You don’t even technically have to be able to draw to win the Beauty Contest. Copy and pasted Neopets images with mustaches drawn on them can win. This infuriates me, so don’t let me catch you doing it. But technically, you can. It’s more difficult to win that way, unless you’re excruciatingly popular with a large group of people that play Neopets (a huge guild, beloved by people on your chat board, etc.). But I’m going to write this article assuming you are not using these low-down, sneaky, vile ways of evil. Grrr.
Click here to enter the contest. Or, you can click on Pet Central in the sidebar, and then the little red Kyrii icon on the top right. Your entries will be in the next week’s contest– you have a little while to prepare yourself to advertise. You can enter each of your pets once per beauty contest. If you win, the trophy will show up on their pet lookup. If you put your pet up for adoption, the trophy will go with them.
It’s much easier to win with a less popular species. The most popular and difficult species to win are… you guessed it, the most popular species. If, say, you have an Eyrie, a Lupe, a Kougra, and a Lenny… you have by far the best chances of winning if you draw the Lenny. There are simply fewer entries, for less popular species, and of course that means fewer entries that are better or equal to yours. You’re more likely to get voted for.
In any case, you’ll have to draw your picture first. Use as many Neopets pictures as you like for reference. Here are a few tips.
1. Don’t draw your pet in “The Neopets Pose.” This means the “circle” pose. It won’t be as original, and people are less likely to vote for it.
2. Develop your own style of drawing your pet. Making it look just like it looks on Neopets is pretty cool, but not as cool as if you make it your own. Make sure it still is recognizable as its species, though, or it’ll be disqualified.
3. Consider adding a background or your pet’s petpet. Make the picture as interesting as possible.
4. If you’re having trouble getting a pet to look quite right, don’t be ashamed to check out the How to Draw page, just to double-check proportions or body shapes.
5. Try to make your picture as close to square as possible so that it won’t get too distorted in the square thumbnails people need to click on when they browse the entries.
6. Include your username somewhere on the picture! Art stealing is a real problem on Neopets. Put your username and/or pet name conspicuously on the image.
Check out the Beauty Contest FAQ for other common questions.
Caution: There are some things that can get your picture disqualified from the BC. Obviously, if they have inappropriate items, actions, or words in them they will be disqualified. Remember that your picture needs to be rated G– no blood or revealing clothing. Pictures of pets that are really “anthro” (anthropomorphic) have been disqualified before, though not always. If the drawing is “too realistic” (looks like a real animal) or doesn’t look like the pet, it can also be disqualified. In the Beauty Contest community, there is a lot of ruckus because of these seemingly random specifications. It’s argued that the pets in Neopets’ own plots are anthropomorphic, and whether an animal looks “too realistic” is completely up to the viewer. The people in the BC community are protesting that TNT is discouraging artists from coming up with their own drawing styles. It doesn’t matter if it’s fair or not, essentially. If your picture is disqualified, you might try entering it again in a few weeks, or just keeping it up on your pet page for people who visit to see.
When you enter your pet into the contest, your picture will need to be under 17kb. This is probably significantly smaller than you have made the file. Using a program like Paint Shop Pro or Photoshop, decrease the resolution of the image, and click “Save As.” Save it as a .gif or .jpg. Any other format will not be accepted. Make sure you don’t overwrite your high-quality picture with your low-quality picture! You should put the high-quality picture up on your pet’s pet page so people will be able to see the effort you put into it. Make a note in your pet’s “speech” (the little text box you can enter a few words into) that a better picture is on the pet page. Lastly, make sure you vote for your own pet! Every vote helps, even yours!
ADVERTISING! That is what the Beauty Contest is all about. Imagine that you are a door-to-door salesman. Push your product (picture) in any way you can think of. Put the link to your vote in your signature, so that every time you say something on the boards, you’re advertising. Mention it to your guild– they will probably support you. Go to the Beauty Contest boards for as long as you can stand the constant barrage of “VOTE 4 M3” and push your picture on everyone who will listen (but don’t be TOO obnoxious, or people will make sure they DON’T vote for you). That’s what the BC boards are for, so make sure you use ’em! Beware of “vote trade” boards. People often use these boards to get people to vote for them, but they don’t actually vote for the other people.
NOTE: It is against Neopets rules to have other people advertise for your Beauty Contest entry. So as much as your friends might want to help, they can’t do anything besides give you their vote. Sorry, you’re on your own, kiddo!
Before you enter the BC, save up your junk items for a few days or even weeks. Tombola prizes, Tomb prizes, those Lost Desert fruits you win from the Fruit Machine, Spooky Food from Test Your Strength. Ask your friends to donate their junk to you. Basically, you want to put as much stuff in your shop as it can hold for every day you are in the BC. Go into your Shop Description and put a big old ad for your BC entry in there. Put the picture up, so people don’t even have to go to another page to see it. Make sure you include a clickable link to your entry, or people won’t bother. You want to make it as easy as possible for them to vote for you, so they will be more inclined to. Every day of the Beauty Contest, make sure your item is stocked to the brim with items priced at the lowest on the Shop Wizard so that people will flock to your shop to see your ad. I find it easiest to just price all the useless junk at 1 NP, that way I know someone will buy it. It’s not about making money here, it’s about getting as many people as possible to view your picture. At least some of them will vote.
In the same vein, put up a clickable link to your picture on your userlookup, pet’s description, and pet page. ESPECIALLY the pet page. If you put your picture in only one place, put it on the pet page. Remember, the picture has to be really small in file size to be entered in the BC. This usually leaves your hard work looking exceptionally grainy/blurry/ugly. Right below the entry is a link to your pet’s pet page. People often click this link, in hopes of seeing a better quality picture. Take the time to show that you actually want to win by customizing your pet’s page at least a little. I am much less inclined to vote for someone that has a default pet page for the pet that’s in the Beauty Contest. You may want to put a visitor counter on your pet page, such as one from boingdragon, to give you an idea of how you’re doing. The more people are visiting your pet’s page, the more votes you’re probably getting!
Once your picture is on your userlookup, do things that cause your lookup to get a lot of views. Chat on boards besides the BC board (people like to click on people’s usernames). If you think you may have a Spotlight win coming up, or an entry about to be published in the NT, try timing your entry into the BC for when you’ll get that publicity and those lookup views.
Basically, it’s up to luck. The Beauty Contest is extremely discouraging at times. I’ve worked for excruciating hours on pictures that I thought had decent chances at winning, only to be beaten out by 300 votes for a copy and pasted picture with a shirt drawn on it in MS Paint. It’s all about the advertising. Good luck!