Note: I did have this saved in plain text so it would post the ASCII art. But, it seems there is always something, some detail, which changes somewhere and messes up the formatting. Even when I use the code formatting plugin. So I am posting this ‘as is’ rather than leave it sitting on my to-do list. The original source link follows and then the contents. The ASCII art is messed up. It seems the only reliable way to show it is to copy and paste it into an image file. I may do that at some point. But, for now this is an archive of the original because I thought the post was interesting and I wanted to preserve it. 

h2g2 – Ambigrams (sweJ6!qwe).

Ambigrams (sweJ6!qwe)
Created Jan 12, 2001 | Updated Nov 19, 2002

6 Conversations

Look at this ascii art picture:

,-. Henry Segerman
|,–. /\ |\ |/\,–. ,
/| | \/ | \ | /\ | |/
‘ `–‘\/| \| \/ `–‘|
uewJ363S hJu3H `-‘
‘Yeah’, you say, and apart from the odd cryptic bit at the bottom, maybe you just think it says ‘henry’ in ascii art. Well pick up your monitor, flip it over on its top, and look again (or you could flip yourself over on your top). That’s an ambigram. And so is the h2g2 logo (at least it is at time of writing).

Ambigrams seem to have been invented independently by a few people around the 1970s. Their first public appearance was in Scott Kim ‘Inversions’ (1981), followed by a walk-on part in Douglas Hofstadter’s ‘Metamagical Themas’ (1985).

So how do you do them? Well the above is a rotational symmetry one, though you can also do them with various kinds of mirror symmetry, and even translational symmetry sometimes. This entry will concentrate on the rotational symmetry type.

The simplest way to do them, is to try to write the nth letter in such a way that the other way up, it looks like the nth letter from the end of the word. So in ‘henry’ above, the ‘h’ is written to look like a ‘y’ upside down. Many letter pairs work well here. For example, d-p, m-w, n-u, b-q, h-y and a-e. Note there are two ways in which ‘a’ is written: ‘a’ and ‘a’. You want the one that looks like an ‘e’ upside down. If the two ‘a’s are not appreciably different, then you don’t have the font ‘Lucidia Sans’ on your computer – the other way to write an ‘a’ is handwriting style – see the example below.

These letters work well with themselves: I, N, o, s, x, z.
You can also make most letters look like themselves upside down, with a little tweaking. For example:

_ _ \
/ \/ \ |
/ / _|_
\_/\_/ |
…are ‘a’ and ‘t’. But then you could see that anyway.

Sometimes matching single letters together doesn’t work. No matter what you do, a ‘m’ isn’t going
to look much like a ‘l’ the other way up. Well have one large letter be more than one smaller letter
upside down:

/\ o |
\/ /\/|/| | | | /\/
/\/ | | | |/|/\/ /\
| o \/
Hopefully you can see that is ’emily’. Here the ‘m’ is being the ‘i’, the ‘l’ and half of the ‘y’.

As well as the ‘a’ and ‘a’ options, a few other letters
can be written in more than one basic style, e.g. ‘s’ (normal) and ‘s’ (script handwriting style, again apologies if your computer doesn’t have the font ‘Lucidia Handwriting’), and
many other variations on serifs and other twiddly bits/handwriting style effects can be useful in matching letters.
Capitals give you more options too – though it does look a lot better if the capitalisation is correct for the word. For recognisability, the
first and last letters are the most important to try to get looking right.

Sometimes there’s a really horrible problem with an ambigram which isn’t working. For example, it’s pretty hard to get an ‘O’ to look like anything other than
an ‘O’ upside down. Or double letters. Your brain automatically accepts a surprisingly varied selection of ways of writing a letter, but if you’ve got the
same letter right next door in a different style, it doesn’t like it. There are sometimes ways round double letters – use both of them in constructing some
large letter the other way up:

_ _ |_ |_
/\ /\ / \/ \ | |
| | | / / | | |
_| _| \_/\_/ \/ \/
| |
… or just be lucky and find you can do them the same style. Some words just don’t work at all –
then sometimes you’ll try it again months later and it all ‘clicks’ and people won’t realise its an
ambigram, at least until you turn it upside down.

That’s about it for basics.
Beyond here, mess about with words with pencil and paper, have a look at other people’s ambigrams
always be on the lookout for any fancy ways to write letters.

,-. / \ ,-. ,-. ,-.
/__|_ / | | /
/ | \ / \_|__ /
/ | | / | /
`-‘ `-‘ `-‘ \_/ ‘-‘

Selling Art You Don't Own and Didn't Create

I emailed this to Zazzle just now.

Various people sell ASCII art designs on Zazzle. They are not the original artists. Yet they are selling this work as if they have the right to do so. I’ve been making my own ASCII art for many years and I would be very angry if I noticed some of my work being sold without permission. Although the ASCII art is free to use that does not mean it is free to sell.

Also, some of these people are not even bright enough to notice when the ASCII art is broken and needs spaces added to it. – Case in point. This person is selling this ASCII art – there is no way they created this art as anyone working with ASCII text art can see this needs to be fixed.

I don’t have lawyers or any of that bullshit. I’m just notifying Zazzle about a problem. I don’t expect much to happen but at the very least the person posting the ASCII art above can fix it so they look like less of a moron/ jerk.

Also, when people create ASCII art the artist adds their initials to the work. NONE of the ASCII art being sold on Zazzle has the artist credit left on the artwork. I guess it gets in the way. Like honesty and permission… those things just get in the way too.

What do you think? Is it okay to sell the ASCII art someone else has created? Is it okay to take art you didn’t create and use it to make money for yourself, not even trying to give some credit or thanks to the original artist?

What about someone posting ASCII art to their site and making money through ads on that site? I post ASCII art by others and myself on HubPages. My idea was to have ASCII art sorted by the occasion so people could find something new to send to friends and family. But, in the end, I do make a bit from having the posts up on HubPages. You could say the same about anyone who posts a collection of ASCII art.

I do keep artist initials on the art. How much difference does that make? Does it depend on the age of the art and how active or inactive the artist is within the ASCII art community – are they still creating and displaying art or has their site long gone 404?

I don’t know. I’d be glad to hear some feedback and ideas about this.

I do think selling it on sites like Zazzle, without any credit to the artist or permission from the artist, is taking it too far.

Allen Mullen's FAQ

Allen Mullen’s FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions from my mailbox

These are some of the most frequent emails I receive.


Where can I find a picture of _____?

  • The best place to ask this question is alt.ascii-art. My web page is not designed for finding a particular picture so you are better off looking through many of the other ascii web pages listed on the links page. Sorry, but I’m not willing to find pictures for you.

Please make me a picture of _____.

  • I’ve retired from the ascii art/ascii picture world and am not making any new pictures. The best place for requests is alt.ascii-art.
Making the pictures

I know you’ve got to be using some kind of a program to make those pictures. What is it and where do I find it?

I downloaded gifscii but the ascii pictures it makes look horrible. What happened?

  • You need to edit the ascii conversion by hand. I sometimes “draw” large areas of ascii pictures by hand rather than using the conversion. Editing the .gif file with photoediting software before you convert helps too. If there isn’t much contrast in the .gif, the conversion will look like a blurry blob.

I tried editing the picture but it still doesn’t look very good.

  • Practice, practice, practice.

You’re jerking me around. Tell me how to make a nice ascii picture right now!!!

  • The way I do it is probably too elaborate for anyone else to use. I use a Wacom tablet for drawing and editing gifs. It’s hard to do significant editing of a gif with a mouse. I generally draw a gif from scratch or do major editing of a scanned image.

I limit my palette to four shades of gray: 0, 224, 243 and 255. 0 is black and 255 is white. I make line drawings with solid black lines and fill the spaces between lines with 255, 243 and 224. When converted with gifscii, 255 makes solid $$$, 243 makes solid MMM and 224 makes solid !!!. I use a word processor’s “replace” function to generate solid areas of CCC and :::.

I’ve written several macros to edit the characters around the edges of the solid areas since there are certain characters I always change in the same way. There is still a lot of hand editing left.

I don’t believe it would be practical to try to copy my methods. There’s a lot more to it than I can describe here.

Gifscii stinks

That’s not art. Those are conversions. Unless it’s done completely by hand it’s not art. Get those lousy things off the Internet you despicable, sub-human slime.

  • I call them pictures so we don’t have to debate whether it’s art.

You are still scum.

  • Take it to one of the graphics art newsgroups. You’ll find plenty of people there for this type of debate. I understand your point but it’s not something I’m interested in discussing further.

Note: Information on how I make pictures is in the preceding question. Scroll up to find the information on how I do it or try my ascii art information page for general information.

Ascii Color

How do you add color to the ascii pictures?

  • I did it years ago using Netscape Gold 2.0. These steps worked with that program. Current programs probably work similarly. In Edit Mode the steps are:
    1. highlight text
    2. select the Font Color button
    3. pick a color – the same color as the last time is still highlighted in Gold 2.0 but not 3.0.
    4. select OK, and the highlighted text is colored.

The colors that Netscape and Microsoft Internet Explorer in 256 color mode use are multiples of 51 on the RGB scale. The values are 0, 51, 102, 153, 204 or 255 for red, green and blue (which correspond to 00, 33, 66, 99, CC and FF in html code). You can define these colors if you choose “Display Custom Colors>>” after selecting the Font Color button. For example, a flesh tone I often use is red 255, green 204 and blue 153 (FFCC99). If you choose other colors outside this palette a browser in 256 color mode will select the closest available color.

I don’t see colors with my browser.

  • They should work with all modern browsers. Nobody has complained about this in years. The next paragraph is my old answer from years ago.
  • Netscape Navigator and Microsoft Internet Explorer allow font colors and background colors. Approximately 98% of visitors to my page are using these two browsers. The latest AOL browser also should display colors. A lot of the other browsers won’t display font and background colors so my page probably looks terrible to visitors using these browsers. I don’t know of any way to make my pictures look right with these browsers. Some versions of Netscape (mainly Gold versions) may only display 16 colors when a computer is set to display 256 colors. The pictures I’ve done in color won’t look right in anything less than 256 colors. Be sure to turn off the “overide document settings” if you are using that feature in your browser. If you are using some other browser that doesn’t support color you probably won’t enjoy my page.
Creating a web page

How do I create a web page for ascii art?

  • There are many programs that will do this for you but I find it’s easier to do this manually. You can save text and then use the paste command into a preformatted section with Netscape Gold but it seems to crash the browser frequently. I’m actually using a macro I’ve written with Word 97 rather than using the Word 97 html editor. I haven’t figured out how to get Word 97 to preformat ascii pictures properly. I’m sure more modern software works better. I haven’t tried doing this in years.

You can do this manually with a word processor or set up a macro. First make the following character replacements for four special characters used in html:

Replace All With







Then add


to the beginning



to the end.

You should be able to edit the page from there with html editors such as Netscape Gold.

Off line viewing

How do I look at these pictures off line?

  • You can save any page you are viewing by using the Save As command in the File menu of Netscape. The page should look just the same when you view the saved file in your computer. You can run your browser off line without being logged on to the Internet and open any file you have saved. The Open command is in the File Menu in the top left corner of your browser.

I don’t have the time to view all your web pages on-line. Please email me all your web pages in a zip file.

  • I no longer have a ftp site so I don’t have a place to store a file like this on-line. I can create a new picture in the time it would take me to zip up my web and mail it. I think my time would be better spent creating a new picture that everyone could view than fulfilling an individual request such as this.
Printing the pictures

The pictures don’t like right when I print them out.

  • There is no way to get them to print correctly so you’ll have to view them with your web browser.

They are meant to be viewed with light colored text on a dark background. Printers use dark text on a light background so they generate a negative image. You need to use dark paper and light colored inks if you want them to print properly. The standard printers everyone uses won’t do this for you. It is probably best just to view the pictures I’ve done with a web browser. You can find pictures for printing via my links page.

Use of these pictures

May I use the pictures?

  • You can generally use of modify these pictures with or without attribution as if they were public domain. I have always given permission to anyone who has asked so it is safe to use them without asking me and waiting weeks for me to reply. Please don’t imply that I am endorsing a product or issue if you include my name. Also, please don’t include my name if you use the pictures in a way that will generate a lot of hostile email for me.

If you would like to link the pictures to me I would prefer you link to my web page rather than using a mailto: link. Please link to a page with ascii pictures rather than my FAQ. The best page to link to is Ascii Pictures

How much time?

How much time do you spend doing this?

  • I was pretty fast when I did these. It took me on average about 30 minutes per picture so I could usually finish off a whole set of 8-10 pictures in a free evening. The big ones took longer. The time I spent coloring pictures varied but generally added about 10 minutes per picture. I usually have one or two free evenings a week to do frivolous things like this.
Insults I’ve deleted the insults I once included because that part of my faq generated lots of email. I get fewer insults in my email than comments about the insults that were in my faq.
Pen pals

I like your web page. I’d like to get to know you and be your friend. Lets write each other every day – or – lets do Internet Chat.

  • Thanks but I’m not the pen pal or chat type.

I try to reply to all email. If you don’t receive a reply to your question, it may be because your email didn’t have a valid return address that I can identify. I’m not on-line as much as I once was so it may take several weeks for me to respond. I may not check email for weeks at a time.

New pictures

Why aren’t you making anything new?

  • Interests change. I haven’t done much ascii since about the summer of 1996. I doubt I’ll ever do more than an occasional picture again.
Too big!!!

Your pictures are too big for me to see on my computer.

  • “Big” is my style. Most other ascii art web pages have smaller pictures so you should try them instead of mine. Internet Explorer makes it easy to resize text but different font sizes have different looks to them. Smaller font sizes often make the edges of solid areas brighter than the center.

You can see the whole picture if you set your computer to 1280 resolution.

Lynx problems

The page doesn’t look right when viewed with Lynx.

  • The pictures are in bold text for optimal viewing with graphical web browsers. This causes everything to be underlined in some versions of Lynx (a text only browser). I use <B><I> </I> in the html code to avoid underlining but this only works for the older versions of Lynx, that aren’t used much any more. Don Bertino’s web site looks good with Lynx and includes Disney pictures I’ve done.

But Lynx is the greatest browser out there. Lynx users are superior to graphical browser users. Ascii art is meant for text based viewing rather than that new fangled graphical stuff.

  • Sorry, but I’m leaving the text in bold.
Please link to my page

I’ve just opened a web page. Will you please add a link to my page from your page?

  • Please write to Joan Stark who now maintains the links page I once maintained. I no longer have a links page and do not plan to add one.
Making money

I’ve got this great idea how you can make lots of money from your pictures…

Sorry but I’m not interested.

Scarecrow's ASCII Art Reference (Part 1)

. + ' . ' * . ` . . ' ) . +
' . ' . ' ______ ______ _______ ______ ______ ' . '.
. ( ' +. /_____/ /______/ /______/ /_____/ /_____/ . * ' .
` . * ' . ` ______ _____ ' __ + . ___ ' . ___ ' + . '
' . ' : / __ /'.___ * / / ' . ` / / * / / ' . ' .
'. + . / /./ / _____) / / /____ _/ /_ ' _/ /_ . (
' *. . /_/ /_/ /______/ /______/ /_____/ /_____/ '. * . '
' .+ ` . * ' ______ _______ ________ ' . ` + '.
. ' . + ' ./_____/ /____ / /_______/ .' ' . ' .
. ' ( ' + ______ ' _____/ /' __ . ' `. : *
'. * : Version 4.9.1 / __ / */ . __/ . '/ / + . .' ` .
' . ' / / / / '/ / . '/ / ' . ' . + ' .
' . +. September 25, 1995 ./_/ /_/ ./_/ * _ ' /_/ '. ( . ' `. '
' _______ '______ ______ ______ _______ '______ ________ ______ ______
. ' /____ / /_____/ /_____//_____/ /____ / /_____/ /_______/ /_____/ /_____/
* _____/ / _____ + _____'._____ *_____/ / _____ __ + __ __ '. _____ +
' / . __/ / ___/ / ___/./ ___/ / . __/ / ___/ / /. '/ / / / . / ___/ `.
/ / / /___ / / / /___ / / / /___ / / . / / / /___ / /___ .
/_/ ' _/_____/ /_/ . /_____/ /_/ . _/_____/ /_/ /_/ /_____/ /_____/ .
. * ' . ' . '+ . ` ' * . ' ( + '. :
' . * ` . ' ) . + ' : `. * ' .
. ' + ` . * . '
` . ( . `
. ` + .

....../""""""" . his file contains the Questions & Answers found in the ASCII
....../""""""" . ART FAQ, plus links to most kinds of ASCII art, Figlet
........./"" ... fonts, and ANSI escape sequences. This is the HTML (web)
........./"" ... of the ASCII ART FAQ. This file also cantains things not
........./"" ... found in the FAQ, such as more FTP sites, names of programs
........./"" ... to slow animations, fuller text and illustrations.

For best results, this file should be viewed using light characters on a
dark background. Thanks to all of you who have emailed me with information
and art to include. Send comments, suggestions and ASCII art to:
^^^^^^^^ ''''''''''' """"" """

Hope this helps! Enjoy!



___ ___ _ _ ___ ___ _____ ___ ___ _ _ ___
| | / _ | | | || _| / __!!_ _!!_ _!/ _ | | |/ __!
| | | (_) || |_| || _| __ | | | || (_) || .` |__
| | ___ ___/ !___!!___/ !_! !___!___/ !_|_!!___/
| | O _ ___ _ _ _____ _____ ______
| | /|/ |_ _| | | | / ___ / ___ | ___
__! !__, / | | | | .` | | | | | | | | | | |
/ O / !___! !_!_! | |___| | | !___! | | |___/ /
/ /| /___ _ _ ____ | ___ | | ___ | | .. _/
/ | !_ _! | |__| | | __! | | | | | | | | | |
/ / | | | __ | | __! | | | | | | | | | |
Y _/ _ !_! !_! !_! !____! !_! !_! !_! !_! !_! _

1 What is ASCII art?
2 Why use ASCII art instead of a GIF?
3 What is ASCII art used for?
4 What are the different kinds of ASCII art?
5 What is the best way to view ASCII art?
6 How can I learn to make ASCII art?
7 Are there any ASCII tools?
8 Where can I get ASCII tools?
9 Where can I find ASCII art?
10 How do I use FTP, Gopher, World Wide Web, and FTP Mail Servers?
11 Can I get The Scarecrow's files via email?
12 Is it OK to copy ASCII art?
13 How do I make those big letters?
14 Where can I get Figlet?
15 How can I make Gray Scale pictures?
16 Where can I get Gray Scale converters?
17 How can I make better Gray Scale conversions?
18 What do those filename extensions mean?
19 What is 'uuencoding'?
20 How do I save, 'uudecode' and uncompress a file?
21 How do I view animations and color images?
22 How do I put an animation in my plan?
23 How do I make a sig?
24 How do I have my sig automatically added to my posts and email?
25 What should I know about posting ASCII Art?
26 Where is the FAQ available?
27 Who made this file?


___ _ _ ____ _ _ ______ _____ ____
O ,/ _ | | | / ___! | | | | | ____! | __ / ___!
//| !_! | | | | | (___ | | / | | | !__ | !__) | | (___
/ | _ | | . ` | ___ / / / | __! | _ / ___ O ,
/ | | | | | | | ____) | / / | !____ | | ____) ||/
/_/_ !_! !_! !_! _! !_____/ / / !______! !_! _ !_____/ |/_

__ What is ASCII art? _ O
/_ | ______________________________________________________ /|/
_| |_ |
!_____! _/ _

a b c d e f g h Standard ASCII art is made by using only
i j k l m n o p q letters, numbers, punctuation marks and symbols
r s t u v w x y z such as those at the left.
A B C D E F G H These characters are part of the ASCII (as - kee,
I J K L M N O P Q America Standard Code for Information Interchange)
R S T U V W X Y Z set. This part of the ASCII set, is called the
'printable set' (characters 32 to 126).
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0
There's also non-standard ASCII art, which
| - _ + % @ < ; ! contain 'contral codes'. = # . , : > ( ] / $
& " ~ ) [ ^ { ' ` } ? ASCII art is popular, with several ASCII art
groups on various information services. Before
'printable set' computers, ASCII art was made on typewriters,
of the 7 bit teletype machines (5 bit), and was created
ASCII characters. typographically. There's even :-) tee-shirts.

Back to Index

___ Why use ASCII art instead of a GIF? O ,
!_ ) _______________________________________________________ /|/
/ /_ |
/____! _/ _

ASCII art is used because:

Standard ASCII art is If you can view text, ASCII art is also the
the only type of you can view ASCII art most compact form of
graphics easily (as it is made up of graphics. An ASCII
transmitted and standard text picture can easily be
instantly viewable on characters). No less than 1 K. In
any terminal, conversion or special cases where resolution
emulation, or software required to is not an issue, an
communications view. Non-standard ASCII graphic can take
software. It should (8 bit) ASCII art the place of a bitmap,
also be printable on requires that the file EPS, or GIF of 20, 50,
type of printer. be saved and "cat'd". 100 or more K!

Back to Index

____ What is ASCII art used for? O ,
!__ / _______________________________________________________ /|/
!_ / |
!___/ _/ _

ASCII art is used for many things, like:

o EDUCATION - A periodic table or molecular model for example.

o CROSS CULTURAL COMMUNICATION - Pictures are international.

o BBS & SERVER SCREENS - Login and logoff screens, MUDs, promos, etc.

o ENTERTAINMENT - Like a birthday 'card', holiday greetings, invitations,
congradulatory messages, children's picture stories, etc.

o VISUAL AID - Such as a wiring diagram, floor plan, illustrated
instructions, or flow chart, to eliminate a long involved explanation
with a graphic.

Back to Index

_ _ What are the different kinds of ASCII art? O
| | !_ ______________________________________________________ /|/
!_ _! |
!_! _/ _

The first four use the standard printable set, and can be viewed anywhere,
anytime, on any equipment. If you can view text, you can view art. They are:

o Line drawing - Such as the 3-D snowman ..:::::::::..
below. Line art is made using ..:::::::::::::::..
characters for their shapes. ..:::::: ====== :::::..
..::::: ========== ::::..
In the case of the candle at right, ..::::: ==== | ==== ::::..
characters were chosen for their .::::: ==== /%#| ==== :::..
shape AND brightness. .::::: === |%@/ ==== :::::.
..::::: ===_|_==== :::::..
For how to make ASCII art, see ..::::: /| .:. | :::::...
Ouestion 6 below. ..:::: || .:. | ::::...
...:: (| .:. | ::....
Candle Line Drawing by The Scarecrow. .... | .:. | ....

o Lettering - Large and styled like the title "ASCII ART REFERENCE" above,
ond like the lettering below. It can be made by hand, or it can be
generated by
_ ___ _____ _____ ___ ___ _____ _ _ ___ using special
| | | __!|_ _||_ _|| __! | _ ) |_ _|| | | / __! software. For
| |_ | __! | | | | | __! | _| |_ | || _ more info on
!___!!___! !_! !_! !___! !_!_!_____!!_!_| ___/ auto-lettering
programs for
use on some systems, see Question 13. This is a "Geometric Article".
It is used as a wrap-around for the hand drawn word "LETTERING" above.

o Gray Scale picture - These :(!!:
create the illusion of gray shades ..:::tNi@Nin!+: :::xr
by using letters for their light '!)Q88i@8888NNidbo@Ni8ir
emitting value (assuming you are .s:S988TR88RX*###RB8888i:x
viewing light letters on a dark x+RRX88888NL#?!< :(?#RR888bX background). Below is a chart !MN*#M#*BRR#8iXxi@NUX!MN88888: showing the light values of (x@T!M!::(R8H@888888888xX88888#= various characters. To the x8W8Ui@!~!XMMM9M8RRRRBMMM!T588. right is an example of gray .N8888M<<<~!#MXMHM8N888RMR(9R888N!. scale art. This is an image XQ888M!(:::sxXU!?MTT222#MM(?M8888~! of Einstein I made from a 988NMMf(!!~`"!Rk:X!"""#*N!:~!T588 ! GIF, using Gifscii for the "R(#MF `( "!!~ ~(9XN#88XX(: Mac. There are some examples "%/9" x~ :L XH?R?M888x% in the Gallery. xi/ ~M:u::~ (88)x(:(uuUF(~*"(?8!~ ________________________ X38M::#M88R::d(88k9bxH888f4r o((Ri | | '!88N!!X6?M?i8#(88Rt88NMR9%!!'8:(?8! | Lighter *WMB8&%$#@ | #R?(:~B:M88~ 488H~"88XM8~ ~HRtxH# | / oahkbdpqwm | +++x8!:('8!@8!. ""!:.#8M8# ~(!@!M?:: | /|| LCJUYXZO0Q | -(!#x~:.?(M~ <<::;;>> ?%8xx!:i:`MHbLX
| || rcvunxzjft | :*:!!:nM.~!~`<i!lI? | :@8R?R?88ex .boba94 WM888M88(W888888f
| Darker .'`,^:";~ | .oX"#MMX!!R88b ~"##**".d8f?RRX8PW8888888f
!________________________! .u8888iXMMnWU7T#@s. @88kX888RN88888888f
Scale from Jorn Barger. .@888888NK9*MR88N86Q:.. x8T888R#88888888888f
Einstein GIF conversion d88888888888kM888NN868RRRRRRR5b@8888888888888f
by The Scarecrow. '8888888888888!M888888888888888888888888888888!

o 3-D image - They can be viewed by people with similar vision in both
eyes. You try to focus as if you are looking at the back of the
monitor. The image should pop into focus and create a 3-D illusion.
Other 3-D images are viewed by putting your nose on the monitor glass.

.-~~ :::::: .-~~ :::::: For automated help in
/ _ |::::| / _ |::::| making 3-D images,
~x .-~_)_ l~~~~! ~x .-~_)_ l~~~~! you can use a program
~>x".-~ ~-. RC/ ~x".-~ ~-. RC/ called "sirdvu11".
_ ( / || _ ( / || For red-blue 3-D,
|| T o o Y || || T o o Y|| you can use DTA
==:l l < ! (3 ==:l l < !(3 (Dave's Targa .__/ / /|| ._/ / || Animation), and for ,r"-,___.-'r.//|| ,r"-,___.-'r/|| stereograms you need }^ .( ) _.'//.|| }^. ( ) _.-//|| a program called STAREO. / }~Xi--~ // || / }~Xi--~ // || And there's also Y Y I " || Y Y I " || Y "mk3d.lha" for the | | |o || | | |o || | Amiga. For more | l_l Y T || | l_l Y T || | information, see l "o l_j |! l "o l_j || ! the alt.3d group. || ||/ .--^. o -Row .^||. .--^. o -Row ||--. 3-D snowman by " ~ `' " ~`' Rowan Crawford. See Question 8 for info on where to get 3-D programs. Other types of ASCII art using the standard printable set include the following four: o Geometric Article - Text itself is formed into shapes. It can be used to create interesting or meaningful shapes out of the text you read. o Picture Poem - A geometric article that is also a poem. See the swan in the examples at the end of ASCII Art Resources.. o Page Making - Text and graphics are intermixed, as in a magazine. The first four examples in this ansewr are an example of ASCII art page making. Also known as 'pagination'. Page making may be as simple as using a geometric article as a simple wrap-around, as in Question 5. Or it may be a three column text format, as in Question 2 and Question 9. Or it can be something complex, like multi-column text wrapped around gray scale graphics, with captions, headlines, graphs, charts, sidebars, etc. o Picture Story - A story told with accompanying ASCII pictures. The text and ASCII graphics are intermixed using ASCII art page making techniques. Chevalier has made a number of picture stories. Six stories and two poems are available in a file called "Chevalier" in /pub/Scarecrow/Misc at the Scarecrow's FTP site. See the end of ASCII Art Resources for examples of all of the above. Send any geometric articles, picture poems, and picture stories, you may have to: There are also non-standard types of ASCII art which cannot be viewed immediately upon receiving. They contain 'control codes' for color or animation. They must be 'uuencoded' to be posted or emailed. For further information, see Question 19. The three types of non-standard ASCII art are: o Animation - You see an animated image produced by a sequence of changing ASCII pictures. The speed will depend on the system you are using, and modem speed if you are calling in. "ANSI" (American National Standards Institute) escape sequences can be found in this file and in ASCII Art Resources. o Color Graphics - You can view color ASCII pics, if you have a color screen and ANSI color compatible software. Check to see if your software supports ANSI color, and how it is enabled. o Color Animation - For an example of color and animation together, take a look at the file called "Vortex" in /pub/Scarecrow/Color at the Scarecrow's FTP site, Examples of these are at the end of ASCII Art Resources. Send any animations, color pics, and color animations you may have to: But wait, there are other kinds of ASCII art: o Overstrike Art - It contains carriage returns without line feeds at times. The print head can overstrike a line on the paper that has already been printed on. This allows for darkening, and for placing different characters at the same place on the paper. This kind of art is obviously only printed. o Srcoll Animation - This is an animation that is made to be viewed by scrolling down. The image plays out as the screen is redrawn with the next 'page' of the image. Back to Index ___ What is the best way to view ASCII art? O | __! _______________________________________________________ /| !__ _/ | _ !___/ _/ _ For best results in viewing ASCII art, try the following: o A 'non-proportional' font, also called a 'mono-spaced' font. This is a font that displays the same number of characters per inch, no matter what the actual width of the characters. So the letters i and n and m are displayed at the iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii same characters per nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn per inch. If you are MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM actually viewing with a non-proportional, or mono-spaced, font, the three lines in the inset area above should appear the same length. If they don't look the same length, try another font. Names to look for on various systems include: Monaco, Courier, Courier New, Video Terminal, System, TTY, VT100, Screen, Terminal, FixedSys, Line Printer, etc. This is a simple Geometric Article. It is used as a wrap-around for the lines of characters. o A small, say, 9 point font, will help to increase the apparent resolution. A small font also helps the illusion of gray scale images. o Viewing from a distance of a meter or more also helps. o Using light characters on a dark background. Many ASCII pictures are meant to be viewed light on dark. This is because the artist can more easily control the light and get a better lighting effect. Also, the viewer benefits because there is less glare than you would get from a light background. And in some instances: o While most gray scale pics are made to be viewed light characters on a dark background, some will be made to be viewed dark on light. This is because they are meant to be printed with dark ink on light paper. Use dark characters on a light background, or print them out. o While most ASCII pics are made to be viewed on a monitor that displays 80 characters across, some ASCII pics are wider, say, 81 to 132 characters across. They are meant to be printed. Use a small, say, 4 point type, and view dark on light, or print them out. o While mast ASCII art is either ready to view, 'cat' or print, you may find art that has been saved as a picture in a bitmap, EPS, GIF, or other binary format. These must be viewed or printed with the appropriate software. There are a few important things to remember when making, viewing, or talking about an ASCII art image. And they're obvious but almost always forgotten. o Even though different fonts may all be mono-spaced, they ARE different, and can give a picture a different look. Some artists may mention the font the picture was made with. o A font may be serif or sans-serif (serifs are the little feet on characters. The ascenders and descenders may be straight or curved. And characters may be wider or narrower. o The weight, or heaviness of characters can vary. Serifs, the little feet on characters, can make them look heavier. Especially effected by weight inconsistencies are symbols like: # hatch/hash mark $ dollar sign @ at sign o Shapes can vary too. Here are some of the more consistent shapes: - dash / slash backslash Richard Kirk says "Shapes to be wary of are:" ~ sometimes sits high, sometimes in middle ^ same reason * same reason & sometimes closed, sometimes open | same reason ' sometimes hooked left, sometimes straight [] sometimes centered, sometimes far off <> sometimes touch top and bottom, sometimes centered
0 sometimes with slash, sometimes open
l sometimes with base, sometimes not
y sometimes straight tail, sometimes curved

o According to Jorn in his 'asciitech' file, "Unfortunately, this narrow
standard ignored the needs of many other cultures: the British 'pound'
sign, letters with accents in French and Scandinavian alphabets, etc.,
which led them to introduce slight modifications to the standard, making
the following symbols (at least) non-universal:"

^ caret
` backquote
# hatch/hash mark
| pipe
{} curly braces
~ tilde
[] square brackets
$ dollar sign
@ at sign

o Different systems display text differently. If you look at a picture on
a terminal at a Unix site, and then bring it home and view it on a Mac,
it will look different. On the Mac, it will have a greater aspect
ratio. In other words, it will be displayed shorter top to bottom.
Even though it contains the same number of lines.

This is an Aspect Ratio Scale:

0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5 4.0 4.5 5.0
| |
| To get the aspect ratio of |
| the screen you are viewing: |
| |
| ______ Measure the vertical line (at |
| the left) on your screen. |
| |
| Read off the same distance on the horizontal
-+- scale (above). That number is the aspect ratio.

Back to Index

__ How can I learn to make ASCII art? , O/
/ /_ ______________________________________________________ /|
| _ |
___/ _/ _

Unfortunately, there aren't many text books on the subject. :-)

A good way to learn is to look at how an artist has made a picture. See
what characters are chosen. How are the characters laid out? How is a
texture made? Study whatever ASCII art you see in the group (or in archives).

Another good way is to modify existing art. Take a piece of art you think
could be improved. Make a copy. Now work on it. If you ruin it, make
another copy and have another go.

When you are good at that, try to improve a really good pic. Diddle a GIF
conversion. Then see if you can fix a damaged file. Now take some small pics
and put them together into a big composite image.

If you're working from scratch, the following may help you:

o Decide what you want. Block it out, guessing roughly where everything
should go. Then work out the sizes and proportions. Now is the time to
do it, not after all the detailing and smoothing has been done.

o Start adding the details. Concentrate on the focal point and important
parts of your drawing. Because ASCII art is a low definition medium,
you have to make the pic big if you want to be able to really smooth
it out or have a lot of detail.

o Be careful how much detail you try to pack into a picture. Take a tip
from master artists of the cartoon world, and just try to suggest
things, don't try to replicate them. Too much detail can end up looking

o One of the biggest helps is knowing how to shape things. For example,
you can curve a horizontal line with just: _ - "


Here's a wavy line by MJ:

.-. .-. .-. .-. .-. .-. .-.
`._.' `._.' `._.' `._.' `._.' `._.' `._.' `._.'

Here's Richard Kirk's DNA-like version:

.-.-. .-.-. .-.-. .-.-. .-.-. .-.-. .-.-. .-.-
/ / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /
`-' `-`-' `-`-' `-`-' `-`-' `-`-' `-`-' `-`-'

o Slanting vertical lines is easy:

This slanted This second This one is This really slanted line
line is simply line is made made using is made with the five
made with the / with , and ' , and - and ' characters , _ - ' "

/ ,' ,-' ,_-'"
/ ,' ,-' ,_-'"
/ ,' ,-' ,_-'"
/ ,' ,-' ,_-'"
/ ,' ,-' ,_-'"
/ ,' ,-' ,_-'"

Felix Lee made the following lines, saying "Each of these conveys a
different style, a different mood."

/ _/ ./ ,/ /' .' ,'
/ _/ ./ ,/ /' .' ,'
/ _/ ./ ,/ /' .' ,'

o Then there's smoothing, also called "anti-aliasing". This is where
special care is taken to use characters for their shapes. With this
technique, you can smooth out a font, or an object like the one below.

Let's say you have made an XXXX The b d and o are good
object like this out of X. _______ XXXXXXXX / for sloping. The o
The object is rather rough. XXXXXXXXXX / can be used on either
XXXXXXXX / side of the slope.
Let's change that, first we'll XXXX /
fill the inside with 8. / The ( and ) are for
d88b / curving the sides.
The 8 is a popular character ____ d888888b /
for a general fill. Some people (88888888) The Y is used because
prefer M or H for fills. Smooth Y888888Y ___ the P has no mirror.
using characters for their shapes. Y88Y You can also use *.

o Use areas of characters for patterns, tones, and contrast. For example,
in this flower, notice the density of the letters subtlely change to
form the petals. I would like to see this colorized.

.@. .
@m@,. .@
.@m%nm@,. .@m@
.@nvv%vnmm@,. .@mn%n@
.@mnvvv%vvnnmm@,. .@mmnv%vn@,
@mmnnvvv%vvvvvnnmm@,. .@mmnnvvv%vvnm@
@mmnnvvvvv%vvvvvvnnmm@, ;;;@mmnnvvvvv%vvvnm@,
` `@mnnvv%v%v%v%%;;@mvvvvv%%;;*;;%%vvvmmmm@;;%m;%%v%v%v%vmm@' '
`@mnvvv%vvnnmm@' `:;%%;:' `@mvv%vm@'
`@mnv%vnnm@' `;%;' `@n%n@
`@m%mm@' ;%;. `@m@
@m@' `;%; `@
`@' ;%;. ' Top portion of a
` `;%; picture by Susie Oviatt

o Here are a couple of textures from Jorn's "asciitech" file:

*::*::*::*::*::*::*::* ::*:::::***:::::::::::
*::*::*::*::*::*::*::* :::::::**::::::*::::*:
*::*::*::*::*::*::*::* :*::*:*::*::::*::::*::
*::*::*::*::*::*::*::* :::*::::::*::*:*::::::
*::*::*::*::*::*::*::* ::*:*::::*:*::::::::::
*::*::*::*::*::*::*::* ::::::*:*::::*::::::::
*::*::*::*::*::*::*::* Flat *::::::::**:::::::::** The same,
*::*::*::*::*::*::*::* texture. ::::*::::::*:::::*:::: randomized.

Here are a few tips, that taken together, can make an instant ASCII artist
out of anybody:

o A quick way to make a pic is to photocopy a drawing onto plastic. Place
the plastic over your monitor to act as a guide for placing characters.

o Ease your work by making a file full of lines of spaces. Now copy that
file. Open a copy and start working. You'll see that it's easier
because you can now go where you want and replace the spaces with
characters. You have eliminated endless space bar pressing. Remember
to strip all trailing spaces when you're done.

o Use a mouse. A mouse allows you to move more quickly from character to
character. It's also easier to delete bunches of characters and large
numbers of lines.
o To avoid as much variation as possible | |
in characters, weights, and shapes | ) = + / ! ( |
found between different fonts, use the | - _ : ; , . |
characters shown at the right. !___________________________!

o Use 'block editing' if you can. Some software allows for a square or
rectangular chunk of text to be cut, copied and pasted.

o It may be better to work on your own computer (if it has more
appropriate hardware and-ar software), and then upload it to your

Also, see files like Jorn's "asciitech", available at:

Jorn's FTP site
-> Host:
Path: mcsnet.users/jorn/ascii-art
File: asciitech

Scarecrow's ASCII Art FTP
-> Host:
Path: pub/Scarecrow/Info
Has Jorn's "asciitech", plus 'How-To' and techniques
files from Normand and Row, FAQs, and other info files.
Also accessible through the Scarecrow's Gopher site.

Send any ASCII art techniques you know to:

Back to Index

____ Are there any ASCII tools? O ,
!__ | _______________________________________________________ |/
/ / |
/_/ _/ _

Not many. The Emacs editor offers some help, if you know how to use it.
There are a couple of bits of Emacs code in the Scarecrow's FTP site.
EmacsMouseCode let's you draw with a mouse, and EmacsFigletCode let's you use
Figlet within Emacs.

Q-Edit and "vedit" are ASCII editors with block cut and paste. And
TheDraw can do some ANSI tricks but is limited by RAM size.

There are Unix and DOS scripts for flipping an ASCII pic (like "modasc" by
Ric Hotchkiss). BBSdraw is available for the Amiga. So is CygnusEd, which
allows column editing. And also the TPU editor for VAX. And then there's
"mdraw.el" for GNU Emacs 19 under X, that lets you draw ASCII with a mouse.

Erik Downie is working on an ASCII tool for the Amiga. Also available for
the Amiga are BBSdraw and CygnusEd (the latter allows column editing). And
there's the TPU editor for VAX.

Back to Index

___ Where can I get ASCII tools? O/
( _ ) _______________________________________________________ |
/ _ |
___/ _/ _

You can get TheDraw at: FTP Site
-> Host:
Path: pub/msdos/screen/

You can get "mdraw.el" at:
-> Host:
Path: pub/flee/mdraw.el

You can get Q-Edit at: FTP Site
-> Host:
Path: /pub/msdos/qedit

You can get Emacs Code at:

Scarecrow's FTP Site
-> Host:
Path: pub/Scarecrow/Info

You can get Erik Downie's Amiga tool via email from:

-> Address:

You can get stereogram programs from:
-> Host:
Path: pub/stereograms

You can get "sirdvu11" from:

-> Host:

-> Host: WUarchive

Back to Index

___ Where can I find ASCII art? O
/ _ _______________________________________________________ ,_/|
_, / |/
/_/ _/ _

You can FTP and Gopher ASCII art (single pics and archives of dozens or
hundreds of images). FTP'ing is easy. Gophering is easier. See Question 10
for further info. ASCII art is available from many sites, including:

o FTP Sites:

Scarecrow's ASCII Art FTP
-> Host:
Path: pub/Scarecrow
Has Scarecrow's files, SAPs, animations, color, FAQs, Figlet,
gray scale converters, 'how-to' files, and more.
See Question 11 for a table of all the Scarecrow's files,
showing file name, size (uncompressed), version, name it has
at the Scarecrow's FTP site, and the subject line for
requesting it by email.

Mordor FTP
-> Host:
Path: pub/ascii/art/pictures

Chris' FTP Site
-> Host:
Path: pub/ncsu/chking/Archive
Contains all the Scarecrow's files, all of Steve Sullivan's
files, and Gifscii for many systems.

Jorn's FTP site
-> Host:
Path: mcsnet.users/jorn/ascii-art
Has Scarecrow's files, plus other ASCII art files, and the
technically oriented "asciitech".

-> Host:
Path: pub/asciiart
Has Steve's Small ASCII Pics collections in /sullivan.

Zeyliger's FTP
-> Host:
Path: pub/vz/vzvz/asciiart

Bertino FTP
-> Host:
Path: pub/be/bertino
Cantains Disney art.

-> Host:
Path: pub/pics/ascii

Augsburg FTP
-> Host:
Path: files/text_files
ASCII art files are appended with ".art".

Informatik FTP
-> Host:
Path: pub/pictures/ascii/plain_ascii

- File from Berkeley FTP -
-> Host:
Path: pub
File: ascii-art.gz

Lineprinter art:

U of Iowa FTP
-> Host:
Path: image/

WUarchive FTP
-> Host:
Path: graphics/lpr_art

-> Host:
Path: pub/pics/lpr_art

Animations: FTP
-> Host:
Path: pub/local/n1ka0/animation
Contains dozens of animations

Procyan FTP
-> Host:
Path: pub/vtmovies

Bertino FTP
-> Host:
Path: pub/be/bertino

Rutgers FTP
-> Host:
Path: pub/computer/vt100

Sunsite FTP
-> Host:
Path: pub/multimedia/animation/vt100-animation

Irisa FTP
-> Host:
Path: pub/vt100

Mordor FTP
-> Host:
Path: pub/ascii/art/movies

Infomatik FTP
-> Host:
Path: pub/pictures/ascii/vt100_animation

Armory FTP
-> Host:
Path: pub/user/hello/index

ANSI graphics:

-> Host:
Path: pub/msdos/demos/ansi

o Gopher Servers:

ASCII Art Bazaar
-> Host:
Menu Items: 11, 1
Path: 70/1asciiarc.70 (70/11asciiarc.70 on some clients)
Over 12 megabytes, thousands of pieces in many categories.

Scarecrow's ASCII Art Gopher
-> Host:
Menu Items: 3
Has Scarecrow's files, SAPs, animations, color, FAQs, Figlet,
gray scale converters, 'how-to' files, and more. Everything
the FTP site has is available from the Gopher, with
friendlier menus.

TTU Gopher
-> Host:
Menu Items: 7, 1
Path: 1/Art and Images/ClipArt (ASCII)
URL: gopher://
UMN Link: North America/USA/texas/Texas Tech University, Computer Sciences

o World Wide Web:

Scarecrow's WWW Link
-> URL:
Gateway to the wold of ASCII art, with links to everything.

Chris' WWW Page
-> URL:

-> URL:

Joshua Bell's Star Trek art
-> URL:

Indiana U WWW
-> URL:

o Mailing List:

ASCII Art listserv list
-> Address:
Message: subscribe asciiart

o FTP Mail Servers:

-> Address:
Message: help

-> Address:
Message: help

-> Address: bitftp@pucc.bitnet
Message: help

___,___,_______,____ ___,___,_______,____
| ...|///./||'|| | ...|///./||'||
| ...|//.//|| || | | ...|//.//|| || H) | THE
| ...|/.///||||| | | ...|/.///||||| | SCARECROW'S
| _______________ | | _______________ | RECOMMENDATIONS
| |:::::boba::::::| | | |:::::boba::::::| | ___________________
| |_______________| | | |_______________| |
| |_______________| | | |_______________| | ________________________
| |_______________| | | |_______________| | |\ |
| |_______________| | | |_______________| | |''''''''''''''''''''''''|
||_| | | ||_| ||_| | HD 100 - o |
!__|_______________|__! !__|_______________|__! !________________________!

If you're short on disk If you have a bit more If you have some disk
space, I would suggest disk space, you may want space to spare, you
you get the FAQ and to get the Best of the should get all of the
get the Most Often Scarecrow's ASCII Art SAAAs and save this file.
Requested Edition, plus Archive. Also, select a You can also get all of
files containing the number of files from Steve Sullivan's Small
type(s) of art you want, Steve Sullivan's Small ASCII Pics, and a few
such as the Sig Gallery. ASCII Pics. animations and color pics,
plus some 'How-To' files.
Disk space is often limited, so store ASCII art art and info. With all
compressed (it should compress 3:1). View it when these, you'll be an
it's compressed by typing: "zcat FILENAME | more" ASCII art expert and
for .Z and "gzcat FILENAME | more" for .gz files. collector, instantly!

Scarecrow's ASCII Art Reference (Part 2)

How do I use FTP, Gopher, /
_ __ World Wide Web, and FTP Mail Servers? , Q/
/ | / ____________________________________________________ /
| || () | /
!_! __/ _/ _

The following instructions are for most Unix based, live InterNet sites.
If you are not on a live wire, you can still access FTP sites. See the
section below on 'How to use FTP Mail Servers'.

If you're on a commercial service, or other non-Unix based system, ask
your sysadmin or service representative for information on obtaining files.
If you are using InterNet software on your own computer via a PPP or SLIP
connection, I assume you don't need my instructions.

How to read a URL (Uniform Resource Locator):
|_| |__________| |_____________________| |_____|
| | | |
Connect Method Host Name Folder Path File Name

Note: The connect method could also be "gopher" or "http" (http indicates
a WWW page). Also, a URL my not have a file name at the end, but may just
point to a folder. It may not even have a folder path, pointing only to a

WWW URLs usually end with a file having a ".html" extension. And Web
pages can also be stored on, and accessed from, FTP and Gopher sites.

Special note: You may occassionally see URLs with a username and password,
or a WAIS URL with additional items. For further information on URLs,
see the CERN info on URLs:


How to FTP:

If you have FTP at your site, and you want to FTP over to say, Chris
King's FTP site, you would, at the prompt:

o Type: ftp

Notice that "ftp" was typed twice. The first is the command, the second
is a port of the address. If you're already at an ftp prompt:

Type: open

o When the connection opens, it'll ask for your name. This is 'anonymous
FTP' so:

Type: anonymous
__________ ______________
o When it asks for a password, |:""""""""i: | ............ :
|: |: | : | :
Type: Your email address |: >boba |: | : | :
|:________|: | :> | :
o To 'Change Directory' over | ..... :---_____---| :__________| :
to Chris' ASCII folder, type: | '-----" : |..............:
cd pub/ncsu/chking/Archive | @ :"-__-_ |"""""""""""""":
|..........: _-" |..............:
o To list the folder contents, /.::::::::. / /.::::::::.:::.
type: ls /____________ (__) /________________

o Let's say you want a file called "Funnies", you would:

Type: get Funnies

The file will be transfered to the host you FTP'd from, in the folder
you were in when you started that FTP session.

o When you're done:

Type: bye

It will say goodbye and quit. If you just want to switch to another

Type: close

You will be at the ftp prompt, where you can

Type: open (or whatever site)

You may have to decompress or uudecode the file first. See Question 20 on
how to do that. Now you can view or download the file. For how to view
animations and color pics, see Question 21.

Two helpful things. Type "cd .." to go back out of a folder. Type "pwd"
('Print Working Directory') to see where you are.

Another thing to type is "mget" when you want several files. Say you want
all the Scarecrow's 'Galleries'. You would type "mget *Gallery*". It will
get everything that has "Gallery" in it, which will be all the Scarecrow's
'Galleries', like the GIf Gallery, Sig Gallery, etc. When it's ready to
transfer each file, it will ask you if you want it. Press the 'y' key.

How to Gopher:

Gopher is easy. Say you want to check out the Bazaar. You would:

o Type: gopher

o Use the up and down arrow keys or number keys to pick the menu item you

o Use the right arrow (or return key) to enter a selection, and the left
arrow to back out.

o In this case we pick "The Continuum", which is #11, and press the right
arrow or return.

o After we enter The Continuum, we see the ASCII Art Bazaar, so we pick it
(it's #1) and press the right arrow or return.

The Bazaar has over 12 megabytes of ASCII art pics (in categories),
newsgroup articles, collections, information, etc. And you can view the
goodies without having to download anything just to see it. You just use
menus to look at what you want, and it's displayed on screen.

How to use the World Wide Web:

Using the World Wide Web is as easy as Gopher. For example, let's say you
want to check out the Scarecrow's WWW Link, you would do the following on a
live Net site using lynx:

o Type: lynx

o Use the up and down arrow keys to select what you want to see.

o Use the right arrow (or return key) to enter a selection, and the left
arrow to back out.

You can do as with Gopher, but you can also access links to FTP, Gopher and
WWW sites. For example, there are links that will take you to Chris King's
Web archive of ASCII art, the Figlet server, the Bazaar, Joshua Bell's Star
Trek ASCII art site, and practically everything in the ASCII art world.

Important Note: You can use a Web browser to access FTP sites. You avoid
all that logging in, and there are no commands to remember. For example, say
you're using lynx, and you want to go to the Scarecrow's FTP site, you would
type, at the prompt:


As you can see, it's just "lynx" plus the URL for the site. You can do
this with any FTP site, just type "lynx ftp://" plus the address/path, and
you in like Flynn.

Note: When using FTP, Gopher, WWW, or other live Net services, try to:

o Find files at sites that are close to you before accessing more distant
locations. This causes less drain on Net resources between your site
and the accessed site.

o Use these services at off-peak hours, to not slow down the official
operations of a school or business.

o Send a thank you note to the admins of sites you have used and
benefitted from. Admins are overworked and underthanked.

How to use FTP Mail Servers:

If you don't have FTP access, you can use an FTP Mail Server. There
are a few listed in the answer to Question 9.

To use them send a message to any of the listed addresses with "help" as
the message. Here is an example of how to use

o Address a message to:

o Leave the subject blank.

In the message:

o Type: connect

The hostname could be any available host.

o Type: chdir pub/Scarecrow

Changes directory (folder) to the Scarecrow's ASCII art folder. The
folder name could be any existing folder.

o Type: binary

For programs and compressed files.


Type: ascii

For text files, uuencoded files, etc.

o Type: get MORE

Transfers the flie called "MORE" to your computer. The name could be
the name of any existing file in that folder.

o Type: quit

o Send email message.

Your message will be acknowledged. It will be given a number which you
should save in case of a problem. Within a day or two you should recieve
either a file or an error message. If you get an error, make sure the
following are correct:

o The host name.

o The pathname.

o The filename.

o The commands.

o The cAsE of the letters.

Back to Index

_ _ Can I get The Scarecrow's files via email? O
/ | / | _____________________________________________________ '/|
| | | | |
!_! !_! _/ _

Yes. If you do NOT have FTP, Gopher, or WWW, you can get files by email.
To receive _ send email to with the subject line _
_| |_ _| |_
/ /
/ /

Current Name of file on Subject line
File Name Version Size Scarecrow's FTP for requests

If you're not sure if you've seen the latest FAQ, request it.

ASCII Art Resources 4.9 190 K AAResources REQUEST RESOURCES
Contains the Questions & Answers from the ASCII ART FAQ, plus examples of
every kind of ASCII art, ANSI escape codes and examples of most all the Figlet

The following 4 archives contain everything in the Scarecrow's edited

Scarecrow's ASCII Art Archive 1.0 349 K SAAA1.Z.uu REQUEST SAAA 1.0
Hundreds of goodies, plus special sections on sigs and BBS art. Each item has
a 'From:' line, and of course there's my witty commentary. :-)

Scarecrow's ASCII Art Archive 2.0 362 K SAAA2.Z.uu REQUEST SAAA 2.0
Hundreds more goodies, sigs, BBS art, plus sig blanks, plan art, more.

Scarecrow's ASCII Art Archive 3.0 369 K SAAA3.Z.uu REQUEST SAAA 3.0
Third in the series. More sigs, BBS art, and GIF conversions.

Scarecrow's ASCII Art Archive 4.0 364 K SAAA4.Z.uu REQUEST SAAA 4.0
More sigs, GIFs, and a Font Gallery. All four total around 1.5 megs.

The following files are subsets of the above archives (if you have the
above archives, you don't have to get these, unless you want them):

Best of the SAAAs 1.0 610 K BestOfSAAAs.Z.uu REQUEST BEST
The best of everything from the first 3 SAAAs.

Best of the ASCII Pics 1.0 205 K BestPics.Z.uu REQUEST PICS
The best pics from the first 3 SAAAs. No sigs, bbs art, gifs, etc.

Most Often Requested Edition 1.2 107 K MORE REQUEST MORE
This file contains the pics everybody wants. Birthday pics, animals, Star
Trek, hearts and flowers, etc. Save time, get this file instead of requesting
someone post it and then waiting for it.

The Scarecrow's Funnies (humor) 2.1 68 K Funnies REQUEST FUNNIES
Funny ASCII pix, cartoons, and humorous sigs.

The Scarecrow's Font File 1.0 127 K FontFile.Z.uu REQUEST FONTS
Do you just want a collection of fonts? Here it is, along with some nice hand
lettered pieces. (These are not .flf fonts for use with Figlet.)

Best of Scarecrow's Sig Gallery 1.2 207 K SigGallery.Z.uu REQUEST SIGS
Over 200 non-stop K of some of the best sigs I've seen. And with people
sending me sigs, I tend to see quite a few.

Best of Scarecrow's BBS Gallery 1.3 88 K BBSGallery REQUEST BBS
Some of the best art from login sceens, server screens, MUDs, promos.

Best of Scarecrow's GIF Gallery 1.1 62 K GIFGallery REQUEST GIFS
The best GIF conversions I and others have done. Many conversions I've seen
aren't very good. But I've taken the best and put them into one collection.

Best of Scarecrow's 3-D Gallery 1.0 30 K 3-DGallery REQUEST 3-D
Some of the best 3-D pix posted.

| |
| W H E N R E Q U E S T I N G F I L E S |
| |
| When requesting files, please be sure to use the subject lines above. |
| That way I won't accidentally delete a request thinking it's something |
| from a list server I don't want to see. |

When writing to me about other things, please use a good strong subject
line. If you are responding to my reply, please try to include some of what
we have both said, or I may have no clue what it's about.

And please be patient. If your message is the first I see when I open my
mailbox, you'll get an answer right away. If it's the 137th, it may take a
little longer. I answer most mail the same day.

If you don't get an answer, please try again, as I may have pressed the
wrong button. And it's easy to press the wrong button because I handle
tons of mail each week.

Back to Index

_ ___ Is it OK to copy ASCII art? , O
/ | !_ ) ___________________________________________________ //
| | / / / /
!_! /___! _/ _

ASCII art that is posted is considered copyrighted by the poster. But
since the post goes around the world, and copyright laws vary, you'd have
trouble enforcing it in some places. The correct thing to do is ask
permission before using a piece.

For non-commercial uses:

Even when ASCII art is copyrighted, there is a general agreement among
most ASCII art people that it is OK to copy and clip, repost and pass it
around. It is generally used AS IF it were Public Domain.

All that most artists ask is that their credit be left on the art. Until
recently, it was common for the creator's credit to be lost. Also, most
artists appreciate receiving a copy of the thing their art appears in.

For an example of non-commercial use, you might make an instant sig
with a piece of existing art, a Figletized name, a quote, and your email
address. The one thing that is generally considered bad is to copy
somebody's sig, only changing the name and address.

For any commercial use:

When ASCII art is used commercially, such as in for-profit information
services, the artist should be contacted, and agreements reached in
regard to permissions, credits, and payment. ASCII artists should be
treated like any artists.

Back to Index

_ ____ How do I make those big letters? O
/ | !__ / ___________________________________________________ /|
| | !_ / |
!_! !___/ _/ |

You can make lettering like the above subtitle "ANSWERS" by hand, or use a
program called Figlet. With Figlet, the letters you type are automatically
turned into big letters. Figlet stands for Frank, Ian and Glenn's LETters.
^ ^ ^ ^^^
Figlet is available for use on some host systems. If it is not, you can
obtain Figlet and fonts from the sites listed in Question 14. There are about
100 fonts for use with Figlet. Figlet fonts have an .flf suffix. Figlet is
currently in version 2.1, available for Unix, DOS, Amiga, and Atari ST.

There are a number of examples of Figlet fonts at the end of the ASCII
Art Resources file. You can see examples by clicking on examples.

The following utilities are also available:

chkfont - Checks Figlet 2.1 font files for formatting errors.

fsfiglet - Is a font switching front end to Figlet.

showfigfonts - Prints a list of available Figlet fonts, and samples.

zfiglet - Allows Figlet to use compressed fonts.

Here are some handy things for Figlet users. Again, these instructions
are for most Unix based systems.

This is a ksh script that produces an example file for all fonts in a

#! /bin/ksh

for FILE in `ls *.flf`
echo $FILE >> output.file
echo ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ >> output.file
echo $FILE | figlet -f $FILE >> output.file
echo ~~~ ~~~ ~~~ >> output.file

To use it:

o Save this script to a file in the folder where you keep the fonts.

o Make it executable by typing: chmod 755 filename.

o Make sure the folder containing the script is in your path.

o Run it by typing its name.

Note: If you want to send Figlet's output to a file instead of the screen,
do the following at the prompt on most Unix based systems:

o Type: figlet -f fontname > filename

o Type your text.

o When you're done, press: control-d.

Or you can use two files, one for prepared text, and another for the
output from Figlet. Here are a couple examples:

o Type: figlet -f fontname < prepared.txt > output.file


o Type: cat prepared.txt | figlet -f fontname > output.file

A vi macro that will figletize a line (by Anthony Thyssen):

" @F Expand Current Line with `Figlet'
:map @F !!figlet -c -f

When you run this macro (with @F in command mode - note that this is a
'two-key' macro), you can specify the font name on the command line (or else
the default one will be used). The current line will be figletised (and
centered) when you press return.

Add this to your EXINIT variable, or to your ~/.exrc file (but beware that
vi will ignore ~/.exrc if EXINIT is set). Automatic execution is
possible by finishing the macro with a ^M (done in vi by a control-V
followed by 'Enter' to produce a 'hard' control-M).

With all the Figlet fonts available, you have a lot of choices. But it
doesn't stop there. You can make an infinite number of changes to how the
output looks.

For example, here's the standard output of the alligator.flf font:

::::::::::: :::::::::: :::::::: :::::::::::
:+: :+: :+: :+: :+:
+:+ +:+ +:+ +:+
+#+ +#++:++# +#++:++#++ +#+
+#+ +#+ +#+ +#+
#+# #+# #+# #+# #+#
### ########## ######## ###

You can flip the effect by typing:

echo TEST | figlet -f alligator | tr ':+#' '#+:'

Which gives us:

########### ########## ######## ###########
#+# #+# #+# #+# #+#
+#+ +#+ +#+ +#+
+:+ +:++#++: +:++#++:++ +:+
+:+ +:+ +:+ +:+
:+: :+: :+: :+: :+:
::: :::::::::: :::::::: :::

And of course, you can send the output to a file, like:

echo TEST | figlet -f alligator | tr ':+#' '#+:' > output.file

Some other hosts have a program called "Banner" which performs a similar

Back to Index

_ _ _ Where can I get Figlet? O
/ | | | !_ __________________________________________________ |/
| | !_ _! |
!_! !_! /__

You can get Figlet and fonts from:

o FTP Sites:

Official Figlet Site
-> Host:
Path: pub/figlet

Scarecrow's ASCII Art FTP
-> Host:
Path: pub/Scarecrow/Figlet
Has Figlet, utilities, and all the fonts I've found.
Also accessible through the Scarecrow's Gopher site.

-> Host:
Path: graphics/graphics/misc/figlet
Figlet only.

-> Host:
Path: pub/user-supported/figlet
Fonts only.

-> Host:
Path: pub/apple2/16bit/GNO/Figlet

Depending on where you get Figlet and-or Figlet fonts from, you may have to
uudecode, uncompress, and possibly untar them. For how to do this, see
Question 20.

o Figlet WWW Server:

Figlet Server
-> URL:

o Figlet Mail Server:

-> Address:
Message: HELP

o Figlet WWW Home Page:

Figlet Home Page
-> URL:

o Figlet Mailing List:

-> Address:
Receive new fonts, software update notices, as well as chat
about Figlet. It's run by Ian Chai.

Back to Index

_ ___ How can I make Gray Scale pictures? , O O
/ | | __! __________________________________________________ /| |_
| | !__ / | | /
!_! !___/ _/ | |/ _

:::::::: MMM$W::::::::::::
:::::::~ MMMM$>:::::::::::
You can make them from ::::::: :MMMMRk::::::::::: Most converters
scratch if you are a ::::~s:::XMMM9M::::::::::: require the GIF to be
very good ASCII artist. :::::9k?:HMMM@MXN>:::::::: in 87a format, not 89a
:::::M$(!?MMMMMH$k:::::::: format. GIFs in 89a
An easier way is to ::::!M$k:!MM!`M9M$:::::::: format, must be converted
use an ASCII converter. ::::~MBf!!!" M8MM$!::::::: to 87a format first.
::::!M$XH!~ X##MMN:::::::: Some programs capable of
There is ASCGIF, ::::!MM!?! M:@NM$:::::::: viewing GIFs can save in
Gifscii (with versions :::::MR!~: :?MN$8N!::::::: the 87a format.
many systems), ANSIrez, ::::!MM::: '4M$$$$!:::::::
GIF2ANSI, "gif2txt" and ::::!MH::: '4M$$$$!::::::: The exception to the
"ansicv22" for the PC ::::!?%~: XM9$B$!::::::: GIF converters is a
:::::XX:: 'XM9$B$!::::::: bitmap converter for
There's "asciipicter", ::::!XM:: 'XM9$$$f::::::: Windows called Pixel
a HyperCard stack (Mac) ::::~!%~: 'XMM$M$!::::::: Characterizer (version
that allows you to draw :::::x!:xHMMMMN$$8k::::::: 0.5) by Shi Y Chen.
a pic and convert it. ::::?!Xd$MM!MMM$$$NX::::::
::::!sN$$MMXMMM$$$$$H::::: If you have trouble
These programs make an ::::N$$$8HMMM9M?R89MRNk::: getting a good conversion
ASCII pic from any GIF :?::2C"""""MM9XXM$##*#*!! after making a dozen, see
(Graphics Interchange !!:?##M@@hxMMM!MM$bobaxx!! Question 17.
Format) image (or any XHHH!HMMMM!?X!:MMMMXXxxXXX
image you can convert MMMMXMMMMMHXXHHMRMMMMMMMMM Shuttle GIF conversion
to a GIF). MHW8MMM$8MMM8MN$R$MMMMMMMM by The Scarecrow.

Back to Index

_ _
_ __ Where can I get Gray Scale converters? /
/ | / /_ ___________________________________________________ |
| || _ /O
!_! ___/ _/ _

You can get Gifscii for many systems, and the source code from:

o FTP Sites:

Chris' FTP site
-> Host:
Path: pub/ncsu/chking

Scarecrow's FTP Site
Scarecrow's FTP Site
-> Host:
Path: pub/Scarecrow/Gifscii
Also accessible through the Scarecrow's Gopher site.

Both Chris' and Scarcecrow's sites have the following:

Version: File name

MSDOS: Gifscii.exe
Unix (Sun): Gifscii.ux
Macintosh: MacGifscii.hqx
Amiga: Gifscii.lha
Digital Alpha: ALPHAGifscii.exe
Digital VAX: VAXGifscii.exe
c-source: Gifsciiv2.2src

Jorn's FTP site
Jorn's FTP site
-> Host:
Path: mcsnet.users/jorn/ascii-art
Has Gifscii for the Mac, and the source.

You can get ASCGIF from:

o FTP Sites:

USC FTP site
-> Host:
Path: archive/usenet/sources/comp.sources.misc/volume30/ascgif

Scarecrow's FTP Site
Scarecrow's FTP Site
-> Host:
Path: pub/Scarecrow/Misc
Also accessible through the Scarecrow's Gopher site.

-> Host:
Path: usenet/comp.sources.misc/volume30/ascgif

UUnet FTP Site
-> Host:
Path: usenet/comp.sources.misc/volume30/ascgif

You can get GIF2ANSI and gif2txt from:

o BBS Sites:

-> BBS: Exec-PC (414) 789-4210
File: GIF2ANSI.ZIP, in the "Mahoney MS-DOS" file collection.

-> BBS: Aquila BBS (708) 820-8344]

You can get "", "", and "asciipicter.sit.hqx" from:

Scarecrow's FTP Site
-> Host:
Path: pub/Scarecrow/Misc
Also accessible through the Scarecrow's Gopher site.

You can get the GDS GIF-JPEG to ANSI (for DOS) at:

o FTP Sites:

-> Host:
Path: pub/ph/photodex

-> Host:
Path: SimTel/msdos/graphics

If you do NOT have FTP available, you can get Gifscii by email.
To receive _ send email to with the subject line _
_| |_ _| |_
/ /
/ /

File Name Version Size Subject line

Gifscii for the Mac 2.2 - 37 K REQUEST GIFSCII MAC
Gifscii source code 2.2 - 51 K REQUEST GIFSCII SOURCE

Back to Index

_ ____ How can I make better Gray Scale conversions? . O
/ |!__ | ___________________________________________________ /|
| | / / |/
!_! /_/ _/ _

Most of us start out thinking that you just put a GIF into a converter
program and out comes a perfect ASCII pic. Would you believe ... there are
some things you can do to improve the chances of getting a good conversion.

The following is not a complete list, but it is what I have learned in
making many conversions:

o Use an 8 bit gray :::~!%:::::~:!:~4:XXM?XH!!:!:!!!`~::!~
scale or color image ::::::~!!:::~!::!!XMX!XMf:X!~~~ ~`~` :
instead of a 2 bit ::::::::::!:::!::kHNMXMMh!!~ .~ :
B&W image. ::::::::::::::xXMM9R8888F~ ' '
::::::::::::xHMM?W88888#! : ' '
o Use an image with a ::::!::::::hMMMMW888888 :::::> .~ '
wide range of tones, !::!::!::!!!""M888888RM:!xH! ::::
with a relatively !!!!!!X!::~~ J88888RM!::?M .:~
even distribution of !!!!?!?!!:z .88888MM!!?hH!:::! :: ` `
shades from dark to !!!!!!X9MN .o888888MXHMMM!~~` `~!!::::::::
light. X!!!??NM`?uN88888R?HMMM!~ `:!:::::::::
??XXX?9Uo@888888MMMM!"~ '!!!!:`::::::: :
o Keep it simple, like XXNN8N888888888R"!"` - ~~:~:!:::::::`
a face or close-up H988RMM8888888R! !> x: `~~!?!!:
of an object. Avoid M9R*!MMMRRR8RR8i::::x:. .xH?: `!!!:
complicated pictures, 8@M!~~!*MMNN8N88NBNNNX!!!::n+!*"!:~~ ~:: `::
they seldom produce 8R~: ::xH88RMRRBOBA888h:: ~~::::::: ~:
good results. 8R .xXMMMMRRRMMM9MMM5MM?!: '`~~:!::: ~
88>!MMMH(2MMMMMM9MMMMRM!:~~ :::::
o Avoid busy 88X~tX!???tMXM?MM@HXMMMM%. ::~::!~::!::!:::
backgrounds. R8WxX?XXXhM!?MMM9MMX!?M%!!::. ` `~~~~!!::::
Also, assuming the ?t88MHM*MMMHHMHHMMMX:?t!!?HXX!?: ~!:!:
preference for !HM88MH!??*MtMMM9?%?t?!?tXXMMtXH!: `~!::
viewing the final !!MR88MXX?XXX!MX?~!!!H!!!%XXMXH9X!: ':~~!
ASCII pic is light !!HMR888MHMXSXM!XX%!k:XXhXXHtMMMM?X:::: ~~::
characters on a dark !HX9MM888MMMMMMHM?MMMMMM9MMMHMMM?M!!!:X:
background, avoid !HX?MMR8888N88MMM!HMMMMMHMMMHMHMHHHHXXX!::::
bright backgrounds !!!??!(?M@88888NMMMMMMMMMMMMMHMMMMMMMMMHxx::::::::
in the original, !:!!!?!:MMM888888NMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM9MHMHM!x!?%!XX
with exceptions. nxxx:?x!t?MMN888888N8MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM?H?HXX!!tHHM

o Use an image that is tightly Kitten GIF conversion
cropped, without a lot of waste. by The Scarecrow.

o Be prepared to quickly run through a series of conversions. You will
probably not like the majority of conversions you get. Be prepared to
discard 9 to 11 out of 12.

o It helps to do touch-up work on the converted picture. Most pics I have
posted have been touched-up. Concentrate on the focal points and
important areas of the picture.

Send any gray scale conversion techniques you know to:

Back to Index

_ ___ What do those filename extensions mean? O
/ | ( _ ) ___________________________________________________ ._/|
| | / _ |
!_! ___/ _/_

A file may have some of the following elements in its name:

| | | | | |
| | | | | |___ May be "uu" or "uue" for uuencode,
| | | | | may also be "xx" or "xxe" for xxencode.
| | | | |
| | | | |___ For Unix Compress, may also be .gz for Gzip.
| | | | May also be .zip, which may cantain more than
| | | | one file, and needs to be 'unzipped'.
| | | |
| | | |___ Tape ARchive format, may contain more than one
| | | file. Needs to be 'untarred'.
| | |
| | |___ ANSI usually implies the file is a color image.
| |
| |___ As in VT terminal (such as VT-100 terminal emulation).
| VT usally implies the file is an animation.
|___ File name (a file my have a different name after uudecoding).

For further information, on how to save, uncompress, untar, unzip, and view
files, see Questions 20 and 21.

Back to Index

" /"
_ ___ What is 'uuencoding'? O/
/ | / _ ___________________________________________________ |
| | _, / |
!_! /_/ _/ _

Color graphics and animations must be processed to change the control codes
to regular printable ASCII characters before they can be sent as text (which
any information service can handle). This processing is called 'uuencoding'.

The file is processed back again after it is received. This is called
'uudecoding'. See Question 20 on how to save and 'uudecode' a file, and
Question 21 on how to view animations and color images.

You may have seen uuencoded posts from time to time, or have had them
emailed to you. A uuencoded file may look like:

begin line permission mode file name to be given to decoded file
| | |
| | |
|__________ begin 644 filename
of encoded ____ M"AM;-#LV2"`@("`@+R`@7`H;6S$[,3%("AM;,CLQ,4@@("`@(("*(ULS
information C+RXN+RN+BO+RO+RXN+RO+RO+RO+RXN+BX;6S`[;0HN
end line ______ end

Scarecrow's ASCII Art Reference (Part 3)


___ __ How do I save, 'uudecode' and uncompress a file? O
!_ ) / __________________________________________________ |
/ / | () | |/
/___! __/ _/ _

Type the name of the file where I have "filename". On a Unix system, the
process is usually as easy as:

To save a file:

In most newsreaders, you:

o Type: s filename (or a full pathname)

In Elm:

o Type: s

You'll get a "save file to" prompt.

o Type: filename (or a full pathname)

In Pine:

o Type: s

You'll be asked for a folder name. Pine's 'folder' is text file.

o Type: filename (or a full pathname)

To uudecode a file:

o Type: uudecode filename

This may change the resulting file's name.

To uncompress a file:

For a .Z (Unix compress) file:

o Type: uncompress filename

For a .gz (GZip) file:

o Type: gunzip filename

Sometimes a number of files will come packed together in a .zip or .tar
file. You need to unzip or untar it. You will end up with a number of files.

For a .zip file:

o Type: unzip filename

For a .tar file:

o Type: tar -xvf filename

To just read the contents of a .tar file:

o Type: tar -tvf filename

o On a DOS machine, to uncompress a .Z file, you'll need comp430d from: FTP Site
-> Host:
Path: pub/msdos/compress

To uuencode a file, use the following syntax at the prompt:

uuencode filename filename > filename
| | | | |
| | | | |___ The name of the file that will be
| | | | written to your disk so as to not
| | | | overwrite the original file.
| | | |
| | | |___ Tells the system to write the resulting
| | | uuencoded file to the name following it.
| | |
| | |___ The name to be put on the 'begin' line of the
| | resulting uuencoded file. This name will
| | be given to the file when it is uudecoded.
| |
| |___ The file you want to uuencode.
|___ The uuencode command.

To compress a file:

For Unix compress:

o Type: compress filename

For Gzip:

o Type: gzip filename

To zip compress a number of files into one .zip file, use the following
syntax at the prompt:

zip filename1 filename2 filename3
| | |_________|_________|
| | |
| | |___ Files to be zipped,
| | can be any number.
| |
| |___ Name for resulting .zip file.
|___ Command.

For info on viewing animations and color images, see Question 21.

Back to Index

___ _ How do I view animations and color images? O/
!_ ) / | __________________________________________________ |
/ / | | |
/___! !_! _/ _

Type the name of the file where I have "filename". On a Unix system, the
process is usually as easy as:

To view an animation or color pic:

o Type: cat filename

You can view a compressed file without decompressing it.

To view a .Z compressed file:

o Type: zcat filename

To view a .gz compressed file:

o Type: gzcat filename

To slow down an animation:

o Type: cat -u filename

Note: if you are modeming into your host, the speed of your connection will
effect the speed of the animation. At 14.4 K, the animation may go to
quickly, while at 2400, it may go too slowly. Host system and terminal speed
also affect animation speed. To view color, you need a color screen and ANSI
color capable software.

There are also programs to slow animations. They are:

vtcat - An alternative to type(msdos) cat(UNIX). This program
will display your animations at the speed you like.

delayvt - Inserts delays into an animation file so that
the animation itself becomes slower.

revdelay - This UNDO's the delays added by 'delayvt' so that
you get the original animation as written by the author.

The C source code, plus PC executables are available from: FTP Site
-> Host:
Path: pub/local/n1ka0/animation/progs/utils

If you have uudecoded and decompressed a file and downloaded it, you need
to do the following:

o On your PC: You have to type "type FILENAME" and press the return to
view. You have to be sure there is a line reading:

You should probably also convert these files to DOS-ASCII. Do this with
a CR/LF converter (FLIP.EXE from FLIP1EXE.ZIP). Be sure to use the
binary option because of the escape codes.

o On your Amiga: Open a large Cli/Shell and type "type FILENAME" and press
return to view.

Back to Index

___ ___ How do I put an animation in my plan? /O
!_ )!_ ) __________________________________________________ |/
/ / / / |
/___!/___! _/ _

On most Unix systems:

o Name the file you want to be used as: .plan

o Put it in the top level of your home folder.

o Make your home folder 'world readable' by typing: chmod 711 .

o Make your plan world readable by typing: chmod 644 .plan

It does not work with all finger commands. Many systems will munch
anything except CR and LF. To test your 'planimation', finger your account
with your full address, not just your login. For example, type "finger" and not "finger foo".

Putting an animation in your plan is not universally recommended.

Back to Index

___ ____ How do I make a sig? O ,
!_ )!__ / __________________________________________________ |/
/ / !_ |
/___!!___/ /__

There are no rules for making sigs. Most sigs contain items like:

o Name.
o Nickname.
o Email addresss.
o ASCII art pics.
o Borders.
o Work and school names.
o Disclaimer.
o Mail addresses.
o Phone, fax, and pager numbers.
o Quotes and jokes from the poster and other people.
o Info about the poster's .plan, PGP key, FTP site, WWW home page.

You might simply 'Figletize' your name, pop in your addy and a pic, and
presto, instant sig:

| 'Go Johnny Go' || ___|
| | || / _) | |
| _ __ __ ||/ __ __ `__ | __| __
| ( | | | | | /() | | | | | | | |
___/ ___/ _| _| _| _| __/ _____/ _| _| _| _| __| _| _|

Here is the same sig with more information and a border:

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
* *
* School: University of Silicon Valley, math major - Job: Al's Shipping Co. *
* I speak for myself not for Silicon Valley University or Al's Shipping Co. *
* /| *
* | 'Go Johnny Go' || ___| G O S V U ! *
* | | || / _) | | *
* | _ __ __ ||/ __ __ `__ | __| __ *
* | ( | | | | | /() | | | | | | | | *
* ___/ ___/ _| _| _| _| __/ _____/ _| _| _| _| __| _| _| *
* *
* InterNet Email Addresses: - *
* WWW: - FTP: *
* Mail: John Howard Smith - 12346 Foobar Avenue - Silicon Valley, CA 90000 *
* Phone: 555.555.1212 - Fax: 555.555.1213 - Page: 555.555.1214; PIN: 143847 *
* "Life is like spaghetti." Finger my account for the reasons, and for PGP. *
* *
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Notice how busy a sig can get. Think carefully about what is really
important, how much of it you really want to include, and how you want it
laid out.

If you're going to have your sig automatically included in your posts and
email, remember that some systems only allow up to 4 lines in the sig. For
info on how to have your sig automatically included, see Question 24.

If you want to use a larger sig on systems that only allow 4 lines, you
will have to insert it manually. On most Unix based systems:

o Using pico editor, press control-r when you want to insert the sig,
and then type the name (or full pathname) of the file to be inserted.

o Using vi, ex, ed, the command is ":r "

o Using emacs, it is control-x control-r

Speaking of sig length, there is a rule of thumb of 4 to 6 lines. Try
to keep sigs around this length for posts, reserving the long ones for email,
and post to the ASCII art groups, where it's expected.

Back to Index

How do I have my sig /
___ _ _ automatically added to my posts and email? O
!_ )| | !_ __________________________________________________ |
/ / !_ _! |/
/___! !_! _/ _

On a Unix system, the process is usually as easy as:

For posts:

If you are using most newsreaders:

o Name the file you want to be used as: .signature

o Put it in the top level of your home folder.

Your news software should pick it up. Note: some systems are set up to
allow only four lines in a posted sig.

If you are using tin:

o Make a folder in the top level of your home folder called ".Sig".

o Fill it with sigs.

The files in that folder will be used randomly by tin when selecting a
sig for your post. You can call the folder something other than ".Sig",
but you must change the 'signature path' line in your tinrc in your .tin

To have a file included above your random sig:

o Make a file in the top level of your home folder called: .sigfixed

For email:

o Name the file you want to be used as: .signature

o Put it in the top level of your home folder.

If you have done this for the above use in news posts, you need to, in
additon, do one of the following:

If you're using Elm for your email, and elm doesn't pick up your sig:

o You need to put the following in ypur elmrc:

localsignature = ~/.signature
remotesignature = ~/.signature

If you don't have an elmrc yet:

o Open Elm

o Press the 'o' key to get to the options screen.

o Press the '>' to save your configuration.

o Press 'i' to go back to the index.

o Quit.

This will create the elmrc file in the .elm folder.

If you're using Pine (with Pico) for your email:

o Place the following in your .pinerc file:


If you're using vm (in emacs) for your email:

o Place the following in your .emacs file:

(setq mail-signature t)

| |
| S I G L E N G T H I N P O S T S A N D E M A I L |
| |
| Note about sig usage: Try to use short sigs for posts to newsgroups. |
| If you have any long sigs, try to only use them for email and posts to |
| the ASCII art groups. |

Back to Index

___ ___ What should I know about posting ASCII Art? O ,
!_ )| __! __________________________________________________ |/
/ / !__ |
/___!!___/ _/ _

You can post any of the following types of ASCII art to rec.arts.ascii or
alt.ascii-art or groups:

o All forms of ASCII art including:
- Standard ASCII art (line pics, 3-D, oversize printer art, GIFs, etc).
- Non-standard ASCII art (animations, color pics, color animations).

o Discussion about pieces of art.

o Requests for specific pieces of art, and their fulfillment.

o Questions and answers covering:
- Creating and viewing ASCII art.
- Locating FTP sites for ASCII art and related files.

o Discussion about artists in the field.

Animations can also be posted to alt.ascii-art.animation. 3-D art can also
be posted to alt.3d.

If you are having trouble posting to newsgroups because of system problems
or limitations, you can email your article to and it will be
posted. The subject line of the email message will be the subject line
of thepost.

If you want to make sure I know it's a post, put a short note at the
top of the message. I will delete the note and post the article. While
it's not necessary, it helps if you put an organization line at the top
of the message (email software does not do that automatically like news
software does).

To make it easier for everybody, please put one of the following Subject
IDs at the beginning of the subject line of your post:

Line - Standard ASCII line art. Line pictures and large lettering.
GIF - Gray scale image.
Animation - Animation. Usually uuencoded.
Color - ANSI Color image. Usually uuencoded.
3-D - Three dimensional art.
Font - Alphabets and Figlet fonts.
Binary - Binaries (software like Figlet and Gifscii). Usually uuencoded.
Big - Wider than 80 columns (and optionally, longer than 24 lines).

Repost - Repost of a previously posted pic, not new art.
Request - Request for a picture, Figletized name, sig, etc.

Talk - General discussion, no pics included.
Question - A question concerning any of the ASCII art topics.
Answer - An answer to a question asked by a poster.
Info - Web URLs, email address, Gopher and FTP sites, font lists, etc.
Announce - Announcements of events, new sites, web pagse, etc.

FAQ - Used for the weekly posting of Frequently Asked Questions

If you are following up a post, please change the Subject ID to reflect the
contents of the post. This way if you are fulfilling a request, change:

Request: Marilyn Monroe
GIF: Marilyn Monroe

This allows the readers the option of reading the group in a newsreader's
sorted selector. They can then read only what is of interest to them,
trusting the IDs to accurately identify the contents. Some people do not
have the time (or money if they are paying by the hour or byte) to read
everything in every group they like.

Here are some guidelines:

Posting to the ASCII groups:

o If someone requests a picture only days after it has been posted, and
you would like to fill that request, please email the picture to the
person requesting it. It's better than reposting so soon.

o Try to eliminate unnecessary blank space to the left of the pic, and
trailing space to the right. This reduces waste.

o If you're posting a collection of pics, try to keep each pic on its own
lines (and separated from other pics by a couple of lines).

o Replace tabs with spaces. Otherwise tab damage can occur.

When following up an article:

o Read all the articles in a thread before posting. Most newsreaders will
let you re-read news you've already seen.

o Decide whether it's better to post or email your message.

o Check the attributions.

o Try to keep quoted materials to a minimum.

o Summarize where possible.

o Change the Subject ID.

Most general guidelines for posting apply here too:

o Try to stay on topic (ASCII art). It's easy to get sidetracked
into other things, especially when a cross-posted thread gets going.

o If you disagree with somebody, disagree with what they have said, but
don't flame them.

o Ask permission before quoting somebody's email message.

o Type your post in upper-and-lower case. ALL UPPER CASE IS HARD TO READ.

o Cross-post an article instead of posting it separately to many
newsgroups. You cross-post by adding group names to the "Newsgroups:"
line in the header (if you are using the editor in a newsreader). Or by
typing names when prompted in "Pnews".

When you cross-post, only one copy is sent around. And only one copy is
kept on each machine. And as a reader, you only see the cross-posted
article once, no matter how many groups it was cross-posted to.

If you're a new reader:

o Read the ASCII groups for a week or two to familiarize yourself with
them before posting.

If you're a new user:

o Familiarize yourself with newsgroups, their customs, terminology and
abbreviations. Check out the guidelines, posted in the newsgroup
news.announce.newusers and news.newusers.questions.

One exception to the usual rules is the use of sigs. Because the groups
rec.arts.ascii, alt.ascii-art and are about ASCII
art, it is within the scope of these groups to post longer sigs.

To post a pic or sig you see in another group:

Let's say you're reading another group, say, rec.nonsense, for example.
And while reading the posts, you see a pic or sig. You would like an easy
way to show it to us on rec.arts.ascii, without saving it, quiting from
r.n, going to r.a.a, starting a post, inserting it, quiting your
newsreader, deleting it, etc. It's easy.

While in the original newsgroup:

o Follow-up the article, making sure it is quoted.

o Replace any newsgroups named in the "Newsgroups:" with rec.arts.ascii.

o Delete all the extraneous stuff from the post, leaving the pic or sig.

o Add any commentary you think appropriate.

o Send it.

Back to Index

___ __ Where is the FAQ available? O/
!_ )/ /_ __________________________________________________ /|
/ /| _ |/_
/___!___/ _/

Tha FAQ is available from newsgroups, FTP, Gopher, WWW, email, finger:

o Newsgroups:

- rec.arts.ascii

- alt.ascii-art


- alt.ascii-art.animation


- news.answers

- alt.answers

- rec.answers

- comp.answers

o FTP Sites:

Scarecrow's FTP Site
-> Host:
Path: pub/Scarecrow
File: FAQ

UUnet FTP Site
-> Host:
Path: usenet/news.answers
File: ascii-art-faq.Z

-> Host:
Path: pub/usenet-by-group/rec.arts.ascii
File: FAQ_-_ASCII_Art_Questions_&_Answers_(*.*_-_*_K)

-> Host:
Path: pub/usenet/news.answers
File: ascii-art-faq
-> Host:
Path: pub/usenet/news.answers/rec.arts.ascii
File: FAQ_-_ASCII_Art_Questions_&_Answers_(*.*_-_*_K)

-> Host:
Path: pub/usenet/rec.arts.ascii
File: FAQ_-_ASCII_Art_Questions_&_Answers_(*.*_-_*_K)
-> Host:
File: ascii-art-faq

EU Net
-> Host:
Path: pub/newsarchive/news.answers
File: ascii-art-faq.Z

-> Host:
Path: pub/doc/rtfm/rec.arts.ascii
File: FAQ_-_ASCII_Art_Questions_&_Answers_(*.*_-_*_K).gz
-> Host:
Path: USENET/FAQ/rec/arts/ascii
File: FAQ_-_ASCII_Art_Questions_&_Answers_(*.*_-_*_K).gz

uni-muenchen FTP
-> Host:
Path: pub/comp/usenet/news.answers
File: ascii-art-faq

Postech FTP
-> Host:
Path: pub/usenet/news.answers
File: ascii-art-faq

uni-paderborn FTP
-> Host:
Path: doc/FAQ
File: FAQ_-_ASCII_Art_Questions_&_Answers_(*.*_-_*_K)

o Gopher Servers:

Scarecrow's ASCII Art Gopher
-> Hast:
Menu Items: 3, 3 Gopher
-> Hast:
Menu Items: 10, 12, 1 Gopher
-> Host:
Menu Items: 37, 30, 647, 3

uni-paderborn Gopher
-> Host:
Menu Items: 12, 8, 4, 647, 3 Gopher
-> Host:
Menu Items: 3, 3, 858 Gopher
-> Host:
Menu Items: 7, 1, 20, 14, 62 Gopher
-> Host:
Menu Items: 8, 6, 3, 4, 20, 53

EU Net Gopher
-> Host:
Menu Items: 7, 1, 20, 14, 62

uni-paderborn Gopher
-> Host:
Menu Items: 12, 4, 10, 5, 703, 3

o World Wide Web:

Scarecrow's WWW Link
-> URL:
Select: ASCII ART FAQ (posted version)
Select: ASCII Art Resources (FAQ with examples of everything)
Select: ASCII Art Reference (this file)

Ohio State
-> URL:
-> URL:

o FTP Mail Servers:

-> Address:
Message: help

-> Address:
Message: help

-> Address:
Message: help

-> Address:
Message: help

-> Address:
Message: help

o Email:

-> Address:

o Finger by typing the following at the prompt on mony sites:

finger (turn on text capture first)
finger | more (you can read it a page at a time)
finger > faq (saves it to a file called 'faq')

Back to Index
___ ____ Who made this file? O/
!_ )|__ ! __________________________________________________ |
/ / / / _/|/_
/___! /_/

It is made by your old friend, the Scarecrow. Materials for the ASCII ART
FAQ, ASCII Art Resources and ASCII Art Reference were gratefully received
from the following nice people:

___________________ ROWAN CRAWFORD
| That's all folks! | GLEN A MILLER
| Send comments to: | JUDY ANDERSON
_______________ _/ STEVEN M SULLIVAN


Version: 4.9.1
Released: September 25, 1995
Comments To: Bob Allison

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