In middle and high school the only image editor on a computer I had access to was MS Paint. For those who may not know or remember, MS Paint is the super basic application for messing around with images that came with Microsoft. Mostly it was a couple of super simple pixel brushes and a color picker. Really not much else.
In high school I also spent a ridiculous amount of time on the free website Neopets making up characters and stories for my virtual companions. Petpages are free web space provided by neopets to describe your pet and pretty do whatever you want. It was a cool space to learn about html and css in a relatively unrestricted environment. I would cruise from petpage to petpage gathering ideas, seeing cool art, and learning a lot about the web.
The combination of these two things resulted in me becoming quite skilled at MS Paint painting, which I always thought was pretty cool.
Here is my crowning achievement of MS art:
Phiddippida is a desert kougra, which you don’t really need to know. She lost her ear in a horrible oil lamp accident. She is psychic and her lover is a ghost. Neopets is a really cool place!
To create this image I hand drew a sketch, scanned it, and then spent meticulous hours coloring, smoothing, and creating texture and shine. I have no idea how many total hours it took, but lots and lots!
Another character of mine is a silver peophin names Rasavatam. He’s made of mercury and is pretty cool. You can learn more about him here: http://www.neopets.com/~Rasavatam. Here is my painting of him. It was painted completely in MS Paint, with no hand drawing to start. I think I got a pretty cool liquid affect going on. Apart from the neck being really janky I still like this piece.
Beyond creating images of my own neopets, a popular trend on character petpages was to create a gift to give to individuals who visited your page. These are called adoptables and they are little pictures of a specific species of neopet in every color they come in. A big part of neopets is painting your pets different colors to “customize” them. Since I was in high school the level of customization has become way more complicated with backgrounds and clothing and much more than simple colors. I made adoptables for my other Kougra, Antideo. He is a poet, hence the hat.
People can also request a custom adoptable, where they would show me their pet customization (which they made up from their own imagination), and then I would create a little image for them. Very cool sharing of art and creativity. You can see some adoptables I got for my other pets on Isepheloria and Siberyl‘s page.
If you are totally confused don’t worry; The takeaways from this blog post are:
Neopets is a really complicated place with a strange set of cultural rules
Neopets is a great place to waste time in High School
and MS Paint art is something I used to do a lot, and something I liked to do.