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A Guide to Art and Getting Into the Art Gallery

by lobstermagnetcty


[Note: This guide is mainly for beginners.]

ART GALLERY - Ah, yes. The Art Gallery (henceforth called the "AG"). What a surprise to come home and log on only to discover you are 10K and a rare item richer. And on top of that, your art is being displayed on the site for all to see forever more.

How do you achieve that, you ask? A lot of hard work and a bit of talent won't hurt. ^^

As of now, I've only been featured twice, but I still get a lot of Neomails asking how I got in. ^^ So y'all can read this and I won't have to worry about being Neomail banned. ^^

Let me divide the art guide into two sections for the two types of art: digital (on the computer) and traditional (not on the computer). And we might as well start with digital, since it requires less equipment.

Digital Art

First off, you need an art program. Almost every computer I've ever seen comes with Paint automatically installed at the computer factory. Now Paint is a pretty basic program, but sometimes simple is best. I have seen a lot of people do great things with just this program. If you go to the Beauty Contest board and ask around, you can see the fabulous work that's possible with this simple program. I tend to use it more for very small things like quilt patches, though. And don't worry if you can't make really spiffy picture in Paint, because neither can I or most of the world. ^^

Another great place to draw is an oekaki board. These are similar to Paint but have a few more features. They are also entirely online so you don't have to do anything but register. Many oekakis don't have a restriction on artist skill, but there are some that do. If you are just starting out, you might want to look around for one that has no skill restrictions. Again, a great place to ask is in the Beauty Contest board. Most BCers are friendly and won't bite (although they may ask for a vote)! ^^ When you start out on an oekaki, your art may be unrefined, but within a few posts I can guarantee that your art will get visibly better. ^^ Plus, many people tend to have tutorials. My oekaki is the Draik Clan, which is a great place to join if you have a Draik. ^^

There are also art programs you can download for free. I use Open Canvas 1.1 for this, although when I downloaded it I had to translate it from Japanese. ^^ This program can teach you a lot about layers and is a bit more complicated than the other programs. But you will get the hang of it fairly quickly, usually after just one picture.

There are also some good programs to use that are fairly costly. I know that the average Neopian probably can't afford these tools right off, since they are somewhat expensive. My recommendation is Jasc Paint Shop Pro 8. Mine came bundled with Animation Shop 3, which is a neat little program that has allowed me to make .gif animations. ^^ Other people use Photoshop, but I don't have it so I can't tell you how effective this is. I don't recommend buying a professional art program unless you are really serious about becoming an artist and are planning to use it for things besides Neopets. I also own Corel Painter 8, which came bundled with my tablet, but I haven't installed it.

What's a tablet, you ask? Probably the best art aid around. I use a Wacom Graphire 3 with a pressure sensitive pen. The idea of a tablet is that you draw on it and the drawing appears in whatever art program you have running. The only downside? The price. I bugged my dad for almost a year before getting mine for Christmas. Good ol' Santa Claus! ^^

Traditional Art

Traditional art is usually done with pencil and paper, so first off you need a scanner. If you don't have one, sometimes a digital camera works.

Usually people sketch an outline and then go over it with either colored pencils, markers, or pens. If you use colored pencils, like I do, try to buy a colorless blender at your office supply store and go over your picture with it when you finish coloring it in. Otherwise you may get embarrassing comments about your art looking good for being done in crayon. ^^ (I speak from experience. ^^) Probably the best colored pencils are Prismacolor, but they are quite expensive. If you can't afford to spend that much, Crayolas work nicely, too. I have even seen some people use paints, which I think is quite spiffy! ^^

If you absolutely cannot draw, and you own a digital camera, you can always try making something with your hands (i.e. a pillow, sculpture, stuffed animal, or snow thing). The AG regularly showcases these real-life objects and it is really almost a sure fire way to get in.

Entering the AG

Once you're feeling confident in your art skills, you are going to want to enter the AG. After all, that's what this guide is about, isn't it? ^^

A good time to enter the AG is when a Special Occasion is coming up, like Zafara Day. Neopets always picks art on these days. If your picture is also really cute, you have a double shot at getting in. (Hint: Gory art almost never gets in.)

If there is no Special Day coming up, you can always enter your art anyway, but it can be weeks before it's picked. My first entry, a sculpture of Jeera, my Shoyru, took several weeks to show up. I had completely forgotten about it. But usually if your art doesn't show up after 7-10 days, you should enter it again. Keep in mind you can only enter three files a day. Also, if you put a copyright sign on your picture, it will NEVER get picked. You can put your username on to prevent thefts, though.

Remember, very few people are naturally talented at art. We all were beginners once, but keep practicing and you'll soon be up with the best artists in Neopia.

Happy drawing-


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