Ah, the Beauty Contest, a chance to compete with other Neopians in the realm of art!
Yes folks, you read right, ART. The beauty contest is actually an art contest where users can submit pictures of their Neopets to be voted on by various Neopians.
The common misconception is that the beauty contest is a contest for human contestants or that grooming items are involved but, alas, no! Now with that confusion aside, here's a guide that's bound to help you win that shiny trophy for your pet! Hooray! ^_^
If your pet receives a gold trophy, either overall or in species, they will be "gold-banned" for the next month. (Previously, this was four months up until August 2018.) You will still be able to enter any other pets you own, unless they are also gold-banned.
For several years, winners would also receive Neopoint and item prizes. With the change in the rules to allow people to enter on side accounts, non-trophy prizes were discontinued. The former prizes included set numbers of Neopoints and rare item prizes.
On November 12, 2014, an avatar was announced as a prize for placing 1st, 2nd, or 3rd in either the species or overall contest.
Step Number One: Choose your contestant!
Now that you have finally decided to pursue a career in the art of BCing, you have to choose which pet to enter! But gee, which one, which one?
An important thing to remember is that different species have different levels of competition due to their popularity. Usually furry quadrupeds and dragon-like critters tend to get a lot of attention as beauty contestants, making them difficult for a BC newbie to win. So if you have to choose between an Aisha and a Ruki, go for the Ruki!
Neopets that tend to have high competition:
Neopets that tend to have low competiton:
*These categories tend to be difficult because even though they are small in population, many serious artists go for these categories.
Step Number Two: Draw your Neopet!
The thing with this second step is that it really helps if you have artistic ability. Although the BC does allow participants to submit edited Neopet images (known as C&Ps, for Copy and Pastes), this practice is generally frowned upon (and considered n00bish) by those who actually draw their entries. The same applies to tracings of copyrighted Neopets images.
Note: Although Neopets does allow you to use their copyrighted images, you are NOT allowed to use copyrighted images that aren't owned by Neopets. This also means that you cannot use images from past BC winners or images from the Art Gallery.
Some examples of copy and paste (what not to do):
Basically, the Jetsam on the left was tortured with a makeover in Paint, the Lutari in the center was subjected to lame Photoshop skills and the Tyrannian Lupe on the right just had battledome items pasted all over his face. You will likely not win with something like that.
Things that attract the most votes:
- Animation (and we mean more than just glitters here)
Keep in mind that most voters will only see your entry for a few seconds before deciding to move on to the next one, so try to make a good impression!
A good rule of thumb: Try to actually put effort into your picture. Do more than give it a glittery animation or a pixelized mustache. Actually coming up with an original idea and a drawing does help your chances a bunch.
Digital Art vs Traditional Art
Artwork that has been drawn the old-fashioned way on a piece of paper is referred to as traditional artwork. Anything that is either created or edited in an art program on a computer is referred to as digital artwork.
Voters can be a bit divided as to which type they prefer; some will only vote for one type or the other. When choosing your preferred art style, try to play to your artistic advantages. One type is not by any means better than another, it is all about personal choice.
If you draw your pet in the traditional method, you will need to scan or take a photograph of your piece in order to have a digital version that you can submit.
If you opt for the digital method, there are a number of different programs you can use. Packages like Photoshop, Paintshop Pro, Corel and others can allow you to create amazing pieces of art, but the software can be rather pricey. If you are working on a budget, there are some free image editing programs like GIMP available, as well as some different online programs.
Some artists prefer to do the linework or just sketch out the basics by hand and then edit and colour their piece in an image editing suite. How you go about it is entirely up to you.
Step Number Three: Submit your contestant!
Once you are finished, you can enter your entry by clicking here.
The contest occurs weekly, with the old one ending and a new one beginning every Friday at noon (12 pm) NST. So don't be alarmed if your pet doesn't immediately show up, chances are that it was entered in the next week's contest.
Notes on the infamous size limit - For many years BC entries were limited to a size of 17k; while that has now been updated to 75k (thanks jinjer!), many original files are still larger than the requirements. Luckily, there are a few ways to make them smaller.
- One way to solve this problem is to use the "Save for Web" option found on most art programs. This little tool somehow manages to pack a 50k image into a nice 15k package and helps tons!
- For those who don't have this feature, another strategy is to take a screenshot of your picture, and then crop out all the unnecessary background. The resulting images should be smaller than the original.
Even with these pic-shrinking techniques, though, it's best to also leave a full version of the picture on the pet's petpage.
Step Number Four: Advertise!
Advertise! Advertise! Advertise! This step cannot be stressed enough. It has been said many times that the BC has become less of an art contest and more of a popularity contest. So if you ever want to have the slightest hope of winning, you need to advertise. Post links on your store, lookups, perhaps even your guild!
When you venture the boards, have you ever noticed forum labeled Art? This is the place for you to find voters, and entries to vote for.
Simply create a thread with a title that promotes your pet, and then on the first post provide a link (in your siggy) to your entry!
Creative board titles/topics do draw more attention though.
Links can be created by: http://www.neopets.com/beauty/details.phtml?pet=YOURPETNAME
Good BC Board/General Advertising Etiquette:
- It is against the rules to advertise someone else's entry. Unfortunately this means you cannot recruit your friends to advertise for you - you're on your own!
- Do NOT participate in vote trades (where a BCer will offer to vote for another BCer in return for another vote), this is considered cheating AND may cause the BCer to be disqualified and/or frozen.
- Although the BC forum does tend to be slow, it's usually a good idea to have no more than three boards on the front page, otherwise you may be considered as a spammer.
- Also avoid posting the same short message (ex. "Vote for me Buzz! (link)") on every single thread in the BC forum without even bothering to read the first post. Many consider this to be n00bish behavior and it can also get you reported for spamming.
- You are NOT allowed to advertise your Beauty Contest entry in your neosig on any boards except the BC forum. Be sure to remove the advert from your signature before posting anywhere else.
- I'm sorry to say this but another spam-like behavior is to neomail total strangers to vote for your Neopet. It's very much like junk mail, and no one enjoys it.
So that's it! With the right amount of advertising and a spiffy picture, you are sure to snatch that winner's trophy! Even if you do fail to snipe that last vote, there's always next week! It is okay to enter the same picture more than once, just keep trying!
This article was written by: DragonBeak