NTMI: Good evening, everyone. I'm here this evening with Oddhatter, whose hero flitted onto the stage at the Times some time back and has been a regular feature ever since. Welcome, Oddhatter!
Oddhatter: Hello there!=)
NTMI: Our first question is how did you find Neopets?
Oddhatter: Well, I actually only found it five months ago, and it was one of my friends at college that pressured me into it. (sounds like a drug, huh?) And I guess I just stuck around.
NTMI: I've used the term "addiction" for it myself several times. Does your friend still play?
Oddhatter: Oh yeah. He's "superkeeg" on Neopets, and his kiko is actually the C-Poogle's Flip.
NTMI: So THAT is where Flip is hiding, I didn't see him in your account! But back to getting on Neopets... what made you choose the name of "oddhatter"?
Oddhatter: Well, I usually go by Duck or some variant thereof, but obviously, all were taken and Neopets has also somehow decided that "duck" was a swear word (how I have no idea). So I reverted to my "backup" name. I collect hats. Rather odd ones to be exact.
NTMI: So it's a description of one of your hobbies, then?
Oddhatter: Yeah, it can either be seen that way or as a blatant ripoff of Alice in Wonderland's Mad Hatter.=) I prefer the former myself.
NTMI: Well you've got the hats to prove it, I take it, so.... what sort of things do you enjoy most about Neopets?
Oddhatter: Well, there's the same thing that first kept me hooked on it - Pyramids. ...Mostly though, I find that it's the community that's developed around the site(i.e: my guild, new friends...etc...).
NTMI: In other words, games are good for a while, but the real long-term draw is people.
Oddhatter: Well put, Mr. Scriptfox.
NTMI: Thank you... what does an "average day" in Neopia consist of?
Oddhatter: Well, the average day usually starts around midnight(since I don't seem to be able to sleep early), I run through the usual daily things(tombola, lab, blah, blah). Then I go to sleep. Then I wake up. The first thing I do is check out the messages at my guild, reply to neomails. Then I feed my pets, play with them...
Oddhatter: ...the rest of the day is a combination of such. I really do spend too much time at my computer.
NTMI: Well I promise not to tell anyone if you will.... how did you find the Neopian Times, and what inspired you to start contributing?
Oddhatter: I found the Neopian Times...from Neopets' front page. I started contributing because I had an idea and wanted to share it. Actually, no, I drew a poogle with a cape in stage lighting class, started a vague story around it, and sent in the first issue of my comic. It got in. After the initial "Oh crud...what do I do now?", I figured I'd may as well keep on writing.
NTMI: How did you figure out the name "The Chiropteric Poogle"?
Oddhatter: Well, the "the" part and the "poogle" part are fairly self explanatory.
Oddhatter: Actually, the comic started off with the intention of being a Batman spoof, Batman being one of my favourite superheroes.
Oddhatter: Bats belong to the order "Chiroptera".
NTMI: In other words, "feline" is cat, "canine" is dog, and "Chiropteric" is bat.
Oddhatter: ...and so on and so on. I just dredged up old memories of Biology class. As a side note, I also practically own the google search for "Chiropteric".=)
Oddhatter: Yep. I've met exactly two people who got the reference, though.
NTMI: I had to use google myself some time back to find out.
NTMI: So once you got your series started, how do you get inspiration for the next episode?
Oddhatter: Oooo. Tough question. The neglected crevasses of my brain, I suppose. And a lot of the comments I get are reflected in the comic. For instance, people seemed to like the Sheep of Doom and Moo a lot, so they'll definitely be around more often.
NTMI: Do you have a plot worked out for all this ahead of time, or is it simply an ongoing strip that will go for as many episodes as you can think up something for?
Oddhatter: The latter.=)
Oddhatter: Marvel can do it.
Oddhatter: Look at the X-men.
NTMI: And make millions.... ah well. So once you get an episode idea, how long does it take to draw it?
Oddhatter: I'm not sure, I do a lot of the drawing in class and I tend to "recycle" bits. But I'd say...an hour, maybe two?
NTMI: You draw it all by hand then?
Oddhatter: Yep. I'd like to be able to draw on the computer and get those nice clean lines (like justduckygal does), but unfortunately, I'm way too jittery for that.
NTMI: Ever try a graphics tablet?
Oddhatter: I have one (though it doesn't quite work anymore). Still jittery.
NTMI: Too bad... so you make them and then scan them in... what size and format are the pictures when you submit them?
Oddhatter: The comics are 375 by 600 pixels and they're in .jpg format.
NTMI: So now that you've had some experience in seeing what will fly for the NT editor... err poor choice of words? ... What advice would you give to someone else wanting to get in?
Oddhatter: Well, I'd say that for comics - a good combination of art and storyline is crucial. I'm tempted to say that the editor actually notices art first, and writing second. Overall though, I'd say - don't plagiarize, think of something original, be funny, and use a spell check. Oh, and don't use annoyingly unreadable fonts.
NTMI: Not much point to a comic with nothing you can read, is that it?
NTMI: Other than unreadable fonts (if they ARE fonts), what other faults have you noticed in published comics?
Oddhatter: Well, the biggest fault is "punchline stealing". Obviously, some are unavoidable, but some are lifted, almost word for word, from other comics, Garfield and Penny Arcade to name a few. Other than that, I think the published comics are generally pretty good.
NTMI: Personally, what sort of feedback have you gotten from the Chiropteric Poogle?
Oddhatter: Well, the amount of feedback has increased since Moo reappeared. Lately, the most common questions and comments have been "Deus Ex Machina is Latin, not Greek", "Is that spot for trusty sidekick still open?", "What DOES chiropteric mean?". I'm personally fond of the "I like your comic" ones...
NTMI: Hehe... so is that spot still open?
Oddhatter: Nah, not really. Flip's kinda worked his way into the spot. Moo's going to be a sidekick of sorts too.
NTMI: Well after his last daring rescue, I should think he's earned it!
NTMI: And on to something more general... if you could change one thing about how the Neopian Times is organized, what would it be?
Oddhatter: Well, I think the comics section could be organized into series and non-series, much like the stories are. Otherwise, I think it's quite well organized, though an index, like the one you've created would be invaluable.
NTMI: I always thought it a great improvement with the new format when they linked series episodes together...
Oddhatter: Oh yeah.
NTMI: So what have you liked best about being in the Times?
Oddhatter: Well, being able to talk with dashing, charming people like yourself...erm. It sounds egoistical, but I like the attention. I like getting a response to my work. And of course, I like drawing and writing so it's an outlet of sorts. An outlet with a deadline.
NTMI: Well I've noticed that some weeks DO go by without a C-Poogle episode....
Oddhatter: Well, that was mostly during finals.=) I'm trying to be good now.
NTMI: Lol, ok! What's the worst part about being in the Times?
Oddhatter: The attention.=) The random neofriend requests. The messages asking...no, telling me to draw something for someone. It's not that bad though, and the pros definitely outweigh the cons.
NTMI: I notice that you've temporarily shut down art trades.
Oddhatter: Well, I used to get a few every now and then, but lately, I've just been getting a TON of them. So I decided that for my own sanity's sake, I'd stop them for a while. I don't like feeling obligated to people.
NTMI: Understandable! So besides the C-Poogle, what else have you gotten published on Neopets?
Oddhatter: Well, I've been in the art gallery a number of times (1 2 3 4 5 6 7 ) , and I'm hoping to perhaps write for the Neopian Times as well.
NTMI: What about stuff you've gotten on the net outside of the Neopets website? Anything out there in cyberspace we'd be interested in?
Oddhatter: Well, there's my personal website at http://oddhatter.net .
Oddhatter: And I have a personal neopets art site and an art tutorial site aimed at Neopets artists, both which are linked from oddhatter.net.
NTMI: Definitely a must-see then! Are there any other sites that have posted artwork that you've done?
Oddhatter: Ah. Well, I have an Elfwood gallery somewhere and I used to be fairly involved with the online Gargoyles fandom, so there might be some traces of my artwork around, though I can't be sure exactly where.
NTMI: Something for the online detectives out there to hunt, then.... but on to the next question. What sort of goals do you have for your drawing?
Oddhatter: Well...to get better.=) It's more of a hobby now than anything else, though I used to want to be an animator or illustrator. I'd like to experiment with different medias and the like.
NTMI: Do you see it as playing an important role in your future career now or not?
Oddhatter: Hmmm...well, I'm an english and theatre major, and graduating with majors like that...I'd better get good enough at art to perhaps make some money off it.=)
NTMI: Lol, good point! Well that's all the questions I had, was there anything else you wanted to add?
Oddhatter: "Meep." That's it=)
NTMI: Hehe, good closing line! Thanks for "stopping by" and having this chat!
Oddhatter: *grin* No problem. I had a good time!
Would you like to read all of Oddhatter's comics? Just click here to check her out in our database!