Neopets Beauty Contest Guide

Neopets Beauty Contest Guide

NEWS: As of April 4th, 2013, we can enter the BC from our side accounts again, yay! Unfortunately, this means that the BC will no longer give out NP prizes–but for the vast majority of BCers, the positives far outweigh the negatives. Thanks for listening to us, TNT!

 

Welcome! I’m Lexi. ^^ I assume you’re here either because you’re an established BCer who wants to see what I have to say, or you’re a person just starting out in the tricky adventure known as the Beauty Contest. Winning the Beauty Contest usually isn’t a cakewalk, but it doesn’t have to be a confusing week of pure torture, either. I hope that my experience can at least help point you in the right direction.

The absolute basics of the BC
The Beauty Contest is a week-long competition where people
enter drawings of their pet. It starts and stops simultaneously
every Friday at 4:15 NST. There are trophies given out for the top
three placers in every species, as well as trophies for the top three
pets who win the most votes overall (in all species). Every Neopian
gets one vote per species every single week, meaning they could
vote for a Lenny, Aisha and Uni, but not three Unis.

The #1 thing that you need to know going in to the Beauty Contest is that it requires advertising to do well. Yes, entries that are never advertised can and do win, but it’s much too rare of an occurrence to count on if you’d really like a trophy!If it’s your first Beauty Contest and you have one of the species on my easy and medium lists (see below), I highly recommend that you start off with your easy pet. I see a lot of people getting frustrated because they’re new to the BC and they’re entering Unis, Lupes and other popular pets. The competition is sometimes extremely fierce in these categories and can be very discouraging, even for experienced BCers!

Many people have trouble when they start out in the BC, repeatedly failing to place and eventually getting fed up enough that they leave the BC and don’t come back–or at least not for a long time. I can relate. I’d like to introduce you to my thoroughly pathetic past, to encourage those who haven’t yet done well in the BC–your time will come!

I first entered the Beauty Contest in the spring of 2004. I somehow, by some bizarre fluke, managed to pull off a 3rd in the Uni category with my first entry ever–without advertising. That’s all well and good, but it threw my ill-informed mind into confusion, and I proceeded to enter the Uni category almost every week for the next 6 months without even placing once. It didn’t even occur to me to advertise… really advertise, I mean. I only made a handful of boards throughout all that time because I was pretty shy and had no clue what to say to advertise my pictures. I just assumed my art wasn’t getting enough votes because people didn’t like it, not because I didn’t hang around making boards all day. I mean, I placed once without advertising, right?

If you’re not as stupid as I was back then, you’re already off to a very promising start!

A year later, in the spring of 2005, I suddenly became confident and motivated enough to start creeping my way onto the Beauty Contest board. I discovered that advertising doesn’t have to consist of making an awkward “errr… umm… vote for my Uni?” board that gets 0 replies. I tried to become a part of the BCing community, ignoring the impulse to be all gung-ho “vote for me.” Instead I took the time to just hang around people’s boards, getting to know them. As time went by, I made many friends and acquaintances, and I suddenly found that making boards wasn’t awkward anymore. I started placing consistently–not every week, but a lot more often than my early days in 2004. I unwittingly discovered the key to doing well in the BC; equal parts advertising and chatting. You’d be amazed at how many votes you get just from hanging around and talking to people.

Almost four years after my abysmal start, I’m comfortable enough with my BCing success to be maintaining this guide. It would be pretty hard for a new BCer to have a worse start than I did, so I genuinely hope that if you’re struggling with not being able to place that you’ll take heart and keep at it until you find a system of advertising that clicks and works for you! It’s all worth it in the end when you have all those pretty trophies and the satisfaction of knowing you worked hard for them. 

The Beauty Contest page is located in Pet Central, under Competitions (Other Contests). It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the entire BC site. Make sure to read the official rules and FAQ. It’s probably also a good idea to check out the “Previous Weeks Votes” and “Past Winners” pages to get a feel for how the results look at the end of the week.


The overall winners for the week of February 9th, 2007

The “Enter Contest” page is pretty self-explanatory, but I’ll explain anyway. Click the link and you’ll arrive at a page that lists all of your pets, with a space to attach your picture and a text box for entering the pets “speech.

Your entry’s speech should be kept relevant. Many beginning BCers will write something like this for their pet’s speech:

 

Her name is SusieQ_30394 and she’s the best Uni in the world, she loves reading and flowers and dancing and is a very kind pet. Please vote for her it would make us very very happy!

Well, that’s all well and good, but it isn’t helpful! A more practical speech is something like:

 

Yay, it’s Susie’s first time in the BC! Please see her petpage for a high-quality version. Picture drawn with colored pencils.

Try to keep your speech short, relevant and to the point–it’s a lot more eye-catching than another brain-numbing mini-biography!

As far as uploading your image file goes, remember that it has to be under 17 KB (some people claim that the “real” limit is 20 KB, but I’ve rarely been able to get anything over 17 KB to enter). The physical pixel size of the entry does not matter, even though the official BC page mentions 150 pixels. This is an outdated size that refers to the original BC which was based around modified official site images. The bigger you can get your entry while maintaining reasonable quality, the better! Be aware that your entry *will* be yucky quality 9 times out of 10, so it’s very important to upload the high-quality version of your entry to an image host and display it on your petpage! Putting it on your lookup or your pet’s lookup is fine as well, but keep in mind that every pet’s petpage is directly linked from the BC voting page, making it much more convenient for voters to view it there.

I highly recommend trying to keep the entry uncropped if at all possible. Sometimes people will just crop their pet’s face and include the full view on their petpage, but I personally dislike this method — I’d rather see a low-quality full body than a high-quality cropped face. After all, if you win, the image you entered in the BC will be immortalized in BC history–wouldn’t you rather it was a full view instead of a tiny fraction of your beautiful work?

How bad your image looks resized to 17 KB will depend largely on what you drew it with, the style of shading you used, and the amount of colors in your picture. Surprisingly, entries drawn with soft shading such as colored pencils or realistic computer coloring normally resize pretty cleanly. The image quality is clearly reduced, but you can usually keep it at a decent size (around 400 to 500 pixels wide) and have its main flaw be slight blurriness. Cell shading with the computer or with hard-edged media such as markers absolutely kills your file quality, which is a shame since it’s such a commonly used style. Recently I’ve been having to shrink my cell shaded pictures to around 300 pixels wide with the image quality WAY down to even get them under the limit. Color contrast is another key — an entry that’s all shades of purple will resize a lot better than a rainbow colored one.

If you don’t know how to resize your entry to a good file size/quality, ask on the boards and include what program you’re using to get resizing tips. I only have experience resizing with Adobe ImageReady, so I’m not much help with other programs. If you don’t have a program to resize with, ask around on the boards–there are many kind Neopians who are more than happy to quickly resize your entry for you! I’m more than willing to resize entries sent to me as well, so feel free to drop me a Neomail if you need help.

 

There are several reasons why your entry may have been rejected.

— Does your entry look like the intended species?
Be honest and view your entry critically. If you enter a Kau that looks identical to a realistic dairy cow with no Neopet characteristics, this may result in your entry being rejected. The same goes for anthros who are nothing more than a human with pet ears. The majority of entries will be rejected if they look too much like a real animal or a human. A good way to avoid this for anthros is to give your pet an animal nose rather than a human nose and to try to make the face structure more like an animal’s face than a human’s face. Also be wary of anthro skin tones that look like human skin. For quads, extreme realism will often result in the pet looking more like a real animal than a Neopet (i.e. if your Kougra is unrecognizable from a Siberian tiger).

This is NOT unfair on TNT’s part. Is it really fair for photorealistic tigers and horses to be competing against Kougras and Unis? Also, TNT doesn’t “hate anthros” since all of their plot characters are anthropomorphic. The key is to balance the human and animal characteristics. :)

— What browser are you entering the BC from?
There is a glitch with Firefox and Safari that sometimes causes BC entries to show up blank on the contest judge’s end. Since a blank image cannot be approved, these images are rejected. It’s always best to enter from Internet Explorer to avoid this problem.
— Do you have any copyright symbols or links to outside websites on your entry?
You are not allowed to include copyright or trademark symbols, your email address, or links to webpages outside of Neopets (including art websites) on your BC entry. This will result in your entry being rejected, even if there’s nothing wrong with your entry itself. While not explicitly against the rules, I would also advise against using your full real name since it can cause your entry to look “stolen” when it’s really not. The safest thing to do is just to put your Neopets username of the account your pet lives on.

If none of these three possibilities apply to you, I recommend that you try emailing the BC judge, Amanda (amandaw @ neopets.com), and politely ask what’s wrong with your image. Include a link so that she can view the image; don’t just ask “why did you reject my Peophin?” She is very good about answering quickly and fixing problems. Even though I enter from Internet Explorer, once in a while my image will keep being rejected until I email her and ask what’s up.

Most of the time, entries will be rejected before the contest starts, but it is possible to be removed before the contest ends. This can occur if the image is reported with multiple complaints that it doesn’t look like the intended pet, if you were cheating by trying to win votes with items or having someone advertise you. The other reason for mid-contest removal could be if your pet’s species changed during the contest. Never use the lab ray on your pet until the contest ends! If it changes species, nobody will be able to vote for it, and it will have to be removed from the contest.

 

Every once in a while when you go to the Enter Contest page you’ll be greeted with this melancholy message:

Don’t worry though! It has been confirmed by the BC judge that all that this message means is that the maximum number of pending entries has been reached. This means that the BC judge needs to go through them and approve/reject the pending images before any more can be accepted. Just keep checking back–it can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days (very very rarely!) for entries to open up again.

The BC never officially closes its entries. You could enter 10 seconds before the contest started if you wanted.

 

Keep in mind that since the Beauty Contest is weekly, every contest ends and begins simultaneously at 3:15 NST on Fridays. This means if you enter on Friday at 3:20 NST, your entry won’t show up until the *next* Friday when the BC updates. Basically, all you can do after entering is wait around for the contest to start, and maybe start plotting your methods of attack.

Waiting for the BC to start is a great time to get everything ready for your pet’s BC debut, even if you don’t officially post it yet. Get ready to put your pet’s link and maybe an eye-catching advertising note in your Neoboard signature, resize an image to put on your user lookup, etc.

It is also very important to add a full-size, high-quality version of your entry on your petpage! The petpage can be accessed from the voting page with one simple click, so it’s the absolute most convenient way for voters to view your image.

The other thing you can do is go to the Beauty Contest board and post previews for your upcoming entry. This is a popular method of “pre-advertising” that attracts a lot of attention, and sometimes people will hold their votes for you if they like your picture enough.

 

First off, stay calm and don’t rush into things. ^^

You need to retrieve your pet’s voting page first. You can find your pet’s voting URL by going to any entrant’s voting page and changing the pet’s name to your own, like so:

http://www.neopets.com/beauty/details.phtml?pet=YOURPETNAME

If you haven’t already, update your Neoboard signature, user lookup, petpage, and shop with a link and image to your entry.

One important thing to remember is that unlike most links pasted on the Neoboards, Beauty Contest links are 100% allowed and it’s fine to directly paste them in. Links to BC entries that start with http and contain the full URL are also clickable on the boards, opening in a new window and making them extremely convenient to view. Lots of beginning BCers will make the mistake of leaving off parts of their BC link or putting spaces in it, making it a very tedious process of opening a new browser window, pasting in the link and making the necessary changes before the entry can be viewed. If you make your link easy to access, people will be much more inclined to visit!

Once your account is all decked out with links to your entry, it’s time to start campaigning!

 

Making your own board

The first thing you should probably do is make a board with an interesting title. Interesting and eye-catching titles will draw in a lot more people than a board named “vote for my Acara.” For example, when I had my Faerie Aisha in the Beauty Contest, some of the board titles I used were:

Butterfly wings!
Have you voted for a pretty faerie yet?
Aishas have four ears…
We are Siamese if you please.
Leaves are falling — it must be autumn!
Mewcat

Notice the variety of titles. Something silly like “Mewcat” got just as many replies as the more logical “Have you voted for a pretty faerie yet?” It can be fun to come up with creative titles, and much more beneficial in the long run. ^^

Another thing you can do to get people to come is say that you’ll comment on, rate or critique peoples’ entries if they do the same to yours. This is a great way to get people to look at your entry, comment and possibly vote, and since people love to get comments on their art, they’re more likely to come to these types of boards.

An example of a board like this would be something like:

 

Board title: Rating and commenting on entries!

Post a comment on my Aisha and I’ll rate and comment on your entries! Please don’t spam or I won’t look at your entry.

Which brings us to the next important part of advertising: how NOT to spam!

 

How exactly can you spam in the BC?
I mean, isn’t it about plastering your link everywhere?

 

Well, yes and no.

 

Here is an example of spam:
Cubby isn’t really a spammer! She was “modeling” :)

The object of the BC is to make your entry available to as many people as possible, but this does not mean that it’s okay to go to everyone’s board, post your link with a generic message like “vote for me” and leave. This is considered extremely rude and people almost always refuse to look at the entries of “advertspammers,” as they’re known around the BC boards.It’s extremely easy to tell if someone is spamming, too. If someone creates a board asking for a critique of their Gelert entry, and someone comes in, posts “Vote for my Pteri!” and leaves, this is obviously spam since they said nothing to contribute to the conversation of the board. In this same scenario, what would be perfectly acceptable is to post a comment about the board creator’s Gelert, followed by a polite note asking if they would please return the favor and comment on your entry.

Remember that even though the Beauty Contest board is for advertising, you are talking to real people who appreciate a little common courtesy. We’re all competing, but that doesn’t mean we can’t take the time to be polite and make friends with each other. :)

 

Visiting other boards

 

Example:

As noted above, it’s always a good idea to comment on the entry of the board creator. If the creator doesn’t have an entry in, still try to directly address them in your post to let them know you’re a real person who isn’t just pasting their link on the board in hopes for a vote.

As strange as it may sound, it’s actually a good idea to never directly ask for a vote. Some people may (a bit irrationally) take offense to someone asking “vote for me please?” and instead prefer to just have the link provided — since everyone knows you’re only showing your link to get votes anyway!

When I post on other boards, I sometimes don’t even reference my link–it’s there in my signature, and people look anyway. If I want to reference it, I may ask something like “Would you mind checking out my entry?”, since while this is drawing attention to my entry, I’m not demanding a vote. I always make it clear to voters that I only want them to vote if they genuinely like my entry, and people seem to like this approach. I know I certainly appreciate it when someone politely asks rather than demands a vote!

 

Free vote boards

 

Example:

The term “free votes” is used in the BC to indicate that the board maker is willing to vote for pets that post on their board. It is a great idea to keep an eye out for these types of boards, since many are “first come, first serve” – which requires you to be there fast!

When I’m chatting on “normal” boards, I’ll often have the main BC board open in a separate window, refreshing once in a while to see if any free vote boards pop up. If one does, I’ll go, read the first post quickly, and then post. You don’t have to be the fastest typer in the world to not spam–a brief note such as “yay for free votes!” is enough to prove you’re not spamming, after all.

It is very important to read the first post, however, since many times people will post a “code word” that you’ll need to post to prove you’re not spamming, or have some other requirement such as commenting on their entry before they’ll view yours. If the board is not first come first serve, you can obviously take your time and not feel as rushed in posting. ^^

Some people who think that the BC should be based purely on art make derogatory comments about free vote boards. My mentality is that if good art doesn’t post on the free vote boards, “bad” art will anyway, so you might as well try to snag whatever votes you can!

 

Rating & critiquing boards

 

Example:

These boards are very popular, but if they’re not handled carefully and politely by the board owner, they can often lead to irritation and hurt feelings if your entry is torn apart.

If you are creating a rating/critiquing board, please remember that you’re talking to real people who are often very happy with their art, and by tearing it apart or intentionally being rude/mean about it you can hurt their feelings very much. Sadly enough, I’ve seen even longtime BCers make these types of boards who post uncalled for things such as “it’s horrible” and “learn to draw and then try again.” This is not to say that you can’t provide honest and helpful comments with constructive criticism. Trying to explain to someone that their Uni’s leg doesn’t bend right and providing examples to help them in the future is a far better alternative to saying “fix the leg, it’s hideous.”

If you are considering posting on a rating/critiquing board, consider how you’d feel if the board maker posted hurtful or offensive comments about your art. If you know that you would get agitated from having your art be rejected, it’s probably a good idea to avoid these types of boards altogether. If you decide to go against your better judgment and post on them anyway, be prepared to be as polite as you can if you get hurtful comments–don’t make it into a personal fight! Just leave the board. Some people abuse the chance to critique others’ art and use it as a power trip.

However, if someone politely provides comments and criticism that are genuinely helpful (even if at first they irritate you since you think your picture is perfect), try to take them to heart anyway… unless it’s about something intentional. For example, I’ve had people give me “critiques” on how I shouldn’t always draw my Unis with long leg hair; this is not something that can be critiqued since it’s an intentional design choice. If someone told me that I could improve my Unis by changing the way I drew knees, however, I would listen.

Summarized, my main advice about these types of boards would be to approach with caution–both creating and visiting. They can be great fun if handled correctly and very hurtful if handled incorrectly.

 

Advertising on boards aside from the Beauty Contest board

 

It’s against the rules and considered spamming to post a topic on a board such as the Help Chat with the sole purpose of advertising your entry. It’s also against the rules to lend avatar items or other “help” in exchange for votes. Giving items for votes is a potentially freezable offense.

However, it is often a good idea to visit outside boards and chat. You’d be amazed at how many votes you can pick up just by talking to people. The Help Chat is probably best for this type of advertising, since if you know the answer to someone’s question you can post it, instantly providing a conversation starter. It’s recommended not to rely too heavily on this type of advertising though, but it can be a nice outlet for votes if the BC board is going slow or you’re tired of seeing the same BCers day in and day out. 

It can also be considered cheating if you post a lending board on the Avatar Chat and ask people to vote for your pet if they want to borrow an avatar item. This is considered to be buying votes and is a freezable offense. However, there’s nothing to stop people from making lending boards with their BC link in their signature, unreferenced–it’s normally looked upon as shady by many BCers since often people will vote for the lender’s pet in order to “kiss up” to them in hopes of getting lent an item, but it is technically not against the rules.

 

Premium advertising

 

The only exceptions to the “no advertising on outside boards” rule are the premium boards. If you have Neopets Premium, you’re more than welcome to go to the Main Hall or Charter and make a board to advertise your entry.

It has been confirmed by flighttime, the TNT member in charge of premium, that it is 100% allowed to make a Beauty Contest board on premium. Some premium members like to make offensive comments about how BC topics are “spamming up the boards,” but people with BC entries are just as entitled to make threads as anyone else on premium.

However, one has to keep the “unwritten rules” of communities like the Main Hall and Charter in mind to avoid offending people. Always remember that the premium boards are very slow, and a result, it’s polite to make one single board (best make it a good title!) and bump it up all week long. This is a nice compromise, since nobody can possibly accuse you of spamming if you stick to one board all week, and it also helps draw attention to yourself if your board has lasted for so long.

In the past, I (along with many other people with BC entries) have been accused of wasting people’s time by having subjects that do not blatantly indicate that it’s a BC thread. I’ve always found this to be a bit silly, but since I don’t want to offend or alienate anyone, I’ve started putting (BC) after my subjects. For example, instead of making a thread titled “Do you think fire poogles are pretty?” I’ll now opt to go with “Do you think fire poogles are pretty? (BC).” I see a lot of people doing this on premium these days, and I admit it does make it a lot easier to tell what’s a BC topic and what’s not.

You can make your personal BC board on the Main Hall, Charter, or both, but I recommend going with one or the other. I always make mine on the Main Hall rather than charter since everyone who gets premium has access to the Main Hall, whereas you have to be subscribed for four months to see Charter. This means that, theoretically, a lot less people will see your entry if you post in Charter alone.

Also, lots of times there will be “group” BC boards in Charter and the Main Hall, where it is “accepted” to go and advertise your entry. I tend to dislike the group boards though, since if three people are advertising their Aishas on the same board, inevitably the one who posts on the first page will get the most votes–which seems pretty unfair. This is why it’s best to make your own board and not rely too much on the group boards, or feel guilted into only advertising on them.

 

There are several big no-nos to BC advertising. Some of the more commonly seen advertising errors are below.

Attempting to “steal votes” from the competition

Once in a while, ultra zealous entrants will decide to make the friendly competition of a normal BC into a personal attack.

There is no excuse for behavior such as going to the board of someone who has your same species and blatantly advertising your own pet. When I had my Tonu in the BC one week, there was another Tonu advertiser that literally followed me around to all my boards posting nasty things about my entry and saying “vote for MINE instead! It’s better!” What’s really awful is that at the end of the contest, my Tonu placed second to theirs. What an underhanded way to win!

This is not to say that you can’t converse normally with your competition. Sometimes the reverse of the above scenario will occur, and people will flip out if their competition innocently comes to their board to chat. There is a clear difference between chatting and advertising! If one of my friends has a Uni in and I do too, I’m not going to avoid talking to them all week–but I’m also not going to say to vote for my Uni instead of theirs.

Just remember that you should treat users with the same respect that you would if they weren’t your competition. The BC is a game, not a blood sport.

 

Claiming your entry is “the best” or insulting your competition

 

Advertising via personal attacks never works. I’ve seen people make boards about how you should vote for their pet because it’s not in a certain style that they “hate” or because its “the best Chia in the whole contest!”

Claiming that you have the best pet in a category can be very hurtful and rude to the competition… and even if your competition isn’t around to see, it makes you look pretty conceited!

If you have in a quad Aisha and despise your anthro Aisha competition, it’s not okay to post about how you should vote for a REAL Aisha and not those horrible anthros, nor is it okay to bash Photoshop art and say to only vote for “hand drawn” art. These types of topics normally start huge fights and harm you a lot more than they help you, since the BC is a pretty close-knit community from week to week in that we get to know and recognize each other quite well. If you make a horrible impression by insulting others entries and starting fights, your fellow BCers aren’t likely to forget it during the contest, meaning less votes for you and more for your competition.

However, it’s perfectly fine to draw attention to your entry by referring to it as “quality” or some other term. The key is to be able to make your entry sound good without needing to kick other people down to do it.

 

Spamming!

As addressed above, spamming is the WORST thing any BCer can do! It’s the most horribly offensive thing to have someone repeatedly spam your boards with the same “vote for me” message. I have never voted for a spammer and I never will.

 

Having a friend advertise for your entry

This is NOT ALLOWED! In extreme cases it can even result in the freezing of both parties or the removal of the entry from the BC. Only the owner of the pet who drew the entry is allowed to advertise for the pet.

This includes having your guild leader post your BC entry on the guild main page or having your friends link to your lookup where a huge advertisement for your pet can be found. Indirect advertising such as this can still get you in very bad trouble indeed.

 

There is only one “wrong” way to vote, and that is if you attempt to bribe/scam people into giving you something in exchange for votes. This includes trading votes, which is extremely against the rules. In general, though, there are five main ways to vote, though many people do any combination of the methods.

 

Manual voting

Manual voting refers to the act of “manually” sifting through the entries of each category and voting for the one you like best of each species. This way of voting has its merits, but it isn’t foolproof, since lots of really nice entries can be overlooked by the thumbnails.

Making manual voting boards, however, is against the rules, since it’s considered to be advertising for others. It doesn’t matter if you list the name of the pet or just describe it–it’s not allowed. Making such boards will result in a deleted board and either a warning or an account suspension.

 

Silent voting

I personally find the majority of silent voting to be a bit silly and suspect. There’s certainly nothing wrong with voting and not telling people–but making a silent voting board is truly pointless, and it just seems odd to me when people flat out refuse to tell who they voted for even when asked. The advertisers have no way to know if the “silent voter” is really looking at their entries or is just trying to draw attention to their own entry.

I silent vote a lot, meaning I’ll be browsing a category or a dead board and vote for something I like without telling the owner–but I’d never withhold who I voted for from anyone. That’s just creepy. 

 

Free voting

We know all votes are free, but as discussed above, free voting indicates that you’re intentionally setting aside time to vote for a large number of entries at once. Making these types of boards is a good way to get a large group of entries to sift through.

 

Random voting

Random voting is only random in the sense that you aren’t intentionally setting out to vote for others’ entries. This is the way that most Neopians vote. They’ll vote for entries that they like, but almost never use up all their species votes this way.

It can be nice to vote this way, since it frees you up to vote for appealing entries that you see being advertised throughout the week.

 

Making vote lists

Some people will keep a list of the entries they like and vote for the “best” one of each species at the end of the week. Though I can understand the point of the lists, it also seems like a bit too much work. You might as well manually vote, but some people like keeping the lists and find it fun, so if this method appeals to you, go for it. ^^

All votes are created equal! I think one of my biggest pet peeves is when people act as if their vote is somehow the most important thing that will happen to you in the contest. One single vote very rarely makes any difference in the BC, so try not to stress out trying to get votes from a “bad voter.” These people usually operate in one of three ways.

 

The ritual method

Often, people will make a “voting” board that winds up forcing people to participate in bizarre rituals. It often starts out innocently enough: “post the word banana so I know you’re not spamming and I’ll vote for the entries I like!” There’s nothing at all wrong with this sort of board, but you know you have a psycho on your hands when their demands start changing. “Well, I like the Buzz and the Aisha… hm, I wonder who I should vote for…”

When intelligent people inform the board creator that they can vote once per species, they normally get an angry response such as, “I only want to vote for ONE!!!” These people are pretty much beyond hope, and honestly, it’s probably best to leave the board before you encourage their mind games and power trips by participating in their board. They’ll often pretend to be leaning towards one entry, only to vote for another at the last minute just to be mean and post “board closed” before the refused entry can protest. These types of people can cause hard feelings and rivalry where there is none–a Buzz and an Aisha should not be judged against each other.

 

The condescending method

Less malicious than their power-tripping cousins, these voters still have a superiority complex. I have nothing whatsoever against manual voters who wait till the end of the week to vote, but the ones who think it’s necessary to make condescending comments throughout the week tend to get on my nerves.

I think it’s pretty simple–you either comment on someone’s entry without a voting reference, or you just vote if you like their entry. Comments like, “I love your Uni, but we’ll see how it matches up to the competition when I vote!” or “I’ll vote for your Uni unless I find something I like better” just plain offend me. If you genuinely like an entry and consider it to be vote-worthy, why is it so important to try to find a “better” entry to vote for in its place?

 

The vicious method

Sadly, lots of people seem to enjoy trying to hurt each other by making unwarranted malicious attacks on their art. Comments like “I won’t vote for something that ugly” are completely unnecessary. If you don’t want to vote for something, that’s your right, but be aware that outright insulting the work of others comes dangerously close to personal harassment and can be freezable if you’re vicious enough or follow them from board to board insulting their work. What a silly thing to get frozen over!

 

There are two trophies you can win in the BC–a species trophy and an overall trophy.

 

Overall trophies are won by the pets that get the most votes out of any species at the end of the week.

Species trophies are won by the pets who get the most votes out of their species category.

So, If I have a Uni entered in the BC that gets the most votes out of any of the Unis and the second most votes out of any pet entered in the entire contest, I would win a gold species trophy and a silver overall trophy. Please note that both trophies look exactly the same though–there’s no image difference between the two.

Most people who BC are in it for the species trophies, since overall is very hard to win!

The last important thing to know about BC trophies is that if your pet comes in 1st place in their species, they won’t be able to enter the contest again for four months. This is to prevent the same person from entering their same pet and winning the contest over and over. This period of time after winning is referred to by BCers as being “gold banned.” The ban only applies to the pet who won, though–you can still enter your other pets.

As of April 4th, 2008, there will be no more item or Neopoint prizes issued to species or overall winners, since the contest will be opened up to side account pets.

 

I am happy to say: YES. Or at least, yes starting on April 4th.

The BC used to be opened to side account pets as well as main account pets, but in April 2006, TNT enforced a new rule that no longer allowed side account pets to be entered since it was a contest which gave out NP prizes. Since you’re not allowed to make NP on your side accounts, it makes sense that it wouldn’t be allowed–the only confusing thing is why it was ever allowed to begin with!

The changing of this rule threw a lot of BCers into confused misery, and many longtime BCers either quit or resigned themselves to only entering their four main account pets. There were numerous petitions begging TNT to either change their minds or remove the prizes so that our side account pets could enter once more. In the March 14th, 2008 editorial, they listened to us!

 

Quote from the 03/14/08 editorial:

It’s too bad that the prizes are leaving, especially since I know a lot of people entered for the prizes. However, even though it was nice to win some NP for your efforts in the BC, the amount of NP obtained after a week of advertising wasn’t really that much in the grand scheme of things. And, the majority of people who enter the BC do so for the trophies, and those are staying!Just remember that entering your pets on side accounts doesn’t mean that you can cheat by entering the same picture for all of them, spamming every single one of your entries in the contest at once, or other underhanded means. Let’s accept this gift from TNT graciously and not make them regret changing the BC in this way. :) 

Due to popular demand we will be updating the Beauty Contest so that players will now be able to enter Neopets that are on their side accounts ! Yay! Starting on April 4th we will be removing the NP/item rewards (but the trophies stay of course!) so that all of you wonderful artists out there can enter any of your Neopets without risk. Remember to hold off using side accounts until April 4th, though. The old rules still apply until then!

The Beauty Contest is perhaps one of the most misunderstood aspects of Neopets.

The victim of much criticism and scorn, its entrants berate it harshly for its alleged unfairness, and outsiders complain about the advertising required to place. I have found that the vast majority of BC criticism comes from a poor understanding of how the contest really works–even among experienced BCers!

Like most aspects of life, the Beauty Contest has undergone several changes throughout the years. However, they don’t all have to be negative if you view them from the right perspective.

I hope to bring to light some common “myths” associated with the BC, while enlightening the non-BCing public to the viewpoints of Neopia’s artists.

 

I can’t even venture a guess on how many times I’ve heard people say that the Beauty Contest “isn’t even an art contest anymore; it’s a voting/popularity contest.” The BC was never presented as a contest where you enter your picture and the best one of the week wins. The Beauty Contest was intended to be an advertising contest! Advertising and gaining votes are all it takes to come out on top.

A very nicely drawn entry is certainly a big plus, and is a lot more likely to gain extra votes than an unoriginal drawing outlined in crayon would. However, those who complain that good artists shouldn’t have to advertise to win are failing to understand what type of contest the Beauty Contest really is.

Being successful in the BC is a three step process:

1) Drawing an attractive, original entry that you think voters would be happy to vote for,
2) Making your finished entry available to the largest number of voters possible, and
3) Having enough good fortune to enter on a week where your competition isn’t very difficult.

People often complain–when they fail to receive the placing they want at the end of the contest–that the entrants that placed over them “didn’t even deserve to win.” While I fully agree that it is frustrating to pour effort and energy into your entry only to come in 2nd, 3rd or worse, that doesn’t give you the right to insult the people who did better than you by the time votes were tallied. While it may seem unfair to you if a drawing you consider to be inferior to yours wins by a huge margin over yours, try to look on the bright side and enter the contest again, hoping for better luck. Also remember that the person who DID place over you is likely very happy that their pet won a trophy. They are just as entitled to that trophy as you are. Bitterness and rudeness will get you nowhere.

Honestly, LUCK plays a huge factor in how well you do at the end of the week. 1,000 votes would normally be enough to win you a position overall, yet some weeks, the top 3 entries have gotten anywhere from 5,000 to 10,000 votes, though these are more rarely seen.

Likewise, species categories can usually be easily won with 250 – 500 votes, yet sometimes 100 votes will get the job done while other weeks the winner has 2,000. It helps if you consider the BC a gamble of good or bad fortune rather than blaming yourself, or others, for your poor finish.

If you still have a huge problem with the BC not being 100% about art, maybe you should try your luck with the Art Gallery instead, though the Art Gallery is extremely subjective and random and many good artists fail to get in. Try thinking of the Beauty Contest as a competitive game, not simply an art contest, and you’ll do better in the long run.

I’ve never understood why people complain so much about the advertising it takes to win. It’s not a flaw; it’s now the BC was designed to be. So, complaining about advertising in the BC is like complaining about having to shoot the fuzzles in Evil Fuzzles From Beyond the Stars–pointless.

(Please note that I’m not advocating voting for poor art or the first entry you see; on the contrary, I support voting for entries with a clear amount of effort put into them. I may have different standards as to what “effort” is, however… I am not an art snob, and I view the BC as a contest that everyone who attempts a nice entry deserves a shot at winning. However, the majority of the voting public has no qualms voting for the first pet of the species they see, so we must face the reality of the situation and adjust!)


 

A mistake that some people make coming into the BC is thinking that all species are equal in difficulty. While it’s certainly possible to place well in ANY species, and the difficulty of categories varies from week to week, there are some species that are almost guaranteed to be competitive. Likewise, there are many species that are almost guaranteed to be easy due to the lack of entries each week.

If you’re new to the BC and have a pet of an easy species, I would recommend starting with them instead of jumping into Lupe (which is, in my opinion, the most brutal species of all) right off the bat. :) It’s a lot easier to figure out how the BC works with a less difficult species.

The following are my own personal views and commentary on the categories after manually sifting through the categories almost every week for the past several years. They are intended merely as a guideline rather than concrete rules.

I’ve also listed what type of art is most common in each of these categories. This is mostly for the sake of interest and shouldn’t affect your decision to enter a picture that either goes along with or defies the norm–it will just give you an idea of what your usual competition will be.

Note: In common BC lingo, “anthro” refers to an anthropomorphic pet that has a humanoid body with animal/Neopet features. “Quad” refers to a normal animal/Neopet, whether or not it has four legs. In other words, a normal Neopets-style Techo that walks on two legs is a “quad,” but if you make that Techo have humanoid anatomy and give it long, flowing hair, chances are you’re drawing an “anthro.

Additionally, when I discuss realism, I mean art that follows the anatomical rules of corresponding real-life animals–but of course, anything too realistic that lacks Neopet characteristics won’t be accepted to begin with.

 

Hard species are those which are practically guaranteed to be filled with either a large amount of entries or extremely competitive competition–competitive both in terms of quality of art and advertising dedication. If you have trophies in these categories, you should be proud!

Aisha – One of the most popular species, Aisha normally draws in an extremely wide range of entries. It seems to vary in quality from week to week–one week there were 10 entries that I personally considered good, and another week I couldn’t even find one that I liked! Cross your fingers and hope you enter on a less quality week.
Common Style: Anthros are extremely common, as are fluffy cute things with eyes too big for their skulls and ear stalks on pencil-thin lines.

Draik – Usually a very small category, yet a VERY competitive one due to either owner popularity/dedication or quality artwork. The difficulty level and large amounts of high-quality art mean that you have to dedicate yourself to advertising to place well. Though there are “off” weeks like every category where it’s unusually easy, I would label Draik as one of the hardest categories of all.
Common Style: Almost exclusively elegant/powerful-looking quad Draiks; anthros and cute things are relatively rare.

Krawk – Another small category, Krawk artists tend to be incredibly talented and also very competitive. Krawk isn’t *quite* as hard as Draik on a weekly basis, but I can guarantee you’ll need to advertise to get the placing you want.
Common Style: Largely anthro category; quad Krawks are fairly rare, and even the ones that are more quad than anthro (i.e. no clothing) tend to have humanoid anatomy.

Kougra – One of the largest categories in terms of weekly entrants, this division usually has a very small number of quality entries. The sheer number of Kougras makes it difficult to get your entry noticed by manual voters; on the flip side, if you have a pretty entry, the general poor quality of Kougra entrants helps get you noticed.
Common Style: Mostly quad Kougras with fairly realistic anatomy and wild designs. Anthros aren’t very common, but they exist.

Lupe – Lupe advertisers have to be extremely aggressive and competitive to get their entries noticed it seems. Lupe is probably in the top 3 largest categories every week, and as a result, it can take people ages to manually look at every entry, therefore making your entry less likely to receive manual votes unless it looks stunning from the thumbnail. As for board advertising… there are so many Lupe advertisers on the boards every week that it’s a wonder the top three Lupes aren’t always separated by just a few votes!
Common Style: Overrun with fairly realistic quads and Neopets-style Lupes; anthros are a pretty big rarity.

Uni – Lots of people consider this to be one of the absolute hardest divisions. I have to say that, as an experienced Uni BCer, the Uni category has gotten a LOT easier in the past several years. It seems like there used to be innumerable jaw-dropping Unis every week, and now it’s fortunate to have one or two standout entries. The overall number of entrants seems to have dropped as well. Be persistent with your Uni advertising, but it doesn’t tend to be as brutal as some categories.
Common Style: Almost entirely either Neopets-style Unis or realistic equines; anthros practically don’t exist.

Xweetok – For some reasons, Xweetok is probably the largest division from week to week. Everyone and their mom likes to enter a Xweetok every Friday it seems. Fortunately for you, most of them tend to be redrawn happy poses of the Faerie Xweetok, helping your unique entry to stand out amongst the group. You have to be very diligent with advertising though, since it’s easy to fall behind in the hoard!
Common Style: Anthros are very commonly seen in this category, along with cute fluffy Xweetoks. Realism is a rarity here.

Zafara – For a long time, the difficulty of Zafara seemed to have gone downhill; it was hard to find a nice entry. But for some reason, Zafara enthusiasts have roared to life once more, and this has returned to being one of the most competitive categories. However, there tend to only be two or three standout entries every week, which you can use to your advantage.
Common Style: An anthro-ruled category; quads are actually surprisingly rare.

 

Medium species take a lot of dedication to win, but they aren’t usually as brutal as the hard species. You definitely need to advertise decently in these though!

Acara – Acara tends to have a small number of entries, but advertising seems to be consistently tough. Fortunately, there usually are only one or two Acaras advertising hard, making it fairly easy to get at least a bronze with minimal advertising.
Common Style: Anthros seem to be more common than quads, but there are plenty of cute wide-eyed Acaras waiting to steal your votes.

Bori – This one doesn’t draw in many entries on most weeks, but there tend to be at least a few very nice entries in. You probably wouldn’t place without advertising here, but it usually isn’t necessary to over-exert yourself with advertising either.
Common Style: Most Bori entries tend to be Neopets-style… anthros exist but aren’t as common as the quads.

Buzz – A small- to medium-sized category, Buzz aren’t very popular Neopets in general due to an unfair bias against bugs. However, the people who love them tend to be insanely talented for some reason! On most weeks you’re probably guaranteed a placing if you advertise halfway decently, but competition may be tough for the gold. I would label this as one of the toughest medium categories, however.
Common Style: Anthros are very rare; most entries are Neopets-style or amazing dragonlike super-insects.

Cybunny – Cybunny varies from week to week between a listless four-pet category to a large and competitive maulfest. There are usually only a handful of decent bunny entries, and even when it’s competitive, there’s normally a pretty big gap between the 1st and 2nd Cybunny–perhaps suggesting that it’s fairly easy to get yours noticed and stick with the momentum.
Common Style: Anthros and Neopets-style tend to be the norm; realistic quads are rare.

Eyrie – Eyries normally have a good number of entries, and quite a few quality ones as well. I would suggest advertising fairly hard in this category sheerly due to the general overall quality of the category; however, the winners of the Eyrie category almost always have a small number of votes, suggesting that it might not always be as hard as it looks.
Common Style: Almost exclusively realistic quads and Neopets-style. I almost never see anthros in this category.

Gelert – Gelerts are popular, and popularity means a larger category for you to advertise in. Though not as vicious as the Lupe category, Gelert advertisers usually have to be pretty dedicated to advertising in order to win. There’s normally only one or two standout Gelerts each week, and the overall vote number each week tends to be fairly low.
Common Style: Neopets-style Gelerts reign supreme; anthros and realistic quads can be seen in very limited numbers.

Grarrl – The Grarrl category is normally only one page long. It’s not hard at all to win in Grarrl if you advertise fairly consistently–some weeks are easier than others, of course. There are a lot of awesome Grarrl artists out there though, which is why I opted to list them under “medium” instead of “easy.”
Common Style: Realistic quads are actually the most commonly seen Grarrl. Neopets-style is less common, and anthros aren’t entered very often.

Hissi – Hissi can be ridiculously competitive on some weeks with absolutely stunning entries, but on most weeks, it tends to be very small with overall low quality. The small size is a plus factor as far as difficulty is concerned; since there are less Hissis to pick from, chances are yours will get a lot of attention and votes if it’s attractive.
Common Style: Realistic quads and Neopets-style seem to be evenly matched. Most Hissi anthros don’t go over too well, and they’re rare.

Ixi – The Ixi competition is extremely tough! It’s usually not an excessively large category (about medium sized), but Ixi artists tend to be *very* talented and I almost always have trouble deciding which Ixi I want to vote for. Advertise tons in this category to be sure, though the smaller number of overall entries helps make this one less brutal than the hard categories.
Common Style: Anthros used to be the norm in this category, but I’ve noticed the numbers steadily decreasing; Neopets-style is the norm, with realistic quads being the rarest of the lot.

Kacheek – I don’t mean to discriminate against Kacheeks, but there are almost never super quality Kacheek entries. I feel lucky if I see one or two in a week. However, as one of the most popular species, the category is always very large and tough to get noticed in due to the lack of quality–but this can also work in your favor if you advertise well with a nice picture!
Common Style: Neopets-style is the most commonly seen entry by far. Realism pretty much doesn’t exist here, but anthros are seen in smallish numbers each week.

Korbat – A very small category to be sure. Korbat artists are very talented and competitive, but you’re probably guaranteed a placing if you try at least a little here, unless you enter on a super competitive week. This is also a very easy category to get a voting majority in–in many weeks the winner has around 200-300 votes with the second and third place finishes only clinging to around 50.
Common Style: Korbat entries tend to be either cutesy or scary with varying levels of realism. Neopets-style isn’t massively common. There are some anthros, but they tend to take a backseat to the other styles.

Kyrii – Quality Kyriis are a relative rarity, so if yours is eye-catching, you stand a good chance of placing here. Also a fairly small category.
Common Style: Anthros are extremely common here and place well. Quad Kyriis aren’t as common as you’d think they’d be these days.

Lenny – This is a category that I’ve recently bumped up in from easy to medium my guide. It used to be a very low quality category overall, but lately I’ve noticed a huge influx of quality, original Lenny entries. There are almost always one or two fantastic Lennies, so this is definitely a category you should advertise well in.
Common Style: Neopets-style with the occasional realistic lovely quad. Anthros don’t really exist.

Lutari – A normally tiny category due to the small number of Lutaris in Neopia. Lately this category seems to draw in two to five entries. However, there are normally quite a few attractive Lutaris every week, so try your best at advertising!
Common Style: Quads are the most commonly seen type of Lutari, but anthros rarely make appearances.

Peophin – There are normally only one or two pages of Peophins, but the ones entered tend to be very high quality. Lots of people describe Peophin as easy to place in but difficult to win. Perhaps one of the hardest “medium” categories from week to week since Peophin advertisers tend to be pretty dedicated. I’m tempted to list this category under hard!
Common Style: Almost exclusively realistic quad; Neopets-style is seen less frequently, and anthros pretty much don’t exist.

Poogle – Poogle is a surprisingly competitive category. Those who advertise seriously should have no problem pulling off a bronze or silver, but the 1st place Poogle almost always seems to win by a landslide, indicating that this is an easy category to get noticed in and run with the momentum- if you either advertise like a madman or have an extremely quality entry. Unfortunately, the art quality each week is normally pretty … unattractive.
Common Style: Neopets-style Poogles dominate all other styles. Anthros are the second most common style by a distant margin, and I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen an attempt at a realistic Poogle.

Pteri – The difficulty level of Pteris is pretty much up for debate–I had trouble deciding if I should put them under medium or easy. There are almost never quality Pteri entries, but those that are quality seem to place overall quite often, perhaps indicating that the voting public loves pretty Pteris!
Common Style: Basically exclusively quad or Neopets-style; anthros are an anomaly.

Shoyru – Another extremely popular species that is cursed with an abundant but generally poor-quality turnout every week. It seems that original Shoyrus are becoming an increasingly rare sight, so if yours stands out from the group of traced disco Shoyrus, you have a great shot at placing–it’s the number of entrants that may work against you here, not the quality.
Common Style: Cutesy “chibi-style” Shoyrus are incredibly common and do well, as do anthros who clearly maintain the species characteristics.

Usul – Usul is usually a pretty small category, but there are almost always a handful of very nice entries. It isn’t very hard for Usuls to get noticed since the winner normally wins by a large margin, but advertising is a must. Unfortunately, most entries are depressingly low quality.
Common Style: Anthros seem to be evenly matched with cute, fluffy Neopets-style usuls.

Wocky – A surprisingly small category. There are almost never quality Wockies, but those that are cute and/or eye-catching tend to be extremely well received on the boards. Who doesn’t love a fluffy cat-fox-thing? Wocky doesn’t look all that hard to win on most weeks; highly competitive weeks (in terms of image quality) look to be few and far between.
Common Style: Mostly fluffy quad things with excessive amounts of hair. Anthros aren’t hugely common

 

If you advertise in an easy species, you’re almost guaranteed a trophy for your troubles, but getting a gold will likely take a bit of advertising. Some of these species have three or less entries on a regular basis, while others tend to be unpopular species that are overlooked in general. This can work to your advantage though–theoretically, if everyone likes Lupes and decides to vote for a variety of Lupes, but nobody bothers looking at Quiggles but votes for yours since it’s the only one advertising, you might wind up with more votes overall than a Lupe owner.

Blumaroo – Highly sparse and usually with zero good entries, but there are occasional Blumaroos that are absolute standouts and definite crowd pleasers.
Common Style: Since Blumaroos are kind of strange looking (no offense, Blumaroo fans) a cute style tends to work best here. Anthros exist in tiny numbers.

Bruce – Originally-posed Bruces are a rarity, so if you don’t trace a TNT Bruce pose, your entry automatically stands out from the crowd. Some Bruce entries are absolutely gorgeous and wind up with massive amounts of votes though, so hope you enter on an all-traced week if you don’t want to advertise much!
Common Style: Another “cute” species where realism doesn’t tend to go over very well. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Bruce anthro…

Chia – Chia used to be packed full of bad-quality images with the occasional beauty; now it’s sparser than ever, and the image quality hasn’t gotten any better. When someone draws a Chia that’s actually *cute*, however, they seem to be very popular. Whatever you do, don’t use the circle tool to draw a pea and put a cape on it. It’s been beaten to death. ._.
Common Style: There’s not much to do with a Chia other than to make them Neopets-style. Anthros don’t go over too well.

Chomby – Probably one of the most competitive easy species, Chomby usually has VERY few entrants, but usually at least two per week are extremely competitive.
Common Style: Mostly Neopets-style with the occasional realistic quad. Anthros are even rarer.

Elephante – Elephante looks to be a very passive easy species. It’s a very unpopular species as a whole, meaning people rarely go to intentionally vote for an Elephante, which can be used to your advantage if you advertise even a little. Normally less than 5 entries per week.
Common Style: Neopets-style and realistic quads are popular. Anthros are rare.

Flotsam – A very small and easy-looking species. Occasional original Flotsams will emerge and be popular, but as a whole, it looks pretty easy to get your Flotsam noticed.
Common Style: Pretty much 100% quad/Neopets-style. More rare anthros.

Gnorbu – Another small category, but there are a lot of very talented Gnorbu artists out there. I sometimes find it hard to decide on a Gnorbu to vote for since there’s normally a handful of very nice entries. You have a great chance of placing with minimal advertising, but gold may be a bit trickier than some of the other easy species.
Common Style: Cute Neopets-style seems to be the way to go here (unless you have a mutant Gnorbu). Anthros are seen somewhat often.

Grundo – Another unpopular category that is easy to get noticed in. Most serious advertisers are guaranteed a placing, and quality Grundos are normally guaranteed a win.
Common Style: Neopets-style is very common and popular; there’s not much to work with in terms of realism here. Anthros are common.

Jetsam – This is a category which is incredibly easy on many weeks, but on rare weeks, people that either bank on their popularity or have quality art will enter and blow away the competition. Jetsams tend to be a popular pet for Battledome and Avatar Chat fans for some reason, and many of those people have high lookup traffic which means a high vote count. Try an original Jetsam pose and you stand a good chance at placing, however.
Common Style: Neopets-style. Anthros are very rare.

JubJub – JubJubs are hard to put in original poses, but please try! The JubJub category could do with more original art. Though not a popular species, cute JubJubs tend to go over well and get a decent amount of votes when advertised properly. This category almost never has lethal competition, however.
Common Style: Cute and/or Neopets-style–anthro JubJubs are just plain scary and rarely see the light of day.

Kau – There are almost never good Kaus to vote for, so it’s always a pleasant surprise when a nice one pops up. Quality Kaus almost always win over the crowd by a large margin with little advertising. You almost never see Kau advertisers on the boards. Normally less than 5 entries per week.
Common Style: Neopets-style is the most common by far, followed by other quads. Anthro is very rare.

Kiko – Seeing as how almost all Kikos are either traced or drawn using the oval tools in MS paint, anything original is an instant standout in this little category. Normally less than 5 entries per week.
Common Style: This is a category where you can’t go wrong with going the cute Neopets-style route. I don’t think it’s possible to do a Kiko anthro…

Koi – Most Kois are very boring traces, and the category is almost always tiny. The Kois who have the most success are elegant, eye-catching fishies that at least make an attempt at an original pose (though I realize it’s hard to pose a fish, you get automatic points for not using a Neopets pose.)
Common Style: Neopets-style with the occasional quad and even rarer anthro. Be careful that you give your anthro Koi a face resembling a Neopets-drawn Koi rather than a human or else you stand a good chance of getting removed.

Meerca – A tiny category with a handful of entries that are almost always of unimpressive quality. Originality gets you far here in terms of standing out. Doesn’t look like it requires very much advertising at all to win/place.
Common Style: Neopets-style; there’s not much you can do with anthros or realism here.

Moehog – Moehog is normally very small with a very limited number of entries–normally one page or less. Having said that, there’s usually a few cute Moehogs that do well when advertised decently. There aren’t very many people who love their Moehogs enough to draw and BC them though, giving you an advantage over many other species.
Common Style: Cute and Neopets-style are the most commonly seen; occasionally a realistic quad will pop up. Anthros are incredibly rare.

Mynci – Quality Myncis are hard to find, and it’s an unpopular species, meaning very few entrants. Eye-catching and unique Myncis tend to do well as far as votes go, so advertise minimally and you’ll probably be okay.
Common Style: Neopets-style; realistic monkeys are very very rarely seen for some reason. Anthros are seen rarely, normally as Royal Myncis.

Nimmo – Another species that’s normally a tiny one-page category. In fact, it’s a common occurance for there to only be two or three Nimmos in the entire category, meaning everyone places.
Common Style: Neopets-style is the most common by far. Anthros are extremly rare.

Ogrin – There’s actually usually a decent number of quality Ogrin entries, but the overal unpopularity of this species means that it’s normally not very competitive. It’s a good idea to plan on advertising a fair bit though.
Common Style: Neopets-style and realistic quads seem to be evenly matched in terms of popularity. Anthros are seen rarely.

Quiggle – Like Nimmo, Quiggle routinely only has two or three entries. On one week, there was only one Quiggle entered, which was an automatic win for that lucky person! Advertise a bit but you probably don’t have to overly exert yourself. One of the easiest species in the entire BC.
Common Style: Neopets-style with cute chibi frogs coming a close second. Anthros don’t exist.

Ruki – A sparse category that normally has several advertisers per week. One of the easier species to place in, but it might take a bit more effort to pull off a win on some of the better weeks.
Common Style: Neopets-style is pretty much the only type of Ruki out there.

Scorchio – Even though Scorchios are fairly popular Neopets, they are almost always poorly represented in the BC. There’s usually a quality picture or two, but the numbers are so tiny that it’s not really hard at all to pull off a win or placing in this category.
Common Style: Neopets-style or realistic quads. Anthros are rare.

Skeith – Skeith normally only has a handful of entries, but they tend to be of high quality. Skeith enthusiasts are talented! You’ll need to advertise decently for a 1st place finish, but probably not too hard for just a placing.
Common Style: Realistic quads seem to be the most popular, with Neopets-style a close second. Anthros are seen surprisingly often.

Techo – Even though Techos are a largely unpopular species, there are usually several good Techo entries every week, but the competition and category size isn’t large enough to warrant being listed under the medium species.
Common Style: Everything goes in Techo–realistic quad, Neopets-style and anthros are seen about equally.

Tonu – As an unpopular species, you can imagine that the Tonu category usually isn’t much to write home about. However, there’s almost always one standout entry that steals the spotlight from the other entries–but of course, it doesn’t always win. This is a good thing, unless of course your Tonu is the standout entry.
Common Style: Neopets-style is the most common by far; anthros are rare but make guest appearances.

Tuskaninny – Tuskaninny is usually a sad little category with five or less entrants and little advertising attention. If you own a Tuskaninny, you should enter something creative and bring the category to life! I can’t imagine a 1st in Tuskaninny being hard to pull off if you advertise even a little.
Common Style: There isn’t much choice for anything other than a Neopets-style Tuskaninny. Anthros don’t really appear in this category.

Yurble – Not many people are Yurble fans, sadly, which means that this category also has a very small number of entrants. A small bit of advertising should be all you need to place well.
Common Style: Neopets-style and anthros are evenly matched.

 

 

People like to claim that the BC is “falling apart,” “getting worse,” or generally falling into the dark ages in overdramatic temper tantrums. Really, nothing has happened to “ruin” the BC, and I doubt it ever will. The BC has gone through changes, yes–but so has everything else in life. Not all the changes to the BC have to be bad if you look at them objectively.

Following are some common complaints about the BC.

 

It’s not even an art contest anymore; it’s a voting/popularity contest!

The BC was never, throughout its entire history, presented as an art contest. It has been confirmed time and again that it is a voting/advertising/campaigning contest. The only real art contest on the site is the Art Gallery. Therefore, the BC is not “becoming” a voting contest — it is one by design!

I also wouldn’t be so quick to define it as a popularity contest. While popular users do win, they’re in the minority, since new and “unknown” users win on a regular basis. All it takes is advertising and dedication to get ahead!

 

They used to show the number of votes each pet had during the contest. They shouldn’t have removed that feature!

Ideally, it would be convenient for the contest’s entrants to be able to see how well they’re doing as the contest progresses. However, to believe this wouldn’t cause significant problems, such as increased spamming and cheating, is living in a dream world. If the vote count of every entrant was visible to the public, the most popular pictures would most likely continue gaining votes and the losing entrants would feel severely disheartened and would give up trying completely. If the count was visible only to the owner of the pet, people would post how many votes they had so far, which would also discourage BCers with a smaller vote count and make them stop trying. It could also be abused and used as a way to assure “vote trades” which have always been against the rules.

The truth is, the BC is much, much better off without such a feature.

 

TNT needs to remove the voting board and ban advertising! Then good art would win!

Well, aside from the fact that the BC is not about “good” art, this proposed solution wouldn’t help either. If advertising was outlawed, most people would lose interest in the BC, and nobody would bother to go sift through the entries and vote.

Plus, even if this fantasy world did overtake our own, people could STILL advertise their pet by telling people to go vote for the orange Kougra wearing a baseball cap because they drew it.

 

The BC needs to be split into different sections…

There are many proposed suggestions that get thrown around from time to time — an anthro section and a quad section, a “kids” and an “adults” section, etc. The truth is, none of them are fair or practical, and despite the fact that they would never be implemented to begin with, it seems silly to go on about them. The BC is sparse enough as it is — if we started splicing it up into different sections there would hardly be any entries to vote for!

 

Premium: they need to make a separate board for the Beauty Contest!

There already is a board dedicated to the Beauty Contest — off of premium. Claiming that there needs to be a premium board just for the BC is downright discriminatory. If this ever comes to pass, then I expect to see the Main Hall & Charter boards deleted and instead have every single normal board cloned for premium members.

The Main Hall & Charter boards are for everything Neopets related. This means that, just as restocking and quest boards are allowed to exist on Charter, so are Beauty Contest boards.

Lots of people concede that BC boards are allowed on premium, but insist that they should be kept on ONE board, much like how everyone posts their quests on the quest help board. This only works in theory if you have a poor understanding of how the BC functions. The BC is about advertising YOUR entry — you can’t “group” advertise if people of the same species are hanging around. The problem with group BC boards is that everyone goes through and votes for each of the entrants that posted in turn — meaning that if an Aisha posts on the 1st page and you don’t post your Aisha until the 4th page, Aisha #1 just stole all your premium votes.

Just remember: anything Neopets related is allowed to be posted on premium, and just because you don’t personally like the content of a board does not automatically make it against the rules. :)

I’m not in denial — there are a lot of ugly sides to the BC. However, I genuinely believe that the vast majority of the problems in the BC are the fault of my fellow BCers, rather than how the contest is structured on the site itself. I hope that by shedding light on some of the ugliest aspects of the BC I can inspire some people to think more carefully about what they say on the BC boards!

 

Art Biases

Art biases refer to people who refuse to vote for a certain type of picture because they’re not a fan of the style or medium you used. I personally find it silly to discriminate against a good picture just because you’re not a fan of Photoshop art, colored pencil art or anime style, to bring up a few common examples. I’ve even had people tell me that they really liked my art, but they don’t vote for pictures in my style/medium. The question that begs asking is; if you really like a picture, what does it matter what style it’s drawn in?

Getting upset and accusatory isn’t the way to go here. Though it is a bit frustrating to run into these types repeatedly, people are welcome to their individual opinions, and you have no more of a right to tell them they should like your art than they have to tell you they don’t like it for its style.

Suggestions:
Avoid openly discriminating against someone’s style of art. Nine times out of ten, the artist will get offended, and there’s no need to start fights over someone’s drawing style. If you don’t like the picture, just don’t vote; it’s as simple as that!

If someone does discriminate against your art, take a deep breath and force yourself to move on. Getting defensive won’t help the situation. However, if someone repeatedly insults your work and won’t stop, there’s always the option to report them for harassment. (Disclaimer: Please note, however, that having someone just tell you they won’t vote is NOT harassment.)

 

Art Theft

Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who decide it would be a good idea to try to win by stealing someone else’s art. You are not allowed to enter images that are not your own! When caught — and it almost always is — art theft results in your account being frozen.

Art theft, fortunately, is normally pretty easy to spot, and will get removed before the contest ends 99% of the time. Sometimes it’s blatantly obvious when a picture has been stolen. Some warning signs are:

 

— Cropped / resized / distorted pictures – while it’s true that some legitimate entries are cropped to just show the face, it can often be a sign of theft if someone’s trying to crop out a signature.
— Pictures with glaringly obvious modifications – colored pencil Uni with wings drawn on in MS paint, anyone?
— The speech – is it something like “Hi” or completely missing? People who put effort into their picture will include a relevant speech.
— Default petpage – 9 times out of 10, people with legitimate entries will do *something* to the petpage. It doesn’t matter if it’s customized with a layout — there should at least be a full-size version of the pet’s entry, or some sort of text.
— Wrong pet name / username – It’s amazing how many people don’t even bother to remove the name of the pet they stole from! Other times, it’s clear if the name has been erased and replaced with the pet thief’s name.

If you’re still in doubt about if an entry is stolen or not, it’s perfectly acceptable to post on the BC board with a link to the image and ask if anyone recognizes it. It is not harassment to discuss someone’s entry.

Keep in mind that even if you’re positive you’re seeing a stolen image, you can’t report it unless you have the original image to include in the report form.

Suggestions:
For thieves — just don’t do it! You’ll get frozen, and it’s an underhanded way to try to win.

For thief hunters, follow the above steps and take appropriate action if you’re positive the entry is stolen.

There are several things you can do to help prevent your art from being stolen. Always include your username and pet name on your original entry, since even though these can be edited out, they are proof that you created the original. Also keep versions of your BC entries up on your petpages or lookups somewhere — there have been unfortunate cases where entries that didn’t place have been stolen and entered, but nobody could find an original version to prove they were stolen.

 

MS Paint Art

MS Paint artists are rather cult-like in their defense of the program. Stating that you won’t vote for “MS Paint scribbles” will cause a wide range of MS Paint BCers to descend upon you with claws bared. However, their rage is justified: MS Paint art, i.e. pixel art, is *extremely* difficult to master!

With Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro or other art programs, you can just select a soft-edged brush and go. With MS paint, you work with individual pixels. Quality MS Paint pictures with shading, detail, fur texture, etc should be regarded with respect and admiration, not scorn.

HOWEVER, there is a flip side to the MS Paint argument for some artists. Unfortunately, some people who only have access to MS Paint make nasty comments about Photoshop art, claiming that it only looks good because the program is expensive.

Suggestions:
All everyone has to do to avoid arguments about which program is better is to realize that they are all vastly different mediums. Would you start a fight over if colored pencils make better drawings than art markers? All forms of art, be they traditional or digital, should be respected; nitpicking someone else’s art just because of the program they used is being ignorant to the facts and just plain rude.

 

Traditional vs. Digital Art

You will often run into people making topics stating that they’ll only vote for traditional or digital art for one reason or another. This is a bad call on the poster’s part, since it opens them up to be flamed by either side that they’re insulting.

Of the two, digital artwork is the most commonly discriminated against. I see far less people saying they’ll vote only for digital art than I see “traditional only” voters.

People enjoy making ludicrous claims about digital art, and Photoshop art in particular, likely due to the price of the program. I have actually seen people post the following sentence:

 

They didn’t even draw their picture; they used the computer to make it LOOK drawn!”

This is a laughable statement to anyone who has ever spent hours and hours hunched over their mouse or tablet agonizing over a computer drawing. BOTH digital and traditional artwork take a huge amount of skill and effort to make attractive! Many digital artists even make the case that it’s a lot harder to create a believable texture on a computer program than it is with pencils, markers or other traditional media. It can be easier to get an artistic style going with the natural colors of pencils/etc than with computer colors, which almost always look tacky if the artist doesn’t know what they’re doing. :)Suggestions:
Realize that (quality!) digital art takes many, many hours, months and years to master, whereas anyone can color in a picture with pencils. On the flip side, realize also that skilled traditional artists also put incredible amounts of time (years) and effort into their work, and that not every traditional piece is a blurry crayon doodle. You should NEVER judge someone’s art based solely on the program they used or didn’t use. You are welcome to have your preference of the two, of course, but starting a fight over it won’t help anything. The simple truth is that both styles of artwork take skill to look attractive — period.

 

Quad vs. Anthro Art

Quad refers to quadruped, i.e. “normal” animals, whereas anthro refers to anthropomorphic – animals with human qualities.

This is perhaps the most wildly debated topic in the BC. Lots of people despise anthros beyond all reason, but they also have a huge cult following of dedicated artists. I admit it – even though I’m an anthro artist today, when I started following the BC in 2004 I used to dislike anthros… a lot. Therefore, I can see both sides of the anthro argument very clearly.

Quads are pretty much not discriminated against at all. I can honestly say that I’ve never seen a quad entry be refused solely for being quad — some people like to support anthro art by voting for a lot of it every week, but they all tend to vote for quad entries as well. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the anthro side of things.

The people who hate anthros are probably sick of most popular art being done in anime style (since 99% of anthros are at least a little anime style). Really, lots of anthros look like they could be generic anime characters that are colored like Neopets with ears and tails stuck on. In my opinion, the true quality anthros are those who intentionally try to capture both animal (Neopet) characteristics along with the human characteristics — there’s no need to sacrifice animal traits in order to make a pet anthro.

Take a look at Neopets’ original characters — Jeran, Sophie, Jazan, Garin and all the rest. These are all good examples of “true” anthros, since they look unmistakably like their intended species while still maintaining human characteristics. However, they tend to be much more cartoony than most BC artists draw their entries, which is fine — but I think it’s still a good idea to keep them in mind when designing your anthros.

As an example, I, personally, tend to dislike anthros whose facial features are more human than they are animal. To me, a generic human face with Aisha ears can never qualify as a real anthro. If an anthro has a human nose, it completely ruins the animal effect. Does a Lupe look more like a Lupe with a human nose and wolf ears or with a wolf muzzle on an otherwise anthro body?

When drawing my own anthros and choosing anthros to vote for, I follow one simple rule — is it extremely obvious what species the anthro is just by looking at it? Many anthros are completely unrecognizable as their intended species. It’s not a good sign when you have to look up the pet just to figure out what species of anthro it is.

I realize, of course, that human-style anthro artists are entirely entitled to draw in their style of choice, but in general, the style of anthro described above is what is accepted in the BC (in terms of popularity and being allowed *in* the BC by the judge).

Suggestions:
As a voter, don’t make a blanket statement that you hate anthros and won’t vote for them. If you don’t intend to vote for anthros, just go through and vote for the quad entries that you like. Many people who claim that they won’t vote for anthros often wind up voting for them anyway, making comments like “wow, I don’t usually like anthro but I really like this one!”.. meaning it *is* possible for both styles to get along! :)

As an artist, you have the right to your artistic freedom, but it’s also a good idea to try to make your pet as recognizable as possible. I still maintain that the most important feature of an anthro is its nose. Subtle arches for muzzles and pet noses make it so much more obvious what species your pet is! If you’re discriminated against anyway for having an anthro entry, try your best not to argue with the voter — it won’t do any good and will only serve to agitate you. Trust me, I’ve been there plenty of times!

 

Copy & Paste / CAP Entries

CAPs are probably the most hated images by the voting public — but not all of them should be looked upon with scorn! I actually am a huge CAP supporter — if they are done well!

Anyone can download the image of a happy green Skeith and draw a mustache on it, but how many people can change the colors with shading, add custom wings and completely different eyes while still maintaining the look of a real Neopets image? It takes skill, just the same as drawing does. Modifying an official image skillfully is art design; it’s a different type of art from drawing, but art nonetheless.

What if someone can’t draw for beans, but they can make a very unique and creative image by modifying existing Neopets images? Don’t they deserve a trophy too?

Making CAPs is actually pretty fun, and I have plans to make them for all of my pets lookups someday for my own enjoyment.

Suggestions:
Don’t instantly dismiss CAPs as being horrible or insult the artist. I have voted for some truly stunning ones before.

 

Repeat Advertising

Repeat advertising refers to entering the same picture over and over and over and… over. It’s fine (albeit fairly boring) if you enter the same picture repeatedly because it hasn’t won before — but if your picture has won and you keep entering it repeatedly and winning with it, it can be considered cheating.

I know I wouldn’t vote for the same entry more than once — it’s the principle! If you made a beautiful entry once, you can make another one. :)

Suggestions:
Try not to enter the same picture more than once. If it doesn’t place, it’s fine to re-enter, but try to avoid entering an image that has already won. And remember — you absolutely cannot use the same image for more than one pet!

Share this post