Extensive Guide to The Art Gallery
The Art Gallery is located in the Deep Catacombs in Neopia Central. The link can also be found at the bottom of the New Features page, under Contests and Spotlights. Only art that shows quality and effort will earn you a shiny trophy on your user lookup. Not to mention your art will also be eternally displayed in the Art Gallery for all to gaze upon in awe! Ever wonder how those artists do it? This extensive guide is the perfect place to start.
1. It must be 100% your own work; adapting an existing picture is not acceptable. - This should be obvious!
2. You may enter a picture up to three times a day. Note entering the same picture multiple times will NOT increase your chances of being chosen. - If you mess up your title, or choose the wrong category, or even the wrong file, don't worry! I assume you could also enter three individual pieces of art.
3. Pretending someone else's picture is your own will get your account frozen. - See rule number one. Even if you have someone's permission, it is not allowed to submit their art. It must be your own work.
4. Your picture cannot have any copyright or trademark symbols on it. Having your username is fine, but it cannot be copyrighted. - This is because the Neopets characters/images you are drawing are not your property. The artwork is yours, but you can't claim that you came up with the characters. ;) If you are scared of theft, a username or signature in the corner of the work should suffice.
5. You must include a title for the image. - The title can either be something witty, or something plain. Or you could take the artistic route, and the title could reflect on the piece's meaning or moon.
6. The picture must include Neopets, or a character from the Neopets site. - For the purposes of the Art Gallery, your work must be directly related to Neopets.
7. If you are uploading your image it needs to be a gif or jpg (in lowercase letters). - To avoid mess ups when uploading, the filename of the artwork should also include no symbols or spaces, and all lowercase letters. For example, draik.jpg would be an acceptable file name.
PRACTICE & TIPS
You do NOT have to be a professional artist to enter this contest! Anyone who is willing to put effort into their work is a prime candidate. If you are having trouble drawing something, the best advice anyone can give you is PRACTICE. Gain a second opinion from your friends and family. They may point out mistakes or offer advice that you previously would have not considered.
If you are having trouble drawing a certain pet, you can look at other artists' pieces for guidance and inspiration. However, I must stress that you do NOT copy anyone's art directly. You may also want to have a peek at the how to draw guides!
Try to keep the characters true to how they are depicted on Neopets. Drawing a totally human character with feline ears would not be accepted as an Aisha. You may have anthropomorphic characters, but look at how Neopets draws their anthro characters - They retain the characteristics of the species. Also keep in mind that you must use existing characters and species/color combinations.
Traditional art includes any art that is created in "real life", including colored drawings, paintings, sketches, collages, sculpture, and so on. Personally, I believe this is a good choice for beginner artists and those who do not have the means or patience to learn an art program. It also allows for varied skill level, and opens many more possibilities than digital art.
Traditional art is less common in the Art Gallery. The judge's job is to choose art of various skill levels and mediums, so if you enter a traditional piece, your chances of being chosen actually improve. Often, traditional pieces are colored pencil, markers, or water color paintings. Less common mediums include collage, acrylic paints, sculpture and mixed media.
When drawing a piece of traditional art that is meant to be entered into the Art Gallery, you have to keep a few things in mind. First is to use a piece of plain white paper. It is also a good idea to either sketch your ideas very lightly so erased lines don't dig into the paper, or use a different paper for your final copy of the line art. The second thing to keep in mind is to use vibrant colors and apply them with care. For example, using many light layers of pencil crayon looks much better than one layer pressing the pencil down hard. The final thing to keep in mind is line art, if your picture has any. When transferring your picture to the computer, the lines should appear dark and clean. For this reason it is a good idea to carefully go over the drawing using a fine line pen.
To transfer your traditional art to the computer, you will need either a scanner or a camera. A scanner is a piece of hardware that will scan the image and transfer it directly to the computer. This works for flat pieces of art on paper or canvas board. Scanner is preferred over a camera since it produces a much clearer image that is closer to how the picture looks "in person".
If you do not have a scanner, using a camera is also an option. To take a good-quality photo of your art, set it down flat somewhere with soft natural lighting (sunlight). Preferably your camera should be positioned directly above your art, but not so that you create a shadow on it. If you are photographing something that is 3D, such as a sculpture, a simple cloth backdrop is optimal. Photos and scans can be cropped or compressed into a smaller file size using any basic image editing program. You can also ask for users, friends or Neofriends to help you compress the image for submission.
The most popular art form entered into the Art Gallery is digital artwork, specifically art that was created on the computer using an art program. Art programs can be free, or they can cost money; some are very expensive. But please keep in mind that it is not necessary to pay hundreds of dollars to enter the Art Gallery and be successful. Just because you have an expensive program does not mean you are better at drawing, nor will you become a better artist overnight.
Free programs: MS Paint, GIMP, and Paint Tool SAI.
MS Paint comes free with any Windows computer, and it is often underestimated. With practice (reading a few art guides does not hurt either), high-quality art can be produced in MS Paint - as well as the other art programs listed here.
Important note: Do not download anything on to your computer without permission from your parents, or whoever shares the computer with you. Running a virus scan on anything you download is just common sense.
Not-so-free programs: Corel Painter, Adobe Photoshop, PaintShop Pro, and Macromedia Flash.
These are some of the best-quality and best-known computer programs used for making art. Older versions of these programs are usually cheaper than the newest version. It is not necessary to always have the fanciest, newest version. You can often find this software at any electronics store, and even at drugstores and other shops with an electronics section.
Digital art can be drawn in two ways: Mouse drawn and tablet drawn.
Mouse drawn is fairly obvious; the art is drawn into the program using the computer mouse. This method is generally trickier and requires practice and some patience. It can be tedious to control a mouse while trying to mimic a pencil. When drawing with a mouse it is important to utilize the 'Undo' command in your program, in the event that your lines to don't come out as desired. You may also want to adjust the tracking speed of your mouse, in order to find a sensitivity that makes it easier to draw for you.
There are some programs which have a tool to make line art with a mouse easier. The line is created by drawing a line and "pulling" it into various shapes and curves. These are, most prominently, the Wavy Line tool in Microsoft Paint and the Pen tool in Adobe Photoshop. With practice, these tools may actually produce lines easier than a tablet.
Tablet drawn may require some explanation. A tablet (also known as a graphics tablet, drawing tablet, or graphics pad) is a computer hardware device that allows one to hand-draw images and graphics. It is a pressure-sensitive plastic pad that is drawn on using a plastic-tipped pen, known as a stylus. It plugs into the computer using a USB cord (similar to a mouse or keyboard). It may also be wireless. It is similar to drawing with a pencil and paper, but don't expect it to be exactly the same. It requires a bit of practice to get used to how your specific tablet responds your drawing style, as well as how hard you press, but it is generally much easier than using a mouse. It can also be used to trace an image from a piece of paper which is taped or otherwise secured to the surface. It is not necessary to buy a large or expensive tablet; there are medium and small sizes that won't punch a hole in your wallet.
If you ever have issues using your art program of choice, it is always a good idea to utilize the knowledge you have at your fingertips. Literally thousands of guides to creating digital art exist on the internet and Neopets.com itself.
You may also combine traditional art and digital art by drawing your line art on paper and coloring it in an art program. As explained in the traditional art portion, this is done by drawing line art on a piece of plain white paper, and scanning it into the computer. This may be optimal if you find drawing lines with a mouse too tedious or difficult, but want it to have the "look" of digital art.
On the Submit Your Art page, there is a scrolling marquee above the main text that displays "Upcoming Specials". These are theme days and species days that will be featured on the New Features page. To find out exactly when said upcoming events are, check the Calendar page.
You may use these special days as inspiration to cure artist's block, or show your appreciation for a certain aspect of Neopia. However, you have to keep in mind that some subjects are more popular than others, so you may have more competition. For example, Fyora Day probably has more submissions than Ruki Day. It is up to you if you want to submit art for theme days. Remember you can submit ANY Neopets-related art, and on "off-days" when there is no theme, it can be put in the Art Gallery.
You must submit your art for theme days BEFORE the actual day, preferably a week in advance. Make sure you select the right category for your art so that the judge knows what theme day you are trying to get into.
To ensure that your art has a chance of being chosen by the contest judge, your art needs to have some originality and interest.
A straight-on portrait of a character is boring and lifeless. Implementing an interesting pose or angle will spice up the piece and make it original. You should always try to have a unique pose for your character, one that properly reflects their personality or how they are feeling.
Try to draw pet colors that are interesting and eye catching. You may also want to include paint brush colors that are less popular in order to stand out. Many people may submit art of Faerie Peophins, but what about Tyrannian Peophins, or even Spotted? Keep in mind that you must use existing characters and species/color combinations.
Including humor in the form of a funny scenario makes your art original and gives it personality. Making the contest judge's job a little more entertaining does not hurt either!
Adding petpets, petpetpets, items, and scenery that fit in with the theme of your piece add interest, detail and show your effort. For example, Lost Desert characters would look right at home sitting on a sandy dune eating a Tchea fruit. Having a background for your piece is a very good idea, as it ties the whole thing together, even if it is a simple background of solid color, starry sky, simple horizon, or clouds. You can also shade in a color around the edge of your character to make them stand off the page. Giving your character a shadow is a nice touch that makes the character look more complete and even realistic.
With all that said... Good luck to all you artists out there!