Howdy! My name is Sunny, and welcome to Dare! Dare is my brand new customization guide. I've had a lot of people who have checked out my customization ideas and have asked me how I came up with those customizations. Eventually I had enough people comment about it that I thought....Sunny, you really need to write another customization guide.
A few years ago, I had written a guide titled Encee's Guide to Style. But I left neopets for around a year, and a lot changed and most of that info eventually went out of date.
But first, let's ask the question, WHY CUSTOMIZE?
It's a question that some people, particularly those who are a little bit lonely for the old days, tend to ask. What's the POINT of customizing? Why do you do it? I've found there's a myriad of reasons for it, and in this section I'll be listing a few of the most commonly found reasons.
This is a reason to customize. Some people really do not like the boring and plain "stature" of pets that are not customized. I mean, sure, you have a blue shoyru. But there's also 2.3 Billion* people who also have blue shoyrus that look just like yours if they're unclothed. You want to make your pet look like it's yours. Not to mention you just can't stand looking at it anymore.
* 2.3 Billion is an estimate. It does not reflect the actual number of Blue Shoyru Owners in Neopia.
And honestly, this is a perfectly good reason to customize. The thing that's important for you to do though is not to throw clothes on that pet willy nilly. That will just end up with the pet looking even more awkward than it did before.
Someone is not pleased...
Reason #2: I have a character for this pet!
Sometimes you want a pet to look like the character that you've created for it. That's ok too. Sometimes customization items can even inspire new characters.
This is my personal list of resources that I commonly use when coming up with customizations. I recommend all of these sites to you without any hesitation!
General ResourcesColor Palette Generator/Eyedropper
I'm not going to point you to any specific examples because of TNT's rules about mentioning offsite places, but there's various places on the web where you can find eyedropping tools and color palette generators. What I like to do is eyedrop the color of a certain pet/item and then input that hex code into a color palette generator just to see what it comes up with. Sometimes this can help me to think outside the box when it comes to deciding on a color scheme for customizations.
A Visual Reference (optional)
If you're going to be creating customizations based off of real people, or characters from your favorite books, movies, comics, TV series' etc, you may want to find some pictures of those people so you can compare them to your customization. I've found this to be incredibly helpful!
Dressing RoomsSunnyneo's Dressing Room
The benefit that Sunnyneo's dressing room offers is the ability to REALLY filter all of the customization items. Filter them by theme, color, zones, etc. I like using this along with Dress to Impress so I can put together great previews.
The main thing going for JN's wardrobe is it's reliability. Sometimes Dress to Impress goes on the blink, or Sunnyneo's filtering system filters a little TOO much. Jellyneo is a really good "middle of the road" option when the other two aren't behaving. But the fact that saving outfits requires a JN account can be a little off-putting for those who don't want to sign up for an account.
Dress to Impress
Dress to Impress, also called "DTI" is my personal favorite wardrobe. Mainly because it has something that neither JN or SN can offer. And that is the ability to put previews of customizations on petpages. I also like it because of it's ease of use, and the uncomplicated design. Most of the customizations you'll see on this page are previews from DTI.
Neocash RelatedNC Value Guide (/~Clara).
This guide is a good estimate for current NC item values if you're going to be doing NC trading. While some people complain about value guides, it's best to remember that they are needed to keep people from being ripped off. Just make sure you don't take it's word as law, and you should be fine.
NC Value Guide (/~Saphronn).
This guide is another alternative value guide. Sometimes it's good to compare these two to each other. Most NC chatters agree that /~Clara is the most updated, however both can be used as a reference.
The Basics: Color
Color is something that is very important, not only in art, but in fashion as well. The colors you choose to wear can reflect your personal style, and your personality as well. The same can be said of your pets.
Now, for our section of color, we're going to go a wee bit into the world of Color Theory. Don't worry. I'm not one of those really scientific people who's going to explain to you exactly why we see the color red, or what-have-you. We're just going to get into the very basics of color schemes.
In the visual arts, color theory is a body of practical guidance to color mixing and the visual effects of a specific color combination. TL:DR; It's about choosing colors in color schemes to make them look good.
Monochromatic color schemes are color schemes that focus on various shades of one color. So if you see a pet that's dressed up in various purple items, you may just be seeing a Monochromatic color schemed customization.
This is an example of a monochromatic color scheme in a color palette.
There's a lot of customizers (myself included), who really like monochromatic color schemes, particularly when it relates to how that color looks with a certain neopet's base color. The example below is a pretty good indicator of that.
In this case, it's all shades of a purple-blue, which compliments the base color of this stealthy ixi.
When two colors are across from each other on the color wheel, they are Complimentary colors. Complimentary colors are good for making things POP, but if not managed correctly...they can be a little bit too strong.
Examples of two complimentary colors...
Examples of complimentary colors in a simple customization...
As suggested by the name, Adjacent colors are adjacent to each other on the color wheel. Adjacent colors are often found in nature.
Here's an example of Adjacent colors...
And here's an example of adjacent colors in a customization!
A unique spin on complimentary colors. First, find two complimentary colors (Ex: Yellow and Purple), then instead of using one of them (ex: Yellow) you use the two colors that are NEXT to the one you decided to use. (In this case, orange and green.)
The benefit of this color scheme over the complimentary color scheme is that it provides the same contrast without being as shocking to the viewer.
Triadic colors are colors that are arranged in a triangle on the color wheel like so:
Triadic schemes are known for their vibrancy, even when you use very light or dark hues! Here's an example of a triadic color scheme:
An example of a customization with triadic colors.
Tetrad colors are colors that form a rectangle on the color wheel, with each color being a "point" or "corner" of the rectangle, where two complimentary pairs are formed. It's a very rich color scheme, but it can be difficult to balance out if you're not experienced.
I think I'm just going to stick to this as an example, because I doubt I have the abilities to show you a really 100% perfect Tetrad color customization.
The Basics: Base Color
Guilty confession time. Ready? Here we go. I'm a Pound Chatter. Yep. You'd expect someone who's as customization crazy as I am to hang around the customization chat, or the NC chat. And while I've lurked those boards a time or two, the Pound Chat has always been my home board. And sometimes, those poor PC'ers (I love 'em to death) are very confused about why White Kacheeks are popular. The answer is simple. It's a matter of Base Color.
Base Color refers to the color of the skin/fur/hair/scales/feathers/etc that make up a neopet.
If you're a general customizer, and you want to dress one pet up in a lot of outfits, you'll want a pet that has a base color that doesn't clash with a lot of customizations. White Pets, Desert Pets, (some) Island Pets, Brown Pets, etc are typically preferred in these cases. It's best to try (if possible) to avoid crazy colors such as starry, split, custard, snot, glowing, etc.
One example of a good base color pet.
An example of a base color that didn't exactly work out with the same customization.
Now, if you're a character customizer, chances are the pet already has a set color. In that case, there's not much you can do. You'll just have to customize that pet to match that base color to the best of your abilities.
The Basics: Shape
One of the things any artist will eventually learn is that there are different body shapes and sizes. There's people who have thin and lanky builds, and others who have more muscular builds. There's some who have high waists, and others who have low waists. Even though clothes are made in many sizes, there are some clothes that fit different body shapes better than others. This concept also applies to neopets.
Notice how different the same two items look between these very different body types? This is a good example of that. Sometimes if you like how an item looks in the item preview, but hate it on a certain species (ex: ixi), then it might be worth it to try it on another species before you entirely give up on it.
The Basics: Zones
This section is about where you start when you customize. The inspiration for your customization is just as important as the final product. You see, there are different kinds of customizations, and what type of customization you are trying to make will impact how you go about customizing.
The type of customization really does matter. Here's a few examples of how the type of character will affect your choices in item:
Character Creator: Everything doesn't have to match, but everything in the customization needs to tie into the story and "make sense".
Theme Customizer: The pet must match the theme, so only items that match the theme or lend to the completion of that theme will do.
Real People/Characters Customizer: The pet must be easily recognized as a tribute to that person or character, so the items must look as close to the "real deal" as possible.
Artistic Customizer: The cost of the items doesn't matter as long as they all look good together, and the customization looks beautiful!
Economic Customizer: The look has to be cheap, but effective as a customization as well.
Character customizations are some of the hardest to do, and there's a good reason for it. The reason is, TNT cannot possibly enter your brain and come up with ther perfect set of clothes for every character that pops into your head. Even MORE so if you are an artist who loves to come up with clothing designs of your own.
Your starting point is really going to depend on how the character idae is framed. Is this character living entirely in your head at the moment, or have you managed to draw him/her? If you've managed to draw him/her, the challenge will be to try to find neopian items that will be as close to your drawing as possible.
If the character idea is rough in your head, then that's where it really starts to get...interesting. This gives you a bit more freedom to experiment. Let's give this a shot with a quick example.
Tricks and Tips
There are certain problems that can pop up when you customize, due to issues with how objects fit on neopets. Thankfully, we have a method to help take care of some problems using the idea of layering.
Layering: Using two items that occupy the same area on a pet's body, but are zoned differently.
One of the problems that lots of owners of four legged pets can attest to is the problem of short dresses. By short, I mean short in the front, such as this one:
Now, there's a few commonly used methods to deal with something like this. Sometimes folks will try adding a necklace, boa, or some sort of collar item to help make that area a little bit more busy...
I've done this myself a few times, but one method that I've hit on is something that I like to call "Dress/Jacket Layering". Basically it's about layering another item on top of certain parts of a dress so that it looks a bit better. Like this example:
The benefit to something like this is the ability to hide low necklines, as well as creating a very interesting look. The key is that the bottom layer is in the "Dress/Shirt" zone, and the top layer is in the "Jacket" zone. Now, there's also some cases where you can layer two dresses on top of each other because there are a few select dresses that are layered as jackets.
In this customization, I once again ran into the issue of a dress being a wee bit too short in the front. Thankfully this dress is zoned as a jacket, and thus we can add another dress under it to give this poor ixi a bit more modesty.
Years ago I ran a site that talked in-depth about this subject, but due to the deflation of certain items due to Dyeworks and other things, it seemed like TNT was actively trying to address the issue of alternatives, so I felt a full site wasn't needed anymore. Regardless, I will still talk about this issue a little so you all can get some ideas and try it for yourself.
Neocash trading can be a pain in the rear to be honest, particularly when one item skyrockets in popularity, causing it's value to rise. Take for example, this item:
Balthazars Bag of Bottled Faeries goes for 300+ mystery capsules.
Now take a look at this amazing item.
This bag of Mystery Capsules? Just over three mystery capsules.
For a good two hundred plus caps less, you can get a very similar item that has the same "idea" as the Bag of Bottled Faeries without having to pay as much. And the great thing is, sometimes the alternatives can even look better than the thing they're replacing. For example:
I personally don't know about you, but I actually like the second one a bit better than the first. Because not only is it much cheaper, but I really love the columns and the flowers going all the way back. Not to mention, the second customization has only one NC item. Yep. And it's currently buyable in the mall for 150NC.
Sometimes certain colors of pets have certain faces that they make. And when you pair those faces with the right items, they can add another demension to a customization, like so:
I felt that the grey ixi always had a very hopeless face, and so I wanted to capture it in a customization that really told a story. Here we can easily imagine a greving widow getting some dire news. Or how about this example?
Uh-oh. Looks like one of the librarians is very cross with you. The pirate lenny's natural mood looks perfect for this customization. Some examples of pets that have interesting moods are some types of royals, pirates, greys, elderlies, and a couple of halloween pets. But seriously, take a look at the rainbow pool and see what natural faces different paint colors make.
There's also another method to switch moods that can provide some interesting results if you're fine with your pets being sick. Some people do this for customization or character reasons.
UCs and Allies
These are topics that are generally a little bit more difficult to deal with when it comes to customization. These topics are often subject to heated discussion by many users, which is why I have put them in their own section. We'll be discussing these topics in-depth in order to understand why they are such an important part of customizing. At the end, Neocash and I have a personal plea to our readers, which we hope you will listen to.
Sets or No Sets?
One of the biggest debates that I have with myself when customizing is if I should ever use sets together. Sets are items that are typically thought to go together such as an entire NP customization that TNT releases as a group, or certain stages of MMEs, or maybe items that are part of the same NC event. Whatever the reason, they're grouped together and some people refuse to un-group them.
So the question is, as a customizer, what does one DO with these? I mean, if your goal is to be original, how can you do that by using a group of items that other people are going to be putting together in the same exact way you are?
My typical reaction is to try to avoid using them /if possible/. I don't discount their importance in certain customizations, but if possible, I want to try to add a twist to my customizations. Here's an example:
You think you've found the perfect striped draik customization! It's Shenkuu themed, and it looks amazing! However, the entire outfit consists of a set together, and you're starting to feel iffy about that. You manage to find one of my boards, and ask me for some advice...
Sunny: Nice foreground and background layering~! But let's start by seeing if we really need all of these set items. That parasol looks really awkward in her hand (notice how the fist looks like it's not really clinching it?), and it's covered up by the foreground items anyway. Let's just remove that. We'll try to find a different handheld later.
NP vs NC Customzing
There are some who believe that there are certain customizations that have been very...overused. To be honest, it's not really overused exact customizations anymore, it's more like mini-fads where one item or one particular style of customizing just "catches on" and everybody seems to want to try the next new thing.
As an artist, it's my belief that if possible, when you're creating something, it's best to try to create something that is uniquely you. This applies to my customizations as well. The benefit to creating original customizations that aren't copies or modified versions of other customizations is that you make sure your pet can enter the customization contest, and you know as an artist that your work is yours.
However, there is also something to be said for the fact that the goal of customization is not only to be original, but to make the owner happy with their pet. And if dressing up your pet in the latest fad is just the way you play neopets, who am I to stop you?
A Personal Plea
Now for a moment to talk about something that is near and dear to my heart, and I hope that you all will honestly take the time to read this all the way though.
This section will contain step-by-step walkthroughs of my thinking process as I create some example customizations. This is to help you all apply the various methods I have listed here on this page, and to give you some insight into how I think as a customizer.
Example #1 - London
This customization was created for Londn, who is one of my permies. I wanted to create a look for her that looked like someone who lives in London in the modern day. My first step was to try to come up with some rough ideas of what people in London actually wear. (I'm from Texas, in the USA, and I haven't been here before.)
Thankfully, I had a brainwave and remembered that I am a fan of a british TV show that barely anybody knows about called Doctor Who. There's often a lot of people milling about in the show, so surely I could get some fashion ideas from that.
Then I found this outfit, worn by Clara Oswald. Clara being one of the main characters in the show at the moment. When I saw her skirt, a little lightbulb went off and I said to myself "Hey, isn't there a customization item somewhat like that?
Of course, I soon realized I had been correct! I found the Smart School Girl Skirt, and quickly started to build the customization from there. :)
After I found the skirt, I tried to replicate the black jacket over that white shirt. I didn't find any jackets that seemed to suit, but then I recalled the Rebel Spyder Vest and gave that a try. It looked good, and I just needed to find an undershirt, which I found in the form of the Cream Eyelet Shirt. I wanted to deviate a little from the prim schoolgirl idea and since the Spyder Vest already added a little bit of a "bad girl" vibe, I added a Tattoo Sleeve to add a bit of red in that would tie in with the skirt.
After that, I chose the Trendy Aisha Hat and Wig because the dark color of it worked with the dark colors of the vest. Then I needed some gold accents to compliment the gold locks of hair, so I chose a Pretty Anchor Necklace and the Pirate Aisha Earrings. Add in a Sleuthing Background which has a skyline similar to London, some Wellington Boots for the rainy weather and you've got a nice customization that's perfect for a London born rebel!