Customizing Your Character
Many Neopians choose to express their creativity through making art of, and creating characters for, their Neopets. This can range from something as simple as a chart outlining the pet's likes and dislikes to creating an entire world in which the pet resides! Art of these original characters may closely follow the standard set by TNT, such as a solid-colored Jelly pet, or they may vary as widely as an Island pet with custom markings. Perhaps you have as minute of a change in mind as a Plushie pet with button eyes. In order to truly bring your character to life so that others can get a good idea of how you view your pet, you can customize them to reflect the character that you have in mind. Through creative use of markings, makeup, and other wearables, you can create a customization that paints your pet in a totally new light!
To begin, you need to have a basic idea of what you want your pet to look like. If you don't have a solid design in mind for your character, that's totally fine! You might discover a wearable item that inspires you and prompts you to build your design around. One day while perusing the boards, I saw a Water Uni customized with gold markings. I had recently adopted a Water Kau and had no particular design in mind for her, but after that experience I decided to turn her into a goddess of some sorts, using the MiniMME22-S2b: Queen of Lost Desert Markings and MiniMME22-S1: Queen of Lost Desert Dress. When I illustrate her, I draw her watery body with gold glitter markings. Her clothing may change, but the markings are an integral part of her character design.
In contrast to the aforementioned situation, I had a distinct design in mind before I created my Uni, Cadanze. I envisioned her with a gold crown, necklace, and hoof guards; pink body, tricolor mane, and blue heart-shaped beauty mark on her side. Thus, I had to work the other way around, seeking out items that reflected my vision. We'll discuss this in detail later, so stay tuned!
After settling on a design for your character, the next step is to choose your setting. Where does your pet reside? If they are a cave-dweller, forest-explorer, or aerially-adept, there's a background for that. I had an idea for a character that lived in a small forest village. The 15th Birthday Mystery Island Background would have been perfect for this customization, but it is a retired NC Mall item and I didn't feel like scouring the boards to set up an NC trade. Instead, I found a beautiful forest background and foreground that I figured were an adequate compromise. The Mysterious Forest Clearing Background and Bamboo Forest Foreground are both NP wearables as well, making them easy to obtain!
If your character has wings, you might want to customize them flying through the sky by searching for wearables with the word "cloud" in the name. Personally, I always like to pair a foreground with whatever background that I choose because it adds depth to the customization and makes it more interesting to look at. It also offers you an opportunity to create a more specific setting, such as the Cover of Darkness Foreground; this wearable makes every background look more mysterious.
Now that we have a setting, it's time to focus on the main attraction: your pet! Being a fashionista myself, I prefer to begin by selecting clothing for my pets and leaving special features and markings for last, but you can take the next steps in whatever order works best for you. Sometimes you will get lucky and there will be Paint Brush clothes available for your pet that reflect the character your creating. The most notable example of this is Royal pets. I own quite a few myself and find that I tend to leave them in their original Paint Brush clothing. Don't underestimate the power of cross-painting, either! Take the characters of Assignment 53 for example: Moxi is a pink Alien Aisha. I know that Alien Aishas aren't the easiest pet to obtain, but once you have one, you can paint it any color that your heart desires and leave it dressed in the Alien Aisha clothes to create a unique Neopets character!
If there aren't any Paint Brush clothes that interest you, try searching your pet's species wearables next. There are many sets of species-specific clothing and accessories that are great for character customization. Take, for example, the Kougra Adventurer set. It's perfect for your feline friends that are setting out on an expedition! For the Lenny, the spooky Plague Doctor set is one of my favorites. If you're still not satisfied with what you see, it's time to get creative.
I have a Gold Draik that I wanted to customize as a faerie. Her outfit was intended to be made of flowers and glittering with faerie dust, and she also needed to have unique wings that complimented her clothing as well as long blonde hair. While I didn't find items that were exactly what I envisioned, I got very close! Remember, you are telling a story through your customization. If every little detail isn't exactly what you imagined but others can still understand what you're trying to convey, then you have accomplished your goal. For my Draik, I settled on the Blonde Quiff Wig, Pastel Pink Sparkly Top, Radiant Flower Skirt, Sparkly Bow Shoes, and Sparkling Sunrise Wings. This outfit met my conditions of being color-coordinating, glittery, and floral.
We're finally nearing the end of our customization journey! You can apply the finishing touch to your look with the right accessories. Remember Cadanze? Well, I decided to paint her Royal Girl and use combinations of the Elegant Gold Necklace with the Folding Gold Crown and Golden Jeweled Tiara to satisfy my regal jewelry needs. Instead of shoes, I opted for pieces like the Princess Amira Collectors Arm Cuffs and Golden Bangle Bracelets so that they would be visible on her front hooves, since most shoes were hidden by her dress. This is also the perfect time to add makeup or makings to your pet to really seal the deal! For Cadanze, this was as simple as applying Fyoras Eyeshadow to give her a more mature and refined appearance.
The key to crafting the perfect customization for your pet is flexibility. Don't be afraid to experiment with different items in unexpected ways to tell a story that's unique to your character! If you are in need of additional inspiration, try perusing the entries of the Customization Spotlight or lookbooks created by other users. Remember to keep an eye on the News for new wearable releases, especially on your pet's Species Day! But most importantly...remember to have fun.