NTMI: Good evening, everyone! I'm here this evening with Wyomingslim, whose Neopia Acres comic has been taking up considerable real estate in the Neopian Times lately. Welcome, Wyomingslim!
Wyomingslim: Hey-ho, scriptfox! Itís a pleasure to be here.
NTMI: Same here. It's been too long since I've done an interview, past time for another. So, to get things started, tell us how you found Neopets, and what on earth possessed you to get on it.
Wyomingslim: Hmm, how did I find it? Um, well, it had been mentioned a few times on a Nicktoons mailing list I'm part of, and round about the 'net. One day I just decided to check it out. Looked kind of interesting, so I started an account, adopted a Techo (the design just spoke to me), and I was hooked within a few days.
NTMI: So how did you go from one pet- a Techo- to three?
Wyomingslim: Well, I kind of felt Fozzdik the Techo needed some company, so Lursus the Lupe came along. Even then I think I was planning a comic, which is why I went with a Lupe (widely popular, y'see :-)
NTMI: So you had two male pets, Fozzdik and Lursus. Did you get Qiirraa to have a female to balance that?
Wyomingslim: Yeah, pretty much. Qiirraa came along because I really needed a third character for some of my comics, and I'd wanted to get a Kyrii (which always seemed kind of feminine to me), so there she was.
NTMI: Yep, I have a female kyrii too, so I totally understand. And speaking of girls, is Lursus' girlfriend a real pet as well?
Wyomingslim: Oh, yeah, she is, just not mine. Lupeygirl32 asked if her Lupe could be Lursusí girlfriend, I said sure, and eventually she made it into the comic
NTMI: Well, she may not belong to you, but the others do. And just how did they wind up with an owner named Wyomingslim, instead of something else?
Wyomingslim: Wyoming Slim was a cartoon character I created in college for an animation class. He had a thin body (inspired by, of all things, a cigarette ad in a magazine [hence the "Slim"]), big feet, and a vaguely dog-like head. And the word Wyoming I've found funny since an old Garfield and Friends cartoon where the orange one proclaims that "There is no such state as Wyoming. Its an old Italian word meaning 'no state here.'" So I used that for the character. Since my more common online name of Phreke was used already on Neopets, and I refuse to have a number in my name, I went with wyomingslim.
NTMI: Interesting! And speaking of names, did the name of "Neopia Acres" have anything to do with the name of "Wyoming Slim"?
Wyomingslim: Not that I can think of. I think I was referring to the old comedy "Green Acres," or possibly "Acme Acres" from Tiny Toons. I was looking for a nice, open name that didn't tie me down to specific characters (like "The Adventures of Fozzdik and Lursus" would have).
NTMI: So you did some free-form brainstorming, and that's what popped out?
Wyomingslim: Well, sort of. I think I just came up with those two, actually.
NTMI: Well Neopets certainly offers a lot of creative outlets. What sort of things do you like about it the most?
Wyomingslim: Well, the art aspects, I suppose. The various art contests, of course, but also just the design of the various neopets and petpets. More Disneyesque than the anime that has become so prevalent.
Wyomingslim: What really got me hooked were the games though.
NTMI: Which games in particular?
Wyomingslim: Oh, lots. It was the games of chance at first (gambling, without losing my own money? Great!), but since then I've also gotten into some of the puzzle games (Destruct-O-Match, Gadgadsgame and the like) and a few of the action ones (Bumper Cars, Ultimate Bullseye).
NTMI: And you've also gotten into the Neopian Times. How did that happen?
Wyomingslim: Well, I tried the beauty contest as a creative outlet, and that didn't take. Then I sent a couple of pictures for the Art Gallery, and one was used. With that, I'd thought I'd try to get into the comics. The first attempt was pretty lousy (another "sand from the Mystery Island" joke). It wasn't used. So, I spent a month or so practicing my drawing and brainstorming ideas, and then the first one was used, celebrating Techo Day (seemed appropriate).
NTMI: With a techo, yes it was! So besides looking at the Neopian calendar for ideas, where else do you come up with storylines for your comic?
Wyomingslim: Frequently they're just odd little quirks in the Neopets system I notice (Techos can use hair spray, but why would they?) and sometimes they're just jokes I've heard elsewhere. And some I don't know where they come from.
NTMI: Ok, well we'll leave the deep recesses of your subconscious in peace. Once you have the idea, how long does it take to draw it?
Wyomingslim: The first step, a basic pencil drawing/sketch, takes anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour and a half, depending on how inspired I am and how much copying I plan to do in the computer. Then I ink that drawing, which adds another 20-40 mins, generally.
NTMI: And then you scan?
Wyomingslim: Yep, after that, it gets scanned, where I fix up my mistakes from inking, then add the colors, word "balloons" and text.
NTMI: Do you find that putting the words in on the computer makes them a lot clearer?
Wyomingslim: With my handwriting it does!
Wyomingslim: Sometimes I will draw in larger noises, but I try to keep the text on the computer.
NTMI: Touche, lol. Well you have a fair number of comics in so far. What sort of feedback have you gotten?
Wyomingslim: Its all been very positive. Well, except for the hot dog one ; not everyone got it (which I kind of expected, actually). People often ask me how I make them, and also how to get their own work in the Times.
NTMI: And what do you tell them?
Wyomingslim: Well, the basic process, as above, and to try and use interesting characters. If the pets you're drawing are engaging, its easier to develop stories for them.
NTMI: True! What sort of characters did you give yours?
Wyomingslim: Well, Fozzdik is the one who get most of the best comedic lines. He's generally naive and not terribly with it. However, he's sometimes adventurous and always enthusiastic about whatever he does. Lursus was always the intelligent bookworm, and a "straight man" to bounce Fozzdik's lines off of. In fact, I'd originally thought of these two a bit like Abbott and Costello. Qiirraa's generally a kind of con man(girl?)/ bully, an antagonist for Fozzdik; I picture her a bit like a truck stop waitress, y'know?
NTMI: "What'll it be, sweets?"
Wyomingslim: Lol, yeah, pretty much. I'd meant to have her say " hon' " more, but I kind of forgot.
Wyomingslim: Well, it usually wouldn't have sounded right anyway
NTMI: Hey, plenty of time to change that in the future! But what about other submissions to the Neopian Times. Are there any common problems that you notice?
Wyomingslim: I often don't understand the comics; they seem too "in-jokey" or something. I won't comment on the art (everyone's got their own style) but I will point out something for future comic writers: try and have the word balloons go from left to right (when writing in any Western language, at least), even if it means flipping an entire panel, something I often have to do. It just reads so much more easily. And a personal problem, sometimes people use an idea that's too similar to one of mine before I get a chance to use it! Arg! As for the articles and short stories, umm, I'm afraid I don't usually read them. I really should, but I just don't for some reason.
NTMI: Don't feel too bad. I index the Neopian Times, but that doesn't mean I know everything in it- by a long shot! Speaking of personal experience, though, what's been the best and the worst of being in the Times?
Wyomingslim: The best: notoriety and fame at a level I've never had before (gotta love the Internet). The worst: having to explain that I don't live in Wyoming, often!
NTMI: LOL, ever been there?
Wyomingslim: Nope. Actually, I might have driven through one corner once.
NTMI: But you weren't noticing at the time?
Wyomingslim: not really :-P
NTMI: LOL, well it's not like you knew it would be a burning question in your future! But enough of that. What about the Neopian Times itself- if you could change one thing about how it's laid out, what would it be?
Wyomingslim: Um, not sure, really. Maybe make the selection bar at the top bigger? Nah, I got nothin'.
NTMI: It does look a little thin, doesn't it.
Wyomingslim: A little-- gets a bit lost.
NTMI: (Hint, hint, neopets team artists!) And now that we've settled that, what else have you gotten on the Neopets site besides your comics and that one art gallery picture?
Wyomingslim: Other than two failed Beauty contest attempts in the way long-ago, nothing.
NTMI: Ok, forget about neopets, then. Anything else of yours on the web at all?
Wyomingslim: Ah, yes, indeed. I have a gallery of some of my "traditional" artwork, as well as several drawings of one of my favorite Nicktoons, CatDog. These and other things can be found at The Great Green Toothbrush.
Wyomingslim: I was a major contributor for Time Warp, until they decided to rethink the whole thing and the project came to a halt. I'm Phreke there, but I have more art at The Leela Zone under Andrashar.
NTMI: The mind boggles. So what sort of plans do you have for your drawing in the future?
Wyomingslim: Well, Neopia Acres is going to go on for awhile, and I'm thinking of trying my hand at some science fiction themed things (or getting back into that, I should say). Where the work itself is going to go, I dunno.
NTMI: Well hopefully it'll all be interesting, wherever it is! Was there anything else you wanted to tell us about? Any sort of special insights, or some question that you know needs answering?
Wyomingslim: Always remember: the fish has neither hands nor feet.
Wyomingslim: Keep that in mind, and the world's your bivalve.
NTMI: Great, if I ever need an excuse to clam up, I'll do that!
NTMI: And thanks so much for giving us of your time this evening- I'm sure it will be appreciated!
Wyomingslim: You're quite welcome. And even if it isn't, this was fun.
NTMI: Lol, thanks... and now folks, we're signing off, so be sure to check out the links to his stuff below....
Would you like to read all of Wyomingslim's comics? Just click here to check him out in our database!