NTMI: Hello again everyone! Today we managed to track down skifi, who has been showing as all of the trouble that can develop in Kindergarten- particularly if you are a petpet. Good evening, skifi!
Skifi: Good afternoon here, scriptfox! ^^ aren't petpets just adorable?
NTMI: I think it depends on the petpets, but they're certainly interesting... or interesting enough to get a lot of laughs from! But before we get that far, tell us how you found Neopets.
Skifi: Oh, that was just by chance... Last year summer I was searching for "Card Captor Sakura" pictures on the net, and I found a pretty good site. When I checked its link page to find another CCS sites, I noticed a strange link talking about "Virtual Pets"... I didn't know virtual pets, since the tamagotchi, so I was curious, and I visited the place...
NTMI: What was your reaction when you saw it?
Skifi: My first reaction was.... "Awwww.... it's on English, I can't play..." and I was going to click the "back" button, but I noticed the pet pics were very nice and I started to explore the place, finding the "create a pet" page, and I liked the kau so much I joined and created my little cientodoce... *hugs him*
NTMI: What does cientodoce mean in English?
Skifi: one hundred and twelve... ^^ 112. It's the street number of my house, and the emergency phone number in Spain, like 911 in USA, I think
NTMI: Yes, that's what it is here. Interesting! Now that we know what that means, what about "skifi"?
Skifi: oh, that's even funnier... When I started drawing in my school boring classes, I used to sign the pictures with my nick, "skyfire"... (it's from a 80's TV series, the "Transformers") so when I discovered internet, lots of years ago, I always used that nick... All my Spanish friends can't say "skyfire" properly, Since it's a hard work for a Spanish-speaker, so they always said "skifi", who is the friendly short way to pronounce it... I liked it a lot, so I started to use it in all the places I needed a nick, and after that I discovered NeoPets...
Skifi: so skifi has not meaning... it's only a way to say skyfire ;-)
NTMI: Lol, and have you ever found anyone else who uses it?
Skifi: only in AIM, when I tried to join... but it must be a strange nick because it's not taken in any other places! and it's pretty short, not like other strange nicks around... ^^
Skifi: people ask me if I'm japanese or something... lol
NTMI: Lol, understandable, I suppose. But back to Neopets. What do you like best about the Neopets website?
Skifi: Oh, when I started playing, the games were the best thing... I didn't need to have a great English skill to play them, even if I didn't really know there were something called "guilds", "Neopian Times" or "chatrooms"... After some months, I joined a guild (my first and only) and now I think I'm in neopets mainly for all the people I have met there (and the useful and free English lessons, hehehe...)
NTMI: Lol, are those lessons given by friends only?
Skifi: Just reading all the neopets pages are very useful, and when I started posting in the guild boards, all the friendly people there helped me a lot with some grammar mistakes and wrong words... so, day after day, practicing with them, I think I have improved it a lot, even if my English is still horrible... *blushes*
NTMI: That'll change, I'm sure! So besides your guild, what other things do you do in Neopets on a daily basis?
Skifi: Mmmm... first of all, I check the New Features, because I like the "Mystery Pic" game a lot, and I usually find the answer (70% of the days). Then, I do the usual daily routine, like tombola, shrine, wheel of excitement, blah, blah, blah, and then I go to the Collectable Card Shop (my actual goal in NeoPets is to collect all the cards, and I have more than 275 different ones now, even if they are releasing new ones each month X_X) If it's weekend, I check the Neopian Times comics and laughs a lot, and if not, I try to solve the Shapeshifter puzzle (I'm still stucked at level 35) and check the guild board... After that, the neomails
Skifi: *stares at the neomail box scared*
NTMI: You get lots of neomails, I take it. Is that because of your comics?
Skifi: Well, I can't be sure, but since I started to publish them, I have lots of them, and it's strange because I receive a lot on Sunday and Monday, but it's almost empty on Thursday or Friday... *grins*
NTMI: Lol, sounds about right! What sort of comments are usually in them?
Skifi: They are usually very nice, telling me they like the comic a lot, or writing about the characters... Some people ask for some art trades, and I haven't received a rude neo-mail yet ^^ But one of the better comments is when they write me back a day after, just surprised because I replied them... Maybe they thought I was not going to do it, but I love to get feedback (not tons of messages, but still)
Skifi: I have made great friends this way ^^
NTMI: I know what you mean, it's fun! But how did your Neopian Times comics get started? What gave you the idea to submit something- and why "Petpets Kindergarten"?
Skifi: Oh.. Well, I just discovered Neopian Times in the main page, and I checked it... Because I like comics a lot, that was the first page I opened, and I found some really good ones (first time I read "Poor Dr_Death", and it's still my fav!) I have drawn lots of comics for the school newspaper, but just in plain paper and b&w, so this was the first time I tried with colours. My scanner is only black and white, so I needed to add the colours with the computer. (If you compare the first PPKG issue and the last one, you will notice the first one was my really first try!)
Skifi: I wanted to try to send them a little comic, and I noticed there were lots of comics related to drawer's pets, with strange pet names and with really expensive painted pets... So in order to try something new, I chose the petpets, because you can name them whatever you want even if that name is chosen, and they were not very expensive... I just wanted to draw a comic everybody could think their own petpets could be the characters in the story...
NTMI: So are your petpet characters actual petpets that you own, or were they created especially for the comic?
Skifi: They are not my petpets, you are right... ^^ Well, I chose a warf because my first petpet was a warf, but his name is "miracle", not Warfy... and I hadn't got a flizzardo (too expensive!) when I started (I have one now, named "lolocop", but it's a halloween one). They were created especially for the comic... or maybe the comic was created especially for them... =3
Skifi: After the first issues I added some other characters, and some of them are real pets, but not them all...
NTMI: I see! Do you get requests from people wanting you to feature their petpet in a comic?
Skifi: Yeah, and since they are not too many, I don't mind to do... If somebody ask me "please, draw an anubis in your comic!", I usually draw it, since not all the petpets are the main characters, and this way they get really happy ;-)
Skifi: Blewy the puppyblew born as a request
NTMI: Do you have different personalities for your main characters, things you know they either do or don't do?
Skifi: Yes, you caught me... ^^ For example, Warfy is the most frolicsome guy you can find. He's not evil, but he just like to enjoy the things... and Flizz, in the other side, even if he's as mischievous as his friend, is a bit more mature than him... he's that kind of guy you can't understand how, being so cool and friendly, has so good scores at the school ;-) I think Warfy would be a little walking disaster without Flizz near him...
Skifi: ...they are a great team...
NTMI: LOL, Warfy the imagination and Flizz the common sense, in other words?
Skifi: Yep... not the best original idea, but it works ;-)
NTMI: It's gotten some nice comics out, so there's no reason to complain! And speaking of good comics, where do you get the ideas for them?
Skifi: I'm not sure if I get the ideas... I think "Inspiration" attacks me instead... ;P When I'm waiting on the bus stop, or staring at the air in the train... or even during the boring classes, I take a little paper and a pencil and start sketching something... Most of them are not finished and they remain as "they could be a good comic", but others are just drawn, inked and coloured... I think that's because this is a hobby... if I'd work as a cartoonist, I think I'll not be able to find new ideas... :P
Skifi: Anyways, working in a kindergarten last summer helped me a lot with the last comics... ^^
NTMI: I can imagine it would be a daily source of inspiration! Once you do get the idea and start drawing, how long does it take to get it finished and submitted to the Times?
Skifi: Lol, I hope real childs were not like the comic characters, or teachers should be VERY worried! *winks*
Skifi: Mmmm... *scratchs his head* Usually the pencil art takes around 1 or 2 hours, and the inking around 20 mins... the longest part is to add the colours... a whole evening if there are too many characters...
NTMI: And that's on the computer, since you ink, then scan, then color, right?
Skifi: yep... Sometimes I retouch the black lines with the computer, but all the drawing is hand-made... just pencil, eraser and ink ^^
Skifi: If I buy a colour scan, I could try pencil-colours, but I should wait until x-mas... o_O'
NTMI: Lol, well good luck with that! Anyhow, now that you've succeeded, what would you tell other artists wanting to get into the Times?
Skifi: Easy question, because some of the neo-mailed feedback are related to that... My main advice is "try it!". Many people is scared about being rejected in the NT, because they think you need to be almost a professional artist to be published, and I think they are wrong... If you have something good to tell (a story, a comic, whatever...) then write it or draw it, because this way you will get a chance. When I sent my first comic, I was almost sure they will not publish it since that was my first computer-coloured thing in all my life, and it was accepted... besides, practice makes perfect, so even if your work is rejected, keep trying, and don't worry about your artistic skills... Good artist are common, but good ideas are not... ;-)
NTMI: Something to remember! But when you look at the comics that are in the Times, what sort of things do you see that are NOT perfect?
Skifi: Well, the main thing to fix in my opinion are the texts... your drawings can be great, but if you can't read the letters, you will not understand the gag... (that's the reason I use too big fonts). The only one not perfect thing in the Times comics is when I search for my favorite series, and they are not published in that issue... *awwwww....*
NTMI: Lol, and you're left to guess if the artist sent something in or not! Anyhow.... when thinking about your experiences of being in the Neopian Times, what is the best thing(s) that has happened?
Skifi: The main one is all the new friends I have met there... Not only the people who has helped me with the text checking *hugs his neofriends skadia, tonya, carrie, holly and nancy*, or the people I have met with the neomailed feedback (some of them really nice fans)... I have met another NT artists around, like starluck or dragon_spine, and now I usually talk with them in some boards around the net... And another really good thing are the mails I receive from the NT editor, supporting me and telling me wise advices *thanks Josh again*
NTMI: Yep, nothing like a bit of encouragement from "on high" to make your day! And what are the worst things that have happened?
Skifi: Nothing really bad... The less good thing is replying the feedback...-_- I really think "If they took the time to write me, it's fair to reply them all", and so do I... Besides, since I reply them, they usually write me back with some comments, and then we start again... lol. In the 9th comic (3 weeks ago) I added a little babaa telling all the readers "thank you" for the nice neomails I received: that was a BIG mistake, since next week I had my neomail box overflowed... (I counted 973 neomails in 13 days, instead the usual 30-50), and I missed 2 Times issues replying them all... o_O' (I don't use automatic replies, or "copy&paste" letters...) But comments and criticisms are always welcome, really, they help me to improve the work! ;-)
NTMI: LOL oh my, too bad you can't pay the Neopets people for a bigger neomail inbox!! Anyhow, on the Neopian Times itself. If there was one thing you could change about how it is organized, what would it be?
Skifi: Well, It's fine for me, I think it's pretty well organized... but I think they could erase the right "article advertisement" bar in the Neopian Times pages, because the comics could be a bit bigger without it, and this way we could appreciate the drawing details better... ^^
NTMI: LOL, or not have to scroll down as far, maybe!
NTMI: So what else have you gotten published on the Neopets Site? Anything besides the Neopian Times comics?
Skifi: Nothing really... Not Art gallery (I tried once, and they didn't like it), not Beauty contest...^^ Maybe I should try, but I like comics too much...
NTMI: Do you have comics posted anywhere else on the net?
Skifi: Mmmm... not really... I have scanned some of my old school comic strips to place them in my home pages, but now I only post drawing and pictures on the net... Since I started with the comp colouring, I have been training, and I have met some other CG artist around... A month ago, I just joined the Crystal Palace , a place where you can show your drawings and friendly people comment it for you... not nitpicking, just advices and tips, all in a friendly way... there I meet starluck ("Little Neopia" comic author) and dragon_spine (another NT comic artist) and we share our work... ;-) I have started to work in a fursona (anthropomorphic character) based on my own personality, and it looks like a little bull ^^ I'd like to add it to the PPKG, but since it's not Neopets related, it seems I'll need to dress him as a kau to enter the kindergarten... ;-)
NTMI: Neat! So what other plans do you have for your drawing?
Skifi: In the Kindergarten comics, I would like to keep developing the characters personalities, since people told me they really like them. I'll try to help Blewy the puppyblew with her crush, since she likes Warfy a lot and he doesn't seem to notice... And maybe I should try to add some meridell petpets too, I'm not sure because I don't have a general planning for the story... ^^ About outside Neopets, I think I'll always have the comic drawing as my main hobby, even if I'll work in something really not related (I just finished in the Faculty of Medicine)... I really enjoy it and I'd like to keep improving the comic techniques and style... ;-)
NTMI: Well I have heard that laughter is the best medicine, so maybe they ARE related!
Skifi: yeah, because I want to be a pediatrician! ^____^
NTMI: LOL, well that's all the questions I had! Was there anything else you wanted to tell us?
Skifi: Mmmm... Well, I'd like to tell you something related to the Petpets Kindergarten, I think nobody noticed it, but... Well, it's about the first comic, the one titled " Flowers"... After publishing it, I started to read the NT comics all weekends, and I became a fan of some of them, mainly "Poor Dr_Death" and "Little Neopia"... Well, one day I just visited starluck's web page (she draws Little Neopia) trying to tell her I liked her comics a lot, because she didn't allow neomails... then I knew she thought I had ripped off one of her comics, and I didn't understand why did she think that... I just checked and I got petrified... the weekend before my first comic was published, Little Neopia one had the same joke about allergies... -_- I understood her and I explained her I didn't read her comic before drawing my own one, and she believed me... it was a common gag, and she was not really angry...After that if I talk to her sometimes now, I still feel a bit bad about that, and I'd like to tell her again it was not my fault... :P ....... and as the last thing to tell you, I'd like to write a big thanks, because I have enjoyed the interview a lot ;-) (and if you notice something nosense in my replies, that's surely because I wrote something bad and you can ask me)
NTMI: Well thank YOU for taking the time to talk with us and for being so generous with your insights :-) I'm sure we've all appreciated it, and wish you the best of luck with your future comic drawings!
Skifi: You are welcome, this has been a nice and friendly afternoon! ^^ *shakes hands*
Would you like to read all of Skifi's comics? Just click here to check him out in our database!