh eyes later – you may come up with an amazing solution, or decide that there is in fact no problem.
V is for Value
When putting together your gallery, you may find that one of the most common methods is to work from the best value item to the most expensive item. This makes sense as it means you can build up a decent number of items quickly before moving onto the more expensive ones. An example of the ‘Value to Expensive’ method would be if you had a faerie food gallery; you would buy a ‘Cherry-tastic Faerie Pie’ first and the ‘Ultra Nova Pop’ last. Of course the ‘Value to Expensive’ method should not be too prescriptive; if the Ultra Nova Pop came up for a great price, it would be silly not to buy it earlier than you otherwise would have.
W is for Wizard
Well, Wizard, Genie and Trading Post Faerie to be exact! When buying items for your gallery, always research the prices carefully and make use of the friendly Shop Wizard, Auction Genie and Trading Post Faerie to ensure you are getting a fair price. If you are trying to purchase a hard to find or rare item, you may need to go to the Shops and Trading or Auctions boards to find potential sellers of your item. When it comes to very expensive items, research carefully; it would not do to have a less scrupulous Neopian than yourself attempt to rip you off (see lie, cheat and steal and why not to do it).
X is for ...
X is an evil letter. It should be deleted from all alphabetically based articles as you just cannot use ‘X’ unless you really scrape the bottom of the barrel... eXcellent, eXciting. X-cetera (hee hee).
Y is for Your-Almost-There
Speaking or scraping the bottom of the barrel... but seriously, first you are almost at the end of this article and thus you are almost a bona fide gallery-er! The your-almost-there feeling also comes into play when you have almost completed your gallery! Of course, whenever you are ‘almost-there’, TNT have a habit of releasing new items that fit in your theme perfectly! This is not a bad thing; this is a great thing! A true gallery-er is always excited when new items are released as the whole process can then begin again; the hunt, the purchase and the display is a very satisfying thing!
Z is for Zen
Ah, Zen; at the end of my article is the most appropriate place for this feeling. Zen is the feeling of absolute calm you experience after a particularly satisfying acquisition or other goal is met. Zen may be experienced after redoing your layout, finishing eight hours of ranking, purchasing a multi-million-neopoint item or – very rarely – after completing your gallery! Zen ought to be enjoyed while you can, because it is sure to wear off, and even if you complete your gallery, new items are almost certain to be released and you will, once again, be on the hunt for some new gallery items!
And so we reach the end of our time together – I trust this article has been useful to you and that you now better understand the passion, sweat, tears and Neopoints that go into a beautiful gallery! Now, if you will excuse me, I am going to play 3000 games of Meerca Chase so I can buy an Irate Zafara Claw. Disclaimer! Please keep your Irate Zafara Claws away from Lawyerbot – when they bite, Irate Zafara Claws cause Lawyerbot to come out in a nasty rash...