Successful Beauty Contest Entries and Advertising
I frequent the Beauty Contest boards often. One thing I notice the most is people asking for critique of their artwork so they may improve. While I don't consider myself an expert artist, there are certain techniques you can use to make your Beauty Contest entry stand out apart from the rest, so people will be more willing to look at your pictures. As well as these, I will include some voting tactics people use to receive votes and be able to tell who is actually looking at their pictures.
First of all, I'll start with critiquing pictures. The first thing most people misunderstand is that not all critique is negative. Critique can actually be complimenting an element of a picture that someone did exceptionally well. This is just as helpful as negative criticism.
It is always important to give constructive criticism. This doesn't mean that you can ONLY give positive critique. Don't tear down another person's picture. That won't motivate them to get better, it will simply only hurt their feelings. Instead of saying "Ew, your coloring is horrible!", say "You could improve your coloring by shading and using a reference." It's a lot less offensive, and much more helpful.
The most common bits of critique I give are:
1. You should shade your picture. Make sure to make the shadows extremely dark and the highlights extremely light. This will create a 3-D effect and will be a lot more pleasing to look at than a simple 2-D picture with simple one-tone shading.
2. Save your picture "for the web". It should be on your file drop-down menu below save and save as. This way you can get the optimum results for the small 17k limit. A tiny picture will rarely get voted for, even if you do have a larger version on your petpage. Also, it can raise suspicion that you've stolen the picture.
3. Use a reference. Most neopets are based off real-life animals, and while you should always make your Beauty Contest entry look like a Neopet, you can use real-life references to help with anatomy and muscle structure. However, make sure not to go overboard. The Beauty Contest judge will reject a picture if it looks too realistic and not enough like a neopet.
There are also other ways you can attract a person to your entry instead of others.
1. Use bright colors. I always look at pictures with stunning colors that contrast against each other. If you have a background on your picture, use a color that stands out against it. For example, if you have a black background, color your Neopet a neon yellow or blue.
2. Try and enter the biggest picture you can within the limit. As I said before, saving for the web can be a dream in this case. If you don't use a background, you can usually save a bigger pixelled picture under 17k.
3. Use a custom design. Remember to make your Neopet still look like a Neopet, but you may add certain markings or special attributes to your Neopets. For example, all of my Peophins have custom designs, but by looking at them, you can tell exactly what species they are. If you use custom designs, people are more likely to recognize your Neopets if you enter another time, and if they liked your entry the first time, they may vote again!
For those of us that have been around for years, we remember the days that you could see how many people had voted for you. For good reasons, that function has been disabled and now we aren't able to see how many votes we've gotten until the end of the contest. People say they've looked at your picture and voted for you, but you've got to rely on their word. There are two types of voters these days: silent voters, who apparently look at your pictures but will not tell you who they've voted for, and non-silent voters, who will tell you they voted for your picture, but you can't really be sure.
Some ways to ensure that people are actually looking at your picture take place during advertising.
1. Ask them to tell you something about your picture. What color eyes do they have, what do they have on their tail? This works the first few times, but people soon only look at the first few posts and then copy their answer without looking. The same can be true if you have a special word you're asking people to post if they've read your post. Asking people to tell you something different than everyone else can be a solution for this, but eventually you'll run out of special attributes to your picture.
2. Ask them to critique your art. This is a pretty good way to ensure that people are looking at your entry. Ignore the people that say, "Wow, that's cute!" They probably didn't look. People that give an in-depth, hearty critique will HAVE to look in order to give an accurate critique.
3. Link to a picture on your petpage rather than directly to your BC entry. You can then check how many views you've had on your petpage, and see how many people have actually seen your picture. Make the picture on your petpage link to your Beauty Contest entry. They can then easily click to vote. Keep in mind that 10 pageviews is the standard for each Peophin, and each pageview actually goes up by 10. So if your petpage says you have 80 views, eight people have looked at your petpage. (And if this isn't true for everyone else, someone please fix mine!) Also, if other pets have links to your petpage, people that are petpage surfing may come across your page and your entry.
4. Offer to look at their pictures as well. Keep in mind that vote trading is EXTREMELY against the rules! However, there's nothing wrong with offering to look at their pictures and to vote for the ones you like. If you post, "Kyrii entry and looking at entries!" you will get more traffic to your board. Also, offer to critique their entries. Ratings are usually not very helpful. You can then help other people improve their artwork and if you show that you care about their entries, they are more likely to look at yours as well.
5. If you have neofriends or are in a guild, ask them politely if they will take a look at your entry. Some guilds have rules against this, so make sure you're following both their rules as well as the Beauty Contest rules when asking people for votes. Don't be annoying or demanding about it, because you're not likely to get votes that way!
Please be wary of the following!
Silent voters that don't offer to critique or rate your pictures, or don't comment on them at all. There's no way to tell if they're actually looking at your entries. If you are a silent voter that has been accused of this, offer to comment or critique pictures. Even though you're not telling them if you voted or not, at least they know you looked and gave them a fair chance.
People that simply post their link on your board without another word. There's a good chance they didn't even read what you posted and certainly didn't look at your entry. These people are just better left ignored. They won't stay on your board anyway so yelling at them is pointless.
Stolen art! Stolen art is very serious and is very offensive. Follow the proper procedure in reporting stolen art as specified by the Neopets Team. Make sure to provide them with a direct URL to the original piece or they will not look into it.
I hope this has been a helpful article to you in trying to improve your Beauty Contest entries and helping you manage your advertising better. There are also many helpful petpage Beauty Contest guides that will help you understand the lingo and traditions of the Beauty Contest.
Note: Please remember to ONLY advertise on the Beauty Contest Neoboard!