NTMI: Good evening everyone! I'm here this evening with Oasis21, whose comic strip L*U*P*E Blue has made her one of the most published contributors to the Neopian Times. Welcome, Oasis!
Oasis21: Thanx for having me, this is quite fun
NTMI: Our goal is to make sure everyone enjoys it, and that certainly includes the interviewee! So, our first question is, How did you find Neopets?
Oasis21: You know, I've been asked that before, and I actually don't remember all that well. I think I stumbled across it in my school's library comp system... or saw someone playing it or something
Oasis21: it has been over a year after all..
NTMI: That's true! So is Oasis21 the first account you made?
Oasis21: yes, it's my first account. I had it for a full year before I got more.
NTMI: How did you come up with the name of Oasis21?
Oasis21: Well, the name Oasis had been floating around in my head before, I actually named a elf character of mine that, and 21 is how old I was when I signed up
NTMI: Yes, I've noticed age and birth dates appear quite often in numbers... if I see "85" or "1985" in a name, I automatically assume it's their birth year. So what things do you enjoy most about Neopets?
Oasis21: I enjoy the neomail system, since that's where I seem to spend a lot of my time... and I also like guilds
NTMI: What part of the guild(s) do you usually participate in the most?
Oasis21: just posting messages really...
Oasis21: but I like to interact with other ppl, that's why I like them
NTMI: In effect it's like another chat board, then?
Oasis21: sort of, but I don't have to worry about bad language, or people coming and going all the time making it hard to keep up with the chat
NTMI: Very true! So what does an "average day" in Neopia consist of?
Oasis21: That is an interesting question, at first, before the comic, I would go online, check my pets, feed them, play some games, explore and logoff. Every few days I got to my other accounts and check on my other pets and feed them. Now I seem to spend most of my time replying to neomails
NTMI: About how many neomails do you get, and what do they usually say?
Oasis21: Oh, let's see, on an average, I think I get at least 20 a day
NTMI: Do you manage to answer them all or not?
Oasis21: lately, no, I don't. It usually takes me a few days to get through all of them, and a lot of them are replies to my replies, so it gets full fast
NTMI: Back to the Times itself for a while- how did you find the Neopian Times and what got you started contributing?
Oasis21: I was just reading the news section, I heard of the NT a few times, never actually read it before, (I don't read my real daily news! lol) But I decided to check it out, and I read the comics. I found a few were funny, and then I just decided I wanted to put in my own, so I did.
NTMI: What prompted you to use your pet(s)?
Oasis21: well, what else would it be about? I didn't think just making a random comic about me would be very appealing, and since it was a neopets thing, I thought- "hey, I'll make it about me and Tinello!"
Oasis21: At first it was just going to be about Tinello, but I decided to add me in it, cuz I hadn't seen anyone put themselves in a comic before
NTMI: So you have you, Tinello, and his brothers and sister... now where do you get the ideas to make that into a nice comic?
Oasis21: Well, at first, it was just Tinello. His brothers and sister didn't even exist for the first few comics. But the ideas I do have just kinda come out of the blue. I've tried writing them before hand, like make a few in advance, but the ideas just don't seem to come to me like that
NTMI: Have you noticed any particular time of day or activities that seem to be conducive?
Oasis21: most of my ideas I've found come when I'm about to go to sleep, then I have to act on it, or I'll forget it, so I end up staying up until past midnight just making the comic
NTMI: How long does it take you to make the comic once you have the idea, then?
Oasis21: Well, to draw it takes about 10-20 minutes, but inking and coloring it takes about 30-45 more minutes
NTMI: Then you have to scan it into the computer?
Oasis21: yes. Then I scan, fix it up by taking out scratches and any coloring mistakes, then I put in the text, arrange it so it's lined up and down instead of side to side and there you have it, the comic is born!
NTMI: and then you send it into the Times... what format and file size is it at that point?
Oasis21: I send it in as Jpeg, since it's easiest, and I'm not sure what the size is, but I try to keep it small, to make it easier for neopets
NTMI: So now that you've gotten in a number of times, what is the most important piece of advice you would give anyone wanting to duplicate your success?
Oasis21: Hmm... well, let's see. For one, don't try to copy someone else's comic. Make it your own. Decide what you want to do and just go for it. Usually your first thought is the right one.
NTMI: What sort of problems do you usually see in published comics?
Oasis21: lack of humor
Oasis21: a lot of people seem to try too hard, and they just end up confusing people
NTMI: Does that mean lame jokes?
Oasis21: Sort of. I mean, some lame jokes can be funny, but I've seen some comics published in the NT that aren't funny cuz they're just confusing
NTMI: I know what you mean. You read it, blink, then say "whatever" and go to the next one.
NTMI: If you could change one thing about how the Neopian Times is organized, what would it be?
Oasis21: Well, I don't know exactly. It's pretty well organized. Better than I am for sure!
NTMI: I know that feeling! Would there be any new features that you might like?
Oasis21: Hmm.. I think a tips section might be nice, but there are so many sites out there made by users and such to show tips and helpers and things like that, that I don't think it's too necessary
NTMI: Sort of a "tip of the week" feature?
Oasis21: yeah, that might be nice, because there always seems to be so many questions that get left unanswered, especially to newbies. Because guilds are great to get help from, but what if you don't know what a guild is?
NTMI: True! On a personal note, I've looked at your four pets- all Lupes of course- and I've noticed that they're all dating or married. Tell me- what with your pets, dates, mates, kids, and grand-kids, do you ever find yourself throwing your hands up and saying "I have no idea who they all are!" ?
Oasis21: Sometimes I do think it's kind of strange to even have them be married or dating, since it's all pretend and such- and sometimes I do get all "who are these ppl?"
NTMI: How did you get them started on the dating/mating scene?
Oasis21: Funny thing you should ask that, cuz when I first started looking around into guilds and things, I had noticed that they said "dating service" and I thought it was the stupidest thing I had ever heard, but then after joining a guild and starting to get to know my pets more, giving them personalities and such, having them date just made more sense
NTMI: So it was a natural outgrowth of giving them a personality in your mind.
Oasis21: yeah. Tinello really never had much of a personality until I started to become more active on the site.
NTMI: So how did he get the crazy "wig wearing makeup loving" personality that we read about in the Neopian Times?
Oasis21: He's really nothing like that actually.
Oasis21: And it was just something to make the comic funny, though he does get flack about it
NTMI: So you view his appearance in the comic more as a performance than any sort of "real life" glimpse.
Oasis21: Yes. It's really just how his persona is in the comic. Just like me in the comic, I'm not like that either..
NTMI: Perfectly understandable You seem to have confined your pets and their relationships to Lupes. Have you ever done anything with "cross species" relationships?
Oasis21: No, never! I mean, something like lupe and gelert is alright, cuz they are both canines, but I remember when Tinello was looking, and he had a kau wanting to date him. I said no way. It's just... weird. To me, it's just plain not right
NTMI: We seem to keep getting sidetracked... but that's what makes it interesting! Back to the Times again- what do you like best about having your work published there?
Oasis21: I know it might sound a little vain to say so, but I like the attention. I like the fact that through my comic, people will look me up, look at my pets, and their petpages and see my art. It just makes me happy to share my talent with others.
NTMI: Have you had any other places on Neopets where your art has been posted?
Oasis21: yes, I have a picture in last years halloween section of the art gallery
NTMI: How about off neopets? Anything that we should know about?
Oasis21: Yes, I do have an art gallery that displays pieces of art that are neopet related, and some that aren't.
NTMI: Where could we find it?
Oasis21: well, I have a link in Tinello's petpage, just below the first picture, for those that want to know.
NTMI: Great! How about the future- what sort of goals do you have for your drawing in the future?
Oasis21: My dream is to become an animator, like for Disney, or DreamWorks. I also have a real comic book- you know, like superman and the like that I hope someday to get published
NTMI: Well here's hoping you do! Tell me, in looking over all of your experiences on Neopets, what would be the thing or things that bother you most about it all?
Oasis21: hmm... well there is a big thing that me and other artists have discussed about how as soon as you draw something that is neopet related, and put it up on neopets, it no longer belongs to you, but neopets- because of their copyright, well, it's very complicated and I don't want to get into it really. Other things that bother me is how some users abuse the site, like spamming message boards-
Oasis21: or putting in inappropriate pictures, links or words before they get banned
NTMI: The same thing applies to writers as well as artists, Oasis. If someone asks me if I've written a book about my characters, I would have to say I just about have, but it all belongs to Neopets. As for the rest... at least they get banned! So was there anything else you wanted to add before we end this?
Oasis21: yeah, for one, to the readers, if you ever see a piece of artwork that you know isn't drawn by the person that submitted it, like on a petpage, beauty contest or art gallery, don't hesitate to contact the artist you think it belongs to. I know I can vouch for every artist out there, that we all hate thieves!
NTMI: I've seen the comics about it, so I know what you mean. Was there a number two?
Oasis21: Hmm... yeah, as far as I'm concerned, before you decide to neomail me, make sure you read all my information on my user description, and the FAQ section on Tinello's petpage. It bugs me when I get asked the same things over and over when the answers are right there. I don't mind chatting, but sometimes, it's just annoying
NTMI: Research, research, research! Remember it, people, it's advice well heeded. Thank you for your time, Oasis, and for letting us in on a bit of "behind the scenes" at your place. I hope you have a great evening.
Oasis21: Thank you for this thorough interview! I really enjoyed it. And you have a good evening as well.
Would you like to read all of Oasis21's comics? Just click here to check her out in our database!