NTMI: How did you first get on Neopets?
Championferret: Well I always used to like Petz (virtual computer petz) and I used to visit the website all the time. There were downloads and stuff, and they used to have a thing called "Top three links this week". Usually these top three sites were just petz fan sites, but neopets was on the list ones so I had a look to see what it was. Ever since then I've been addicted. That was in 2000 when I was in Year 6 in primary school!
NTMI: How did you get the username of Championferret?
Championferret: well, ever since a guy from my primary school (this was also in Year 6) brought his ferret to school for his speech on his ferrets, I've loved them and always wanted them! Besides that, usernames need to be catchy and original!!
NTMI: Lol, well yours certainly is! Ok, so what sort of thing(s) do you enjoy most about Neopets?
Championferret: Well I enjoy meeting new people over the net and seeing the comics and stuff in the Neopian Times. I also really like the cartoon movie things they made for the discovery of Meridell and the Lost Desert! The games are great too!
NTMI: And what does an "average day in Neopia" consist of for you?
Championferret: Well of course first I need to check my neomail and reply to all the messages, then look in my shop till to see if there's money there. If the Neopian Times is out I usually check that out too. Then I play Wheel Of Excitement and after that I like to play Extreme Herder, Volcano Run and Meerca Chase. If I have spare time after logging off from neopets I'll search the net for pictures of ferrets!
NTMI: Ferrets, eh? Is there any particular neopet that you like because it resembles a ferret?
Championferret: Well really there aren't any neopets that resemble ferrets. If there were, Shamus would have been one instead of a Gelert.
NTMI: How did you find out about the Neopian Times and what got you started contributing?
Championferret: I found out about the Neopian Times the same year I found out about Neopets, but at least three or four months later. (this was in the year 2000, by the way) When it started I don't seem to remember comics being in the 'old' neopian times. I do remember a very good story about a Badeek though! (in the 'older' neopets, Kacheek looked very different and was called Badeek. Bruce was also a cartoon person, and there used to be a pet called Macey Gray, that was....macey gray. I'm quite glad they improved! After reading those stories I wrote my own and sent it. (It was fairly tacky, about an Aisha who ran away looking for adventure and the Dark Faerie ruined neopia or something.) I started reading the Times again just on and off after that, but after a while I started reading every issue, and then began looking at the comics. My friends said, "you can do that." and some even said "you can do better than that!" so yeah, Shamus and Lila was born.
NTMI: What source(s) of inspiration do you use to think up things for the Times?
Championferret: Well I just look for inspiration EVERYWHERE. Sometimes I see other comics and get ideas from those, but usually I just hunt around Neopia looking for stuff. Basically any Neopet, PetPet, Item, Game or World , or anything else in Neopia, can be funny somehow. Usually when I'm playing a game I might just stop and think: "wouldn't it be funny if..." and alot of my ideas spring from there. Sometimes I'll just be on the bus on the way to school staring into space and an idea will just come out of nowhere!
NTMI: The miracles of a creative mind! So how long does it take to draw a comic?
Championferret: Not long...well to me anyway. It depends how much detail is in the comic. Usually it takes half an hour to an hour.
NTMI: Do you do it on the computer, or by hand and then scan it in?
Championferret: All of it is done on the computer, in paint.
NTMI: What sort of feedback do you get from other people when you have something published?
Championferret: Usually just variations of "I love Shamus and Lila." But if anyone remembers that little incident that followed the 'Sweet Rewards' episode where Shamus 'kills' a chia, numerous chia lovers across the world sent angry emails of distress. I had to apologize to every one! Then when I cleared it all up in the next episode giving the chia a starring role, a few LUPE lovers sent hate mails just because the she-lupe got embarrassed! Also, with the Shamus and Lila debut, ' PetPets', one person was a little upset about Shamus giving his Anubis to a pack of hungry Lupes. After the comic '...?' where Shamus had apparently forgotten his line, someone laughed at me thinking I had writers block!
NTMI: And what is the most important piece of advice you could give to someone thinking about submitting to the Times?
Championferret: Well, I give them the same advice I use for myself...grab inspiration whenever you happen to find it, brainstorm ideas as often as you can, and if at first you don't suceed, try, try again!!
NTMI: What fault, or faults, do you notice most often in other comics in the Times?
Championferret: Well I really dislike it when writing is too blurry or small...but what I hate most of all is when the jokes are not funny at all, or just downright cheesy (and I don't mean in a the cheesy neos kind of way, I love them!!) or too repetitive.
NTMI: What do you like best about being in the Times?
Championferret: well I love meeting all the other users on neopets from the fanmail I get! Before Shamus and Lila came to life, I was basically a neo-nigel-no--friends. Now I'm meeting people from all sorts of different countries; America, the Bahamas, Singapore, Korea... And there's something about the satisfaction of seeing your artwork published on the net for over 35 million people to see it that just feels so good.
NTMI: What do you like least about it?
Championferret: I would have to say the over-clogged neomail inbox! I'm not like one of those anti-social people who block emails from people who aren't neofriends and then block neofriend requests as well, because I like to hear the feedback people say, it lets me know what to change, what to keep, etc.
NTMI: If you could change one thing about how the Times is organized, what would it be?
Championferret: Well I don't really mind, I quite like the way it is.
NTMI: What sort of other Neopets items have you gotten published on the site?
Championferret: nothing except comics!
NTMI: What sort of drawing do you do outside of the NT?
Championferret: I created my own version of digimon things called Cybermon. The storyline is faintly similar, but I made all the creatures up! I've been making manga comics of it for a while, although I am constantly changing the characters, taking some out, putting some in, altering the storyline a bit, starting over...etc. Apart from that I also had another manga comic called Gem Seekers which was pretty similar to CardCaptors. Instead of cards, gems. Instead of Kero, cute little ferrets with wings.
NTMI: What future goals do you have (including for your drawing), both on and off Neopets?
Championferret: Well I definitely want a ferret. I want to learn Japanese (I know how to say "I want a ferret"; ga hoshi ferreto!) and maybe even move to Tokyo for a while and become either game designer or animator.
NTMI: Was there anything else you wanted to tell us?
Championferret: Well, Lila is just an Usulish name. Nothing amazing there... Zephyr and Chip were named after real pets we used to have who got run over at young ages. If the real pets didn't die, then I would still have only Shamus and Lila. (and kenchis, an Eyrie I used to have that I got from the pound). Anyway, if you are from Australia like me, you may have seen a cartoon on ABC called Tracey Mcbean. ^_^ I love that show. The main character is a girl (Tracey) who invents demented gadgets that get her into, and out of, trouble. Anyway, her sidekick is a kid called Shamus. It's the only thing I've heard that name in before, and after I saw it I thought "That's a strange but very cool name." I named one of my baby bunnies Shamus, but most famously, my yellow Gelert.
Would you like to read all of Championferret's comics? Just click here to check her out in our database!