Turning the Art Gallery Into a Dream Come True
Greetings, fellow Neopian! Ah, on such a sunny day, with the perfect airy breeze to cool your perspiration from all of that sprinting chasing after valuables left underneath the Money Tree, (look at you run, you ought to be in the Altador Cup!), dreaming of saving up to finish off your custom neopet's dream paint brush color... are you mulling over the pros and cons of alternative ways to earn neopoints by any chance? Do you love playing flash games, but in all honesty they hurt your eyes, sending you off to the Healing Springs looking for the cure of Watery Eyes even before you could earn a few thousand neopoints? Don't have the patience to restock, or looking up good deals on the auction feels too tedious and erratic to your liking? Or maybe getting involved with Key Quest drama just isn't your cup of Pomegranate Tea?
Well, in that case, entering the Art Gallery could just be your thing.
Getting into the Art Gallery is a wonderful thing. The feeling is close to like, skipping amongst a field of fragrant peonies with White Weewoos singing the sweetest melodies as you find a dozen or so Cool Neggs hidden amongst the flowers. You could earn 10,000 neopoints, a sparkling new golden trophy, and a rare item that could possibly fetch you a couple million neopoints! Let me introduce myself. I'm Shokshok, a Yellow Peophin. I am the secret master mind behind all of my owner's Art Gallery entries. Of course, she gets all of the credit and not me. You know the kind letters congratulating her on her entries and complimenting her drawing skills? Nobody ever told you, did they. Why do you think my petpage hosts all of the art gallery entries? Yeah, that's right. Yes, such an unfair world that I live in. Let that be known to all! I mean, now that it's not a secret anymore.
What's that, you don't believe that you have the draftsmanship to get into the Art Gallery? Well, I believe I can offer you the perfect advice that will let you surpass that. Oh, you mean you do? You already have the technical prowess that makes your classmates wow over your shoulder, but the drawings just never seem to be able to get past the Art Gallery judges? Ditto. Here are several questions you could ask yourself while making your drawing, and the lead-heavy Golden Scorchio could be handed over to you over the dream stage soon enough (be prepared for push-ups before your big day! It is heavier than it looks).
1) Does your drawing look completely finished?
Nevermind the anatomy problem, the Ixi's leg doesn't always have to be so stubby, and quite frankly, your elongated legs makes the Ixi look debonair. Ah yes, let's call this, "artistic freedom." But what you should really be asking yourself is, whether you've managed to thoroughly fill in all of the blank spaces. Is every part of the drawing brought up to an equal amount of detail? It's important to make your drawing look complete and finished, and not just an idea that was quickly scribbled down on paper before you alarmingly looked at the clock (what it's already midnight?!) rushed off to hand in your submission to the Art Gallery judges, so that you could peacefully snuggle under your warm blankets. The effort you put into your drawing is more appreciated than technical prowess, and the Art Gallery judges can see through that, so make sure you didn't miss a spot and leave it uncolored! Or say, maybe you actually did spend three hours getting the hooves on the Ixi just right and adding the most impeccable sparkles in its eyes, but a drawing that was spent no more than forty minutes could have taken your place simply because it looked more completed and was colored all the way through! Remember, an overall appearance matters!
2) Does your drawing contain an environment, or even a simple background?
A picture can easily tell a thousand words if you let it. If you had to describe your drawing out loud, what would it say? It could be more than just, "A Red Shoyru sat content and smiling." How about, "A Red Shoyru sat smiling as the sun set in the most romantic rosy glow as the first fireflies began to flicker over a calming pool of jade-like water surrounded by abundant luscious tall grass that tickled the Shoyru's chin making him break into a smile." What's that, you say that I'm lying because that's not one-thousand words, it's only forty-six words? Well, humph. Maybe you're right. Smarty pants. What? No, you didn't hear me say anything!
3) What is your neopet doing in the picture?
Drawing your neopet engaged with another item from the far off lands of Neopia could give a dimensionality to the drawing that otherwise may have looked a little stale. Having your neopet engaged with something else, such as another neopet, his best friend, an exclusive item from the Wondrous Weaponry, (imagine how far she had to travel to get that!), or a rarity 99 gourmet food, reflecting your neopet's exquisite tongue, could tell a lot about its personality. It could make your drawing that much more interesting, as we can see a unique side to your neopet. Yeah, he's one of kind! Just as your drawing is.
4) Does your entry contain humor?
Who doesn't like a picture that brightens up their day or makes them laugh out loud? Positive and active subjects tends to be favored by the art gallery judges, of course dark and brooding images could also reflect a deeper meaning to Neopian life, but imagine the amount of time the judges have to go over looking at a sea of submissions! A picture that takes fifteen minutes of zen-like meditation to finally see the meaning and compassion behind the painting simply won't do. But making something humorous is pretty easy, not only for the art judges, but for you, too. Catch your neopet doing something funny, like making a cute mistake or using its wits to do something clever, and it would be sure to grab any viewer's attention.
5) Does your drawing contain an interesting perspective?
An otherwise insipid scenario could look so much more dramatic when it looks as if you are looking up at your Krawk from an ant's perspective, and she's never looked more epic holding a piece of hay in her mouth. Or maybe the drawing portrays your favorite Krawk from a birds eye perspective through a layer of leaves, emphasizing the grandness of nature and the relative smallness of your neopet living amongst it. An interesting perspective could make your drawing carry a grand narrative, and would make it hard to miss amongst other entries in the art gallery.
6) Does your drawing have a unique style?
Even if you decide that you just want your drawing to be a portrait of your favorite neopet against a simple background, an ingenious style could make your drawing look very impressive. Make sure your drawing is beyond an imitation of an official Neopets image. Consider if different parts of your line art carry different weight adding a complex subtlety, or whether you've given it a limited color palette, like pastels for something that makes you feel easy breezy, or bold and bright that makes you want to get out of your seat and dance. I tend to go for a painterly style myself, which can make a simple pose more atmospheric. Look for a mood that you want your drawing to portray, and find a style that suits it best!
7) Most importantly, did you enjoy making the drawing?
It shows! If you've truly enjoyed making the drawing, the creative process would never be a menial task of drudgery. If you don't mind spending another ten minutes filling in all of the white spaces on your neopet's body, or spending the next few minutes adjusting the eyes just a millimeter apart to make its gaze more cute and adorable, then it will make your drawing that much better, and all because you enjoyed doing it. You wouldn't even be hazed or bummed out enough from making adjustments to your drawing again or even creating another drawing from scratch if some of your drawings didn't pass the art gallery judges the first few times! I've had my share of rejected art gallery entries myself, but enjoying the creative process is what leads to persistency in entering the Art Gallery again and again, thereby automatically increasing your chances of getting into the art gallery in the near future. But if all of it still feels like an unrewarding struggle, take some time off, do something you really want to do, and wait until a sudden urge makes you want to grab a pencil again. And this time, you'll be able to put in the effort to make your drawing fabulous.
If you've considered all of these steps, be prepared to wipe out all of those Spyder webs from your trophy cabinet, because you're on your way on earning a fetching new golden Scorchio. Your piece could make the headlines on the News Features, or even be a Spotlight Winner in Community Center! Really, it's happened to me, I mean, my owner. Which reminds me, she and I need a little talk. Hold on, I'll be riiight back.