BEAUTY CONTEST - If you have ever wanted to win the Beauty
Contest but think you can't draw, don't have a fancy graphics program, or are
not popular, read on! Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to be a great
artist or be popular in order to win a trophy for your pet. One of the biggest
parts of the Beauty Contest is your presentation.
This article will teach you how to present your pet in the best light so that
all your advertising efforts are not in vain. A poor presentation will turn
voters away, even if you are popular or a great artist. This is purely a presentation
guide, so please use that nice little search box on your right and type in 'beauty'
if you want to read articles on how to advertise your entry.
The Pose - Showing off your pet's personality
One of the biggest blunders pet owners make when drawing their pet for the
Beauty contest is not showing off their pet's personality. Nothing turns voters
away more than a blank stare. To capture people's attention, you are going to
have to come up with something visually exciting that really shows off something
unique about your pet.
Think about the personality of your pet. What activities do they like to participate
in? A drawing that shows them doing their favorite activity can really make
them shine. If your pet just loves to sit there and look pretty, you might try
a coy look or a sparkle in their eye to convey attitude or emotion. Anything
you can think of to keep your pet from having a blank expression will get you
on the right track.
Another factor is the species you choose. Look at past winners for the species
that you own. Some categories are easier to win because they have very few entries.
If you had, say, an Aisha and a Buzz to choose between, you'd be better off
drawing your Buzz because very few people enter that category. If your drawing
shows personality, time, and attention to detail, you have a great chance of
winning in a small category even if your drawing ability is almost nonexistant.
With the right pose, any species can be a showstopper.
A great way to come up with a pose is to play with your real life Neopets
Plushies! If you got some mini plushies during the McDonald's Happymeal promotion,
or have larger ones from Limited Too, use them! Set them on your desk,
turn them around, upside down, sideways, any which way you can turn them. Gather
some images from Neopets, such as from the TCG and Caption Contest to help you
as well. Just remember, be original! Copying or tracing the standard pet poses
will not help your drawing be unique and may cause people to think your drawing
is a C&P. Once you settle on a pose, it's time to start sketching.
Drawing -It's not magic
There are many different mediums to draw with, and all have an equal chance
of winning a trophy in the Beauty Contest. Most people do not have expensive
graphics programs, and they don't help you draw better anyhow. In fact, if you
don't know how to use it, it can make your artwork look awful. Pens, pencils,
colored pencils, charcoal sticks, paints, and many other things can be used
to get your ideas onto paper. This is where everyone should start.
No artist just sits down and draws a masterpiece. Each line takes thought
and planning. Spending time sketching some poses, even if it's just stick figures,
will help shape your drawing. Even if you like to draw on the computer, it's
a good idea to start with a sketch first and scan it in so you have some reference
lines and know what you want to draw. If your drawing is going to be done completely
on paper, then scanned for entry, you will still want to make some rough sketches
first before starting on your final drawing.
Neopets How to Draw guide
is the best way to understand the shapes that make up each pet. Yes, shapes!
All drawings are made up of circles, ovals, squares, rectangles and triangles.
Using shapes to begin your drawing will help keep you from making bodies too
long, arms too short, and heads too big. Compare the Sketch pets with the How
to Draw guides for the same pets, and you will see remnants of the circles the
Neopets artists used to shape their drawings! After the basic shapes are laid
out, curvy lines connect them together and begin the outline of the pet. After
this, details are added and the original sketch lines gently erased. Never try
to copy exactly, just let yourself draw, and your drawing will take on its own
unique personality that only you can give it.
Once you have your final sketch, outline or trace over it and color it in.
Are you finished? You may think so, but your drawing is going to appear flat
and lifeless to your potential voters! A little shading can make your drawing
come to life, and adding a background or some items can add interest and activity
to it too. Adding your pet's petpet to the drawing is an exciting way to add
Whether you are using paper or the computer to draw with, viewing other artwork
and drawing guides can be of great value. You can search your local library
for art books, or even online for tutorials. There are guides out there for
every drawing medium and every graphics program you might use. Be resourceful
and find things that will help you learn how to draw what you want to draw.
Even if you are the worst artist in the world, using some clever techniques
will give your drawings depth and interest.
When you have trouble drawing, viewing a reference picture can help set you
straight. Say the hands you were drawing looked very awkward; you might find
a drawing with hands in the pose you wanted and try to mimic the angles of the
wrists and fingers. Or stand in front of a mirror and hold your hands in the
pose you were thinking of, and study how your own hands look and try to recreate
those angles in your drawing. Remember, you're not striving for perfection,
you're just trying to remove awkwardness from your drawing and add interest
Faking It -So, you can't draw, eh?
The dreaded 'C&P' (cut and paste)! Everybody hates them and criticizes people
for entering them, yet they do have their place in the Beauty Contest. Do not
let anybody make you feel badly for entering a C&P if you put a lot of thought
and effort into it, and never harass someone else for entering a C&P.
Not everyone knows how to draw, or is comfortable drawing. Some young children
cannot draw something that looks like their pet, and rather than get frustrated,
use a Neopets image for their entry. Some people even prefer to use a C&P because
their entry is an idea rather than a drawing (most often these involve humor).
If you choose to use a C&P, for whatever reason, you are going to have to
put time and effort into it and make it look like you worked hard on it. If
you are helping your child enter a C&P, encourage them to do more than scribble
hair onto their pet; balloons, stars, funny shoes, etc. will really make a difference
in how voters react to the C&P. When the viewer can tell that it was done by
a very small child, the reaction is often positive and can lead to a vote based
on the 'Aww, isn't that cute!' factor. If you are helping your child enter,
make a note in their speech that the entry is by a young child.
Size -Resizing your picture to that dreaded 17k
When you enter your drawing it will be refused unless it is under 17k in size.
There are several things to keep in mind while optimizing your image.
When sizing your picture, keep in mind that the first time most people see
your drawing it will be as a 60x60 pixel thumbnail next to 11 other entries.
If you have a lot of white space around your drawing, it will appear too tiny
and most people will not bother to click on it. It's also a good idea to make
a square drawing, rather than a rectangle. Neopets will resize your entry everywhere
except the voting page, and a rectangular image will get squished and distorted.
Neopets Beauty Contest accepts GIF and JPG filetypes. Often JPGs need to be
saved at a high quality to prevent a blurry image, but this can make the file
size too large. GIFs most often give you a smaller file size, but can pixelate
color gradations. You just have to play around and determine which filetype
is best for your image. Once you find the lowest image quality your drawing
can handle, if it's still not under 17k you will have to shrink your drawing
a little. Using a lot of filters and shadows in a graphics program can increase
your filesize dramatically, so keep it simple and clean. Blurry or pixelated
images are a big turn off, so do everything you can to avoid them.
If you cannot get your image down to 17k without resizing it very small, why
not try cropping it? Sometimes a portion of an image can be very dramatic! Omitting
the background can often reduce your filesize just enough to get it under the
limit. If you still wish for people to be able to view the whole image, then
in your speech direct people to check out your pet page to see the full image.
A cropped or unadorned picture will get you infinitely more votes than a blurry,
squashed one, so be mindful when resizing your image.
Speech -This can make you or break you
Most entries do not have a speech that grabs the voter's attention. Quite
often the caption can be so lackluster that people decide not to vote afterall,
and leave in search of an entry that shows the artist truly cares about their
pet. Not having any speech is like asking people not to vote for you.
So what makes a great speech? Well, first of all, make it readable. Most people
do not know 'chat speak', and find it easier to read when capital letters and
punctuation are used. Say something about your pet and what they are doing in
the drawing. Involve people in your drawing and they will feel compelled to
vote. Do not make apologies for your drawing, nor tell them there is a better
version on your pet page; they are already looking at your drawing! Say something
to keep them there and vote, not drive them away! If your drawing doesn't look
good right there, they are most likely not going to take a trip to your pet
page to see more of it.
If this is your first time entering, let people know. Don't sound timid, sound
self assured. Make people feel happy to be voting for your pet. Any information
you can put in your speech that will get people to realize the effort you put
into your drawing will make them feel good about voting for you.
Neopets gives you 8 lines of space for your speech. Use it! Think about your
drawing and what you want your voters to notice about it. You can make the speech
sound like it's coming from you, or make it sound as if your pet wrote it. The
use of humor, mini stories and even poetry are just some ways you can make your
speech stand out.
View some entries in the Beauty Contest and read their speeches, then think
about how you would have written it differently. Think about whether the speech
had a positive or negative impact on the drawing. Studying other people's entries
can help you to realize what your potential voters are going to be experiencing.
Being more creative than 'hiyaz, itz muh 1st time, plz vote!' will set you miles
ahead of your competition!
Advertising -Basic guide
As stated at the beginning of this article, use the neat little search box
up on your right there to search for Neopian Times articles that tell you how
to advertise for the Beauty Contest. But part of your presentation is where
and how you present, so read on.
People will be visiting your shop, lookup, and pet pages just as they would
if your pet were not in the Beauty Contest. You'll want to place a picture and
link on all these pages in order to draw in voters. Place text underneath your
image inviting the viewer to click and vote. If you don't know how to do this,
use the Neopets HTML Guide
to help you. Don't overlook any of your space on Neopets where you could be
getting one or two extra votes.
On your pet's page, talk about your drawing. Tell your potential voters something
about your pet, what inspired you, what you drew with, how hard you worked,
etc. Often people will vote when they are let in on the artist's process. Also
they are more likely to remember you and your pet next time you enter!
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
You don't have to create a masterpiece
Take a look through several species, and you will soon notice that most of the
entries show very little time and effort, and often lack adoration for their
pet. There are rarely more than two entries in each category that are expertly
drawn, and even more rare are entries by popular people. By putting a lot of
effort into your presentation you can edge out the minor competition and move
right up to the top. Of course, it still takes a lot of advertising, but all
the advertising in the world doesn't help a blurry, small, lackluster drawing.
Show off your pet
Let everyone know just how proud you are of your pet. In your speech, as well
as any advertisements, make sure you say something that lets people get to know
something about your pet. A fabulous drawing can be ruined by the lack of love
of the owner. Just ordering people to vote can turn them away from even the
best drawings. Make sure you let people know just how special your pet is and
they will take a second look at your drawing and probably vote for it. A lot
of people vote for enthusiasm and effort, not just beauty!
Never miss an opportunity to advertise
Don't feel you have to spend every moment of the week advertising, but do make
the most of the time you do have. Get your pet pages, lookups, shop, etc. ready
before the contest starts. This way you have more free time to post on the NeoBoards
and whatever else you do to advertise. Every vote counts, and pets often lose
by just one or two votes.
Never put your work down
Some people run around begging for pity because they can't draw, or advertising
the fact that they only spent five minutes drawing their picture. This is not
what voters are looking for! While you may get some reassuring comments from
other people, you will not get their votes. Showing pride in your work gives
voters the confidence to vote in you because they know you actually care about
your pet and did not enter just to try and win a prize.
Don't give up
Most people don't win their first time, so don't quit just because you lose
once. Remember, if you don't enter, you can't win! It takes a lot of practice
and dedication to win. Whenever you lose, whether it is your first or twentyfirst
entry, take a step back and look at your competition that beat you out. Figure
out what they did that you didn't do, and try to apply that to your next entry.
Participating in the Beauty Contest can be a lot of fun but winning takes effort,
just like any other game on Neopets. I hope this article left you with some
knowledge of what it takes to win. Remember, it's not entirely about drawing
ability or popularity; anyone who loves their pet, works hard, practices, and
learns how the Beauty Contest work has the potential to win a trophy. If you
have any questions, feel free to Neomail me.