An Interview with Joan Stark (Archived)

I knew Joan from the newsgroup but I have not found her online since she left the ASCII art newsgroup/ community. I think of her often, at least as often as I still see her ASCII art ripped off online. She has a style I can almost always spot, even if someone has removed or changed the artist initials with her art.

Her kids will be grown up now and she won’t be fighting for computer time. I hope life has gone along well for her, where ever she is.

Joan G. Stark’s Original ASCII

Believe it or not, I “discovered” ASCII art in winter of 1995. I think I saw a tiny bicycle made in ascii characters and was totally amazed by it. I joked that someone must have had too much time on their hands! But still I was in awe of it… I didn’t even know what it was called. After e-mailing several friends, I found out that it was called “ASCII art”. It was then that I found the USENET newsgroup alt.ascii-art and started lurking to find more of these computer pictures.

I then started collecting as much of the ASCII art as I could. I began wandering through the internet and realized that there was way too much to save. I would forget my idea of having a huge collection… I know where to find the pictures if I want something.

Being a “crafty” type person, I decided that I would try to make the ASCII pictures myself. I’ve always like to doodle on paper, so I figured it couldn’t be that much different. My first project was to make a signature for me to use. I started diddling around with the keyboard in May/June of 1996 by doing lettering. Someone then told me about “FIGLET”. For those of you who don’t know, FIGLET is a computer program that creates fancy lettering from text. Hearing about figlet took the thrill away from making the fonts- I could spend an hour creating an alphabet by hand and someone else could just press a computer key and have the letters pop up “pre-made”.

And so I went on to the pictures… I know that there are programs available to create ASCII art — (I don’t know that much about them…) — but the programs usually create solid-type ASCII art. Even then, the pictures still are pretty rough and need touch-ups to make them aesthetically correct. I have collected some conversion software information from alt.ascii-art and offer them to you– no guarantees– .

I make the line-style ASCII pictures and I don’t believe that there are programs for this style. Basically I sit down at the keyboard and start typing.

OK– so I can’t consider myself a “newbie” at ASCII art any more. The honeymoon is over! I’ve been making the pics since 1996. Some people are anticipating my “burn-out”– but I continue to make the ASCII art pictures and I still look forward to improving. I’d like to be able to look at each of my creations and say “wow!”– there are some that I like a lot and there are some that I consider “ok”. Most of the crummy ones have met their demise at the hands of the delete button. Despite this, I’ve included some of my early works in this gallery so you can see how my artwork has evolved. Perhaps I may inspire other budding ascii artists…

I am just amazed at all ASCII artwork. There are a limited number of characters available on the keyboard and they are all fixed. Considering this fact, it is truly remarkable that there are so many different ASCII art pictures.

I don’t know how long ASCII art has been around. I’ve been told that it dates back at least to the 1960s when computers consisted only of large main frames. There were no PCs and no monitors. Transmissions were done through terminals that were very much like electric typewriters. Games and pictures were done in ASCII. (Remember the original “Zork”?) Some of the pictures passed around then are still being passed around today. See History of ASCII Art.

For me, the ASCII art is still pretty new … although I remember as a kid, my father would take me to work with him on an occasional Saturday. While there, I would play on the secretary’s typewriter and make pictures on a sheet of paper using commas and lines– my “first” ASCII drawings!. (I would also link all of her paper clips together– shhh, don’t tell my dad!). I had a lot of fun those weekend mornings… I guess you could say that I’ve been making text art — even before computers! 🙂

But times have changed! Gone are the typewriters, papers, and carbon copies. I doodle as I did as a child… but now I don’t need a new sheet of paper or white-out when I make a mistake. Sigh… and my children have already connected my paper clips together! 🙁 But that’s OK, I don’t need them! 🙂 I just have to fight the kids for computer time!

Source: About Joan Stark

I Like Making ASCII Art

This post was originally posted to Squidoo while I was writing there.
respectasciiartistsMaybe you have seen ASCII art and didn’t know what it was.

I make pictures using my computer keyboard – the characters of the keyboard, the text letters, punctuation marks and the numbers too. I enjoy ASCII art. Working with text to make a picture instead of words is like a puzzle, trying to fit the pieces into the right places and finding which text characters work best in which spaces.

I always thought I couldn’t draw so ASCII art became my outlet to put images from my mind into something I could show in print. (Because no one else can see all the stuff in your head).

My Experience as an ASCII Artist

1996 to Current

For me, ASCII art began in 1996 when I was new online and noticed amazing work done in keyboard text and used as signatures in email and online forums. I had to search to find the actual name, ASCII art. Those were the pre-Google days. I actually found it by asking someone on a website which was a one man project. I wish I still had the link so I could give credit to him. But, I don’t even know if the site is still active, or even still online.

My first ASCII art was a house with a tree and other touches added in. It wasn’t any house in particular so I had the freedom to create it however I liked. It did not turn out as well as I hoped. I was glad to have completed something in ASCII art myself but it wasn’t something I was going to show off.

In 1998 I found a group of ASCII artists on the newsgroups. You can still find those newsgroups, they were eventually taken over (and the archives kept) by Google. Take a look at Google Groups, search for ASCII art and you will find two groups in the alt and rec sections. There are actually even more ASCII art groups if you look for those in German and other European languages. Now and then I use a translator online because there is some really great ASCII art in those groups too.

I met several artists in 1998. My early attempts were given fair critics, some suggestions and only a little snickering behind the computer screens where I couldn’t see it. Joan Stark became famous for her ASCII art in those days. But, there were so many others who had wonderful ASCII art too. Joan was the most prolific and later, the most broken hearted as more and more of her ASCII art was stolen – credit for the work ripped off or claimed by someone else.

For a few years in between the late 1990′s and about 2010 I dropped out of making ASCII art myself. Most of the people from the group were also winding down. Our newsgroup was plagued with spam, our art was being stolen, some was taken to be coloured by people using IRC (Internet Relay Chat) but they also took the credit for our work off and claimed it was their work because they had changed it so much. Another problem was someone who took the art and perverted it into obnoxious jokes and then posted it to the group just to aggravate everyone. Myself, I was disheartened when a set of jack-o-lanterns I created was ripped off – a woman in Australia claimed them as her own. She even posted them to the ASCII art newsgroup and asked everyone what they thought of her great ASCII work.

At the end of 2010 something sparked in me and I once again took up ASCII art, just for myself. I had enjoyed it so much when I was just creating something for myself and then showing and getting feedback, tips and encouragement in the group. Almost no one was left from the group and I have only tracked down a few of them since 2010. But, I found it didn’t matter. My skill had somehow improved over the years, even though I had done almost nothing.

I began making ASCII art for holidays, like Christmas and Halloween and some which had very little (to none) ASCII art – like Groundhog Day. It became fun again and I didn’t mind working alone.

Lately I have been getting requests for ASCII art. I didn’t put my name out there so it was nice to be asked for something special. I have made ASCII art for a print literary magazine. They offered to pay but never did, so I won’t be mentioning their name. The rest has been freebie work and at least it’s honest freebie work. I have created ASCII art for a text based game and have a ‘contract’ to work on larger images for another game which wants ASCII art backgrounds. I’ve also created ASCII art for family events like a friend’s wedding, the birth of my sister’s first baby and my nephew, Zack, who started living on his own while attending his first year of university.

Doing More With ASCII Art

ASCII art in itself is nice but you can do things with the ASCII art you create. I’ve got a list of things you may not have thought of.

ASCII Art in HTML Source Code
Now and then if you look at the source code (the HTML code) of websites you can find ASCII art. Its like a secret surprise for those who dig a little deeper.

ASCII Art as Image Tags
If you know what the alt image tags are (and where they are) you could give this a try.

Passwords in ASCII Art
One line ASCII art can be used as a unique password.

Word Play with ASCII Art
Rebus Puzzles, also known as Wordies can be created with ASCII art.

Places to Find ASCII Art Online

Text art pictures created with basic keyboard characters in fixed width fonts. ASCII Art – An ASCII art feed from a variety of online sources and things I find myself and pick for the feed.

ASCII Art Universe – Very large (and still active) collection of ASCII art.

Chris’s ASCII Art Collection – Still actively maintained but a more selective collection of ASCII art.

ASCII Art Dictionary – My favourite ASCII art collection, the easiest to search, but not as actively maintained.

ASCII Art Groups

These are places to find other artists, as well as more ASCII art.

ASCII Art on Google Groups – Sharing and discussing the world of textmode art.

ASCII Art on Flickr – Post all your ASCII art pictures, artwork, or other multimedia illustrating the use of ASCII characters as artwork.

ASCII and Text Art on Facebook  For the expressive artist inside all of us.

ASCII Art on Facebook – Community page for ASCII art.

ASCII Art on Deviant Art – A place to add ASCII art.

ASCII Art Wiki – ASCII art galleries, resources and ideas. Focusing on ASCII text art but will include typewriter art and other typographic text based art.

These were comments from the original post on Squidoo. I couldn’t find a good way to import them but didn’t want to leave them behind. Right now the links to the images and profiles will work. I expect that will change when the entire site is due to be pulled offline in October, 2014.

Read more

How to Make ASCII – By Flump (hjw)

How to Make ASCII
Last updated: June 4, 1998
Getting Started

If you want to make ascii art the first thing you should know is that you don't need a special program, or special skills to make it with. All you need is somewhere to type text into - your e-mail program, notepad, wordpad, that sort of thing - and an idea of what you want to draw. There are no secrets or rules other than the following:

1.) Use a non-proportional or fixed width font. Click HERE for a page on this site that will tell you what they are, or ask me for the text version of the page via e-mail.

2.) Don't use tabs!! Always, but always use the space bar (or your cursor keys/mouse if the program you're typing in supports that) for empty spaces. The reason for this is that different computers and programs interperet the size of a tab space differently, so although what you see on your screen looks fine, on someone else's your pic may look all split up.

3.) Only use the keyboard characters on an American standard keyboard. That means all the letters, numbers and punctuation that you can see printed on the keyboard keys. You can use the shift key, but don't use the alt key to make characters. The reason for this is similar to that for not using tabs - different computers interperet alternative characters in different ways. The idea behind ascii is that all computers can read it because it's made up of characters that all computers will recognise.

4.) Don't leave empty spaces at the end of each line. Make sure every line that you type ends on the last character, and not a few spaces after it. This can cause problems on other systems, with line wrapping and so on.

Your First Ascii

The best way to make a start is to take someone else's picture and see if you can copy it. That way you get a feel for how you can use different characters. We'll start easy. Try copying these shapes, which only use the characters:

/ | _
___ ___
| | / /
|___| /__ ___/

Easy huh? Now try making the same shapes again using the characters:

- " . , ` : > < This is what I came up with: .---. . .--. : : .' `. < >
"---" "---" `--'

Bit more tricky, and it doesn't look as neat, but some of these characters, and knowing how you can use them can come in very handy at times, which we'll see later. Have a go at copying these, just for practice. Change them if you like:

_ _ __ _ _ .^._ __
| |_| |_.' `._| |_| | / / / / / / |
| _ _ _ _ | / / / / .' `. /_____V / /
|_| |_| `.__.' |_| |_| / / / / / < > |[]_[]|
/ / / / / `. .' | |+| | / /
/ `"""""' _


It's handy to know where the characters 'sit' on each line. Are they at the top, in the middle or on the bottom of the line? A couple of ascii characters vary in their position from computer to computer, but mostly they all sit in the same place. Have a go yourself on your keyboard. Here are some examples.

Top of line: " ` '
Top or middle of line: ^ * ~ =
Middle of line: - +
Bottom of line: _ . ,

You can use all these characters on one line to make a pattern, like these:



Now try making a simple sig with a decorative border, using all the characters we've met so far. This is what I came up with:

..,,++~~--==**''``^^"" Hayley Jane wakenshaw ""^^``''**==--~~++,,..
/| /|
< : > Flump's Fantastic Ascii Collection < : >
|/ "Daddy.. why doesn't the magnet pick up your floppy disks?..." |/

Using The Other Characters

The other ascii characters fall into three categories. Either they're the full height of the line or they're half height. Capitals and numbers are always full height. Compare them to some of the others - which are half height, and which are full height? Some examples:

Full height: A 7 % @ ! # ) ; & $ ] } | / > l t f k h d ?
Half height: a o v z

And then there's the 3rd sort. The characters that look like half height, but sit a little lower on the line, like they would in handwriting. These are: j g y p q

And all together they can make a slight curve, just like the others:


Lines and Diagonals

There are three basic lines to any picture - straight (either horizontally, or vertically), diagonal, and the third is the curve, which includes circles. We'll look at straight and diagonal lines first. Horizontal and vertical lines are simple in ascii - here are some examples:

Horizontal: 8888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888

Vertical: | 8 : ! 1 I
| 8 : ! 1 I
| 8 : ! 1 I
| 8 : ! 1 I
| 8 : ! 1 I
| 8 : ! 1 I

Diagonals are a bit more tricky. You can make simple ones using the / and keys. Diagonals with other gradients need a technique similar to that used to make slight curves. Experiment yourself to see how you can make different angles. Here are some examples to start you off:

/ .' _,-' __
/ .' _,-' __..--''
/ .' _,-' __..''
/ .' _,-' __..--''
/ .' _,-' __..--''
/ .' _,-' __..--'' ____....----"""
/ .' _,-' __..--'' ____....----""""
/ .' ,-' __..--'' ____....----""""


By now we've looked at the basic characters, character height, slight curves, lines, and slopes. The last thing to look at is what many people who make ascii have trouble with: circles. You're half way there already, though, because ascii circles are basically a mix of vertical and horizontal lines, slopes or diagonals, and curves. After a little practice, you'll get a feel for making different sized circles - I have a basic set of circles in a file that I refer to when I need a circular or rounded shape in an ascii pic, so now I can make them easily in all sorts of sizes. Start making small circles - how many ways can you think of to make a circle in under 5 lines? The bigger the circle the more rounded it can be, but try making circles of different sizes and see what you come up with. These are mine:

_ /"" /
1 line: O () 2 lines: (_) __/ 3 lines: __/

___ .-''-. .' `.
4 lines: / 5 lines: / 6 lines: /
| | | | | |
___/ / /
`-..-' `.____.'

9 lines: .' `.
| |
| |
| |
`._ _.'

That's the basic characters, and what you can do with them. Play with them, see what patterns and ascii scribbles you can make. Have a go at taking one of my pics, or another ascii pic from some of the excellent sites around, and copy it. Then change it! See how you can use the characters to make the picture look different. Can you make the expression on a face change? Can you make an ascii person fatter, thinner, taller, shorter? Give Barney the dinosaur a moustache, or, much better, multiple wounds? :-) This is how I learned. Many of my first efforts were absolutely dreadful. So I looked at how someone else had made the same sort of picture and learned from it. And I still do - probably why people often say my style is very similar to Joan Stark's!

To get you started, cut and paste this head into wherever you want to draw your ascii, and give it a face. Add a hat or a body. Or make the hair shorter or longer. Make it a clown or a devil!

((( )))
_))) |(_
._// /_.
' /=._.=/ hjw

Moving Forward

That's all the boring stuff about technique over. :-) What's coming up is a step by step demo of how I go about turning a picture into ascii.

When you first start, it's always a good idea to try to draw something simple. Gromit the dog is made up of very simple shapes - just ovals and circles, so I'll use him as an example.

To start a picture, I look for the simplest or most prominent feature of whatever I'm trying to draw. In Gromit's case, I reckon it's his nose. :-) I'll try the 2 line circle and see where that takes me. After I've drawn his nose I'll see if I can draw the shape of his head around it:

| |
/ _
| (_) |

Hmm.. don't like that - the top of his head isn't tall enough, but if I make it any longer it looks too narrow. If I make it wider, then the nose looks too small....

| |
| |
/ _
| (_) |

.... and to put the nose in the center, I'll have to make it yet another character wider.......

| |
| |
/ _
| (_) |

.. and though it looks like it would make a nice dog, it's not Gromit, really is it? So I'll make his nose a bit bigger; 3 lines this time, and try the face shape again.

." ".
| |
| |
/ __
| / |
| __/ |

Yep - that's more like it. :-) Next I usually try to fit the eyes in.

." ".
/ __ __
/ __
| / |
| __/ |

Nope. Don't like those. Normally I like to make eyes complete circles, or just use a couple of characters like "9 9" or "e e".But those would be too small. And these eyes are too big and don't look round enough. I'll try two lines instead.

." ".
| _ _ |
| (O)(O) |
/ __
| / |
| __/ |

Much better.Now to add the ears.

.-""-. .-""-.
/ -.`. ____ .' _
.' `" "' ,' /
`-' / `-'
| _ _ |
| (O)(O) |
/ __
| / |
| __/ |
`.____.' hjw

There are gaps left that look untidy though. This is where I couldn't get the characters to fit together. Often you can solve this by using a letter. This is about the only time I use letters and numbers apart from doing small details like eyes. I'll mess around with my favourite 'connecting' characters like: "j" "v" "V" "X" "x" "7" "i" "y" "Y". I'll use the "Y" I think, because it has the right angles in the right places to connect the ears to the head. :-)

.-""-. .-""-.
/ -.`. ____ .' _
.' `" "' ,' /
`-' Y Y `-'
| _ _ |
| (O)(O) |
/ __
| / |
| __/ |
`.____.' hjw

Last stage is to add the little details, and tidy up any messy or unclear bits. I don't like that left ear at the minute, so I'll, change that. But in the final version that goes on the web site I might decide to change it back. ;-) Have a last check to make sure he actually looks like the picture I've been working on, ask Robbie my fiance if he can tell what it is. If the Robbie test succeeds, then I hit the save button, and start looking for something else to draw. :-)

.-""-. .-""-.
/ ,.`. ____ .' _
/ `" "' ,' /
`-' Y Y `-'
| _ _ |
| (O)(O) |
/ __
| /# |
| __/ |
--" "-- hjw

These are only the basics. There are other techniques such as shading, making solid style ascii, anti-aliasing (making solid style ascii look smoother). But I don't use those much so I'm not qualified to explain them. But this info should be enough to get you started. :-)

If all else fails, you can always have a look at some of the other ascii art tutorials and hints available. There are about 7 that I know of, but the following three are the ones that I found useful and not too technical:

Daniel Au's
Rowan Crawford's
Joan Stark's

Choosing the Correct Font

I get loads and loads of mails from people saying they love ascii art and they want to cut and paste it, but when they do it ends up looking nothing like it does in their browser. Or they visit the site with their browser and the art looks totally skewed even on the web site itself.

They get this:

,--' ~.).
,' `.
; (((__ __)))
; ( (#) ( (#)
| _/____/|
," ,-' `__".
( ( ._ ____`.)--._ _
`._ `-.`-' (`-' _ `-. _,-' `-/`.
,') `.`._)) ,' `. `. ,',' ;
.' . `--' / ). `. ;
; `- / ' ) ;
') ,'
,' ;
`~~~' ,'
`. _,'
hjw `. ,--'
When what it should look like is this:

,--' ~.).
,' `.
; (((__ __)))
; ( (#) ( (#)
| _/____/|
," ,-' `__".
( ( ._ ____`.)--._ _
`._ `-.`-' (`-' _ `-. _,-' `-/`.
,') `.`._)) ,' `. `. ,',' ;
.' . `--' / ). `. ;
; `- / ' ) ;
') ,'
,' ;
`~~~' ,'
`. _,'
hjw `. ,--'

If this is your problem then the solution is very simple, I promise. ;-) The secret of ascii is that it is made and viewed in a certain sort of font. If you're on AOL then you'll have got lots of lovely software from them. Unfortunately all that lovely software seems to entirely ignore the sort of font you need for ascii art. You don't have to be on AOL to have this problem - it may just be the way you've configured whichever proram you're trying to view the ascii in, or cut and paste it to or whatever. Whichever program you're having the problem with the solution is roughly the same. Many programmes use what we call a proportional font. This means that the letters it produces have different widths just like handwriting does, to make it look neat. The trouble is that all those different widths screw up ascii. Ascii needs a non-proportional (sometimes called fixed width ) font. In this sort of font all the letters are the same width. Have a look at the following examples:

Example output with both a proportional and non-proportional font

Non-proportional font Proportional font
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0
| | | | | | | | | |
m m m m m m m m m m
% $ ! * L p . 0 @ +
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0
| | | | | | | | | |
m m m m m m m m m m
% $ ! * L p . 0 @ +

To see if the program you're using has the right sort of font, cut and paste the following two lines into it:


If you have the right font they will be the same length as each other. If you have the wrong font, they'll be different lengths. Mess around with the fonts you have and find out which ones are the right sort for ascii, and then make a note of them.

If your friends use the same programs as you, and you want to mail them some ascii, then you might want to put a message at the start of the mail saying something like: "View this mail in one of the following fonts:....." and list the fonts you found to work. One non-proportional font that most PC's have is called "courier" or "courier new", so you can try this one first if you have it. :-)

If this doesn't solve your problem, then your best bet is to make a post to the alt.ascii-art newsgroup asking for help. There are people there who are far more technically minded than me and will be far more likely to come up with an answer to your problem! :-)

Big Cat ASCII Art Collection

Big Cat – ASCII art – Starts with an ASCII art FAQ.

___ _________ ________ ______ ___ _________________ ___ ___ ______
/ _ )/ _/ ___/ / ___/ _ /_ __/ ____ / _ | / __/ ___/ _/ _/ / _ | / _ /_ __/
/ _ |/ // (_ / / /__/ __ |/ / /___/ / __ |_ / /___/ /_/ / / __ |/ , _/ / /
/____/___/___/ ___/_/ |_/_/ /_/ |_/___/___/___/___/ /_/ |_/_/|_| /_/

`> (o) (o) <` :>(.: Y :.)<: /~// {^~^} ````` What`s ASCII ? ASCII (ask'-ee) is an acronym for "American Standard Code for Information Interchange." This standard was developed by the American National Standards Institute. It is a coding scheme which assigns numeric values to letters, numbers, punctuation marks, and other certain characters such as control codes. By standardizing the values for these characters, ASCII enables computers and computer programs to exchange information. ASCII is the basic coding system which computers use to communicate with one another.Essentially, ASCII artwork denotes pictures which are created without using graphics. They are "non-graphical graphics". Its palette is limited to the symbols and characters that you have available to you on your computer keyboard. Specifically those 95 which are listed on the below ASCII chart. International symbols, such as the UK pound sterling sign, are not considered to be ASCII characters because they are not universal on all systems The ASCII character set consists of 128 characters (numbered from 0 to 127) which are standard on nearly all types of computers. The first 32 characters (0 to 31) are assigned to communication and printer control codes-- non-printing characters -- these include the control codes for signalling end of transmission, a beep, escape, backspace, and more. The last ASCII character, 127, is another control code representing the'Delete' key. The other characters (32 to 126) are the ones which appearon a "standard" keyboard. These are the characters which are used to create ASCII art. The ASCII characters used in ASCII art are the 95 characters from #32 to #126, as follows. 032 [space] 048 0 064 @ 080 P 096 ` 112 p 033 ! 049 1 065 A 081 Q 097 a 113 q 034 " 050 2 066 B 082 R 098 b 114 r 035 # 051 3 067 C 083 S 099 c 115 s 036 $ 052 4 068 D 084 T 100 d 116 t 037 % 053 5 069 E 085 U 101 e 117 u 038 & 054 6 070 F 086 V 102 f 118 v 039 ' 055 7 071 G 087 W 103 g 119 w 040 ( 056 8 072 H 088 X 104 h 120 x 041 ) 057 9 073 I 089 Y 105 i 121 y 042 * 058 : 074 J 090 Z 106 j 122 z 043 + 059 ; 075 K 091 [ 107 k 123 { 044 , 060 < 076 L 092 108 l 124 | 045 - 061 = 077 M 093 ] 109 m 125 } 046 . 062 > 078 N 094 ^ 110 n 126 ~
047 / 063 ? 079 O 095 _ 111 o

What`s ASCII Art Good For ?

ASCII Art is the dinosaur of computer graphics.
It can be useful since many people's e-mail
programs do not view graphics files without the
help of another program. Some e-mail
programs don't allow anything except text files
to be sent and/or received. And most people are
leery about downloading an unknown attachment.
Using ASCII characters to create a text drawing
allows pictures to be added to nearly all email.
The only catch is that the reader must view
the ASCII art picture in a fixed-pitch font--
and nearly all mail readers have an option for fixed-pitch fonts.

Here Are Some Good Uses For ASCII Art:

to add pictures to text email
for illustrations of subject matter
to create flow charts or diagrams
for birthday/holiday greetings
for signature files
to liven-up dull but essential business email
to illustrate e-zines
for use on text-only webpages.

(some people still use Lynx and other non-graphical browsers, believe it or not!)
for use on any webpages

(text pictures loads faster than the large graphics
many people turn graphics off)
to create coloring pages for children and adults
for use on BBSs (bulletin board systems)
for use on MUDs and MUGs (multi-user dungeons and games)
for use on mIRC (internet relay chat)
to print out for Holiday cards and greetings
just for fun and aesthetic value!

Veiwing ASCII Art Correctly

You must display it in a font that has uniform
character width.This is also known as a "fixed-pitch font."Your
browser should have some provision for setting a fixed font. Fixed-pitch
fonts include "Courier" "FixedSys", or "Monaco". This is important because
viewing ASCII art in proportional spacing will cause it to look skewed.
ASCII Art is not made in proportional fonts because the letter widths vary
from font to font. Even if you know what font the pictures were created
in, it still tends to look skewed. ASCII art is universal but only if
it is created and viewed in a fixed-pitch font and without any non-ASCII characters.

Does ASCII art looks fine on my website and itlooks skewed on their system.
Check the font!!!! ASCII art **must** be created and viewed in the fixed-pitch
font. (AOL and WebTV users-- you ONLY have capabilities for a proportional
font-- you will not be able to see the ASCII art properly unless you copy/paste
it to notepad or a text editor in the proper font; or unless you print it out).

Descriptive ASCII Art

I found a post on Living Internet, about ASCII art. I’ve kept the whole post so I can try to find the links. I know some of them are long ago 404. But, I like trying to backtrack and see what I can still turn up.

The interesting part (for me) came at the end where they had written and posted descriptive ASCII. Pretty simple examples given but they could be pretty complex once you get into the whole thing. Here is the post, with the descriptive ASCII at the end.


ASCII art is constructed from individual text characters, and has been used from the early days of computers to make some of the most creative pictures and artistic designs that human-kind has ever produced — some small, some more than a meter in height.ASCII art is strangely interesting to human beings… perhaps because it has an elemental analogy with life itself, in its creation of complex objects with attributes of humour from what could be mistaken to be the simplest of constituents, a set of ASCII characters.

Since the middle of the 20’th century, artists renowned and unknown have created uncounted thousands of ASCII art pictures with nearly as wide a range as those created by painters in water and oil. A few examples can be seen in the section on email signatures. A list of sites holding collections of ASCII art is provided below:

A few examples of ASCII art can also be seen in the section on email signatures. More information can be found in the ASCII Art FAQ.

ASCII Art FAQ – 1998 (Part 1)

| | : : :: ;;
J J : : :: ;;
L L : : __ _ _________ ;;
| | : : / |`| |`|___ ___|`-. ;;
J J : : / . | | | `-.| |`-. `-.` ;;
L L : : / /| | | | | | `-. `- ;;
| | : : / /_| | | | | | `-. . ;;
J J : : / ___ | | | | | `- `-.
L L : : / /`-.| | | |___ | | _ -.`-._
| | : : /_/____|_|_|_____|_|_|_(_) _ `-._`:
J J : : |__________________________| `-. -.,-'
L L : : _ _ _ _ _ ___ `-. `-. |
| | :_: /(_`/ `-| |`-_/-| )-_| `-. `-. `-. |
J J | | /--_)_,_|_|__/--|___|__ `-. `-._`-
L L|_| |___________________________|`-. `-._ `-.
| | | _____ ___ ___ `-.`-._ `-._ ,!`-.
J J | | ___|`/ _ `-._/ _ `--. `-._`--._`-'||`-'
L L | | |_ / /_ / / `-._ `--. `-,+.`-._
__-------_ | _|`/ _____ _/ /_._ `--._ `-.|X||-./
| |/|_|_./_/____________/=`-._ `-. |X||.|
| _,--------------.____ -========_(A)`-.._ `-|X||
Ool | _| ` |_`--. `-- |X||/
[Subject:] (FAQ) Welcome to ASCII art

__ __ __ _,
/ ___ '|| ___ ___ __ _ _ ___ _/|_ ___
/ / //_) || // )// ||'||'|| //_) || //
/ / __,_||___,_//_||_||_||___, |__//

___ ___ ____ ____
/ (( / // | || || ___ _,_ _/|_
/_ (( || || __'||) ||
_/ __/__)) __,_||_ _||_ ((_||_||_ |_

Answers to frequently asked questions about ASCII art
On the Web, the FAQ and other useful documents can be found in the
ASCII art Documentation Archive (ADA), at the following locations:-
*** There is a wealth of information about ASCII Art ***
*** in the ASCII Documents Archive ***
International Mirrors
(Helsinki, Finland) (Lulea, Sweden)
(London, UK) (Calgary, Canada)
[1] What's alt.ascii-art?
[2] What is ASCII art?
[3] What does ASCII mean?
[4] Why do all the pictures look strange?
[5] What font do you use for ASCII art?
[6] What program do you use for ASCII art?
[7] How do I draw my own ASCII art?
[8] Can someone do me some kewl lettering?
[9] Where can I find Figlet's address?
[10] Can I copy or post that ASCII picture for myself?
[11] What way works best to ask for a picture of something?
[12] What should I know before posting to alt.ascii-art?
[13] What to NOT post to alt.ascii-art? [da roolz]
[14] Have a picture or graphic and would like it Asciified?
[15] How do I convert a picture or graphic to ASCII art?
[16] How do I put ASCII art on a webpage?
[17] What are ASCII art signature files?
[18] What is ASCII art animation?
[19] What does ObAscii mean?
[20] The ASCII Art Rough-Guide to m$.Outlook?
[21] Where can I find pictures/tutorials/infos/chatrooms/experts?
[22] Historacle's What types of ASCII art are there?
[X1] The Ascii Art 10-Commandments

[1] What's alt.ascii-art? What's going on here?
You're probably reading this because it's been posted to
news:alt.ascii-art, news:alt.ascii-art.animation or rec.arts.ascii.
If you're not, jump in and take a look. In these Usenet groups
people discuss ASCII art, request ASCII art, post ASCII art, post
improved versions or variations of other people's ASCII art, and
generally have fun.

[2] What is ASCII art?
ASCII art is any sort of pictures or diagrams drawn with the
printable characters in the ASCII character set.
(For a definition of ASCII, see Question 3.)

:-) Probably the most common ASCII art picture is the smiley (-:
but it can get a lot more sophisticated than that.
.-" +' "-. Here's a small ASCII picture of
/.'.'A_'*`. a snow-scene paperweight,
|:.*'/-. ':| drawn by Joan Stark:
:~^~^~^~^:/ If this picture looks very strange and
/`-....-' you can't really tell what it is,
jgs / don't panic -- see Question 5.

People use ASCII art for a number of reasons. Here are some of them.
* It is the most universal computer art form in the world --
every computer system capable of displaying multi-line text can
display ASCII art, without needing to have a graphics mode or
support a particular graphics file format.
* An ASCII picture is hundreds of times smaller in file size
than its GIF or BMP equivalent, while still giving a good idea
of what something looks like.
* It's easy to copy from one file to another (just cut and paste).
* It's fun!

[3] What does ASCII mean?
ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange)
7-bit as defined in ISO-646 is a basic set of 128 numbered symbols
which almost all kinds of computer can display. Here are the ones
that are used for ASCII art:

032 [space] 048 0 064 @ 080 P 096 ` 112 p
033 ! 049 1 065 A 081 Q 097 a 113 q
034 " 050 2 066 B 082 R 098 b 114 r
035 # 051 3 067 C 083 S 099 c 115 s
036 $ 052 4 068 D 084 T 100 d 116 t
037 % 053 5 069 E 085 U 101 e 117 u
038 & 054 6 070 F 086 V 102 f 118 v
039 ' 055 7 071 G 087 W 103 g 119 w
040 ( 056 8 072 H 088 X 104 h 120 x
041 ) 057 9 073 I 089 Y 105 i 121 y
042 * 058 : 074 J 090 Z 106 j 122 z
043 + 059 ; 075 K 091 [ 107 k 123 {
044 , 060 < 076 L 092 108 l 124 | 045 - 061 = 077 M 093 ] 109 m 125 } 046 . 062 > 078 N 094 ^ 110 n 126 ~
047 / 063 ? 079 O 095 _ 111 o

There are other characters in the set (with the numbers 0 - 31 and
127), but they can do bad stuff to Usenet readers, so PLEASE DON'T
USE THEM in your pictures (except characters 10 and or 13 which
are used to insert a new-line by a variety of Operating Systems).

[4] Why do the pictures look strange?
If one particular picture posted to this group looks faulty, but the
rest of them look fine, then its most likely a problem with that
particular picture, or with the poster's Usenet program. But if
*all* the pictures look bad, then your Usenet reader may be set to
display messages in a proportional font (see Question 5).

* If there are a lot of almost-blank lines in the picture, then
the message is probably suffering from `wrapping'. This
wrapping may be being done by your newsreader; see if it has an
option called `wrap long lines' or similar, and make sure it is
turned off. If this doesn't work, then the wrapping was probably
done by the news program of the person who sent the picture, in
which case there's not much you can do -- everybody else will be
seeing the same thing.

* If there are a lot of < and > symbols in the picture, with
words like HTML, FONT COLOR, B, I, and so on inside them, then
the picture has been sent in HTML format and your newsreader
does not understand HTML (most newsreaders don't).

[5] What font do you use for ASCII art?
ASCII art is created using a fixed-width font (like on a traditional
typewriter), because this is the only way to make it portable.
However, several Usenet readers now display messages in a
proportional font (where different characters are different widths).

The following two lines tell you which kind of font you're using.
The arrow ends up in a different place for different font types and
is right most of the time:

You are using a [Proportional] [Monospaced] font
................................. --^--

Also, to see what your program is doing, look at these two lines:
If they look the same length, you're using a fixed-width font and
all should be ok. If the second line is longer than the first, you
need to change your settings to use a fixed-width font.

In Netscape Messenger, this option is set in
Edit > Preferences > Mail & Newsgroups.
In Outlook Express, the option is set in
View > Options > Fonts (see Question 20)
In Forte Agent, the option is set in
Options > Display Preferences > Fonts
and Free Agent, the option is set in
Options > General Preferences > Fonts
The AOL newsreader can not, at the time of writing,
display Usenet messages in a fixed-width font at all.

Detailed information on how to configure other Usenet readers is
available at the:
ASCII-Art Documentation Archive (see the beginning of this FAQ).
If all else fails, copy the text of the picture from
your program and paste it into a text editor (such as Notepad).
It's a hassle, but at least you'll get to see the pictures.

[6] What program do you use for ASCII art?
You can create ASCII art in any text editor, [jorn barger]
such as: Notepad in Windows,
SimpleText or BBEdit in MacOS,
nedit, vi, vim, or pico in Unix, _+m"m+_
BEd or AZ in AmigaOS, edit in DOS, Jp qh
or any of the various Emacs editors. O O
Yb dY
A 'quick-start' program for learning "Y5m2Y"
is JavE, a free Java program, that can be
obtained from:-

Some editors have features which make them more
suitable for ASCII art than others, but that is
largely a matter of personal opinion. Features which
are both useful for ASCII art and available in many
text editors, include the following:-

* Overtype, also known as overstrike: removes the need for
you to constantly realign characters using the Backspace,
Space, and Delete keys. Try the Insert key if there is one
on your keyboard, or your program's Options or Preferences.

* Rectangular copy and paste: allows you to select rectangular
sections of text (not just rows or parts of rows). On programs
which have this feature, it is usually done by holding down a
key such as Ctrl while selecting text.

* Find/Change: allows you to change all the characters of one
value to another (eg: change all the ~s to "s).

[7] How do I draw my own ASCII art?
Unfortunately, there aren't many text books on the subject. :-)
A good way to learn is to study how someone has made a picture.
What characters are chosen and how the characters are laid out.
How a texture is made.

########:::::::::::######## The best way to learn is to Practise.
#########:::::::::######### Draw your cat, your toaster, your
##########:::::::########## partner, your musical instruments,
###########,---.########### anything that will sit still long
##########/`---'########## enough. Practice makes, if not
#########/ ######### perfect, then at least pretty good.
########/ ######## Whether you do small drawings (less
#######:`-._____.-':####### work involved) or large ones (easier
######::::: ( ) |::::###### to make recognizable) is up to you.
#####:::::: ) ( o:::::##### If you're interested in tutorials,
####::::: .-(_)-. :::::#### there are many available from the
###:::::: '=====' ::::::### ASCII-art Documentation Archive.
A good way to begin drawing is to `"-.
type a row of spaces for however ) _`-.
wide you want your picture, and , : `.
then copy this row and paste it : _ '
for however many rows high you ; *` _. `--._
think the picture will get. `-.-' `-.
Turn Overtype on and place the | ` `.
cursor somewhere in the middle :. .
and begin drawing. This can save | . : .-' .
using Delete, Backspace, Enter : )-.; ; / :
and Space-bar keystrokes. : ; | : : ;-.
Saving this empty `canvas' as a ; / : |`-: _ `- )
read-only file for future use can ,-' / ,-' ; .-`- .' `--'
save you even more time later. `--' `---' `---' bug

Another method is by tracing a picture either onto clear-plastic
and sticking it onto the screen then opening an editor to trace
under or using an editor which allows the loading of a background
image to trace over, a process known as `water-mark'.

You can also modify existing art. Take a piece of art you think
could be improved. Make a copy. Now work on it. When you are
good at that, try to improve a really good pic. Then see if you
can fix a damaged file. Now take some small pics and put them
together into a big composite image.

When drawing ASCII art be aware that there are a few characters
that differ in size, shape and position among fonts:
' apostrophe -- tilts southwest-northeast or vertical
^ caret -- differs in size and shape
~ tilde -- appears in the middle or top
I aye -- straight line in sans-serif, with strokes in serif
try using the vertical bar (|) instead.
# hash -- hash symbol on most, currency on some old computers.

[8] Can someone do me some kewl lettering?
There is a program called Figlet which does that sort of thing
automatically -- you type in `Jane Smith', and you get back

___ __,
( / ( o _/_ /
/ __, _ _ `. _ _ , / /_
_/_(_/(_/ /_(/_ (___)/ / /_(_(__/ /_

in this and a whole lot of other fonts (see Question 9).
The ASCII art text produced by Figlet can be quite stunning,
so try it first before asking for help from the newsgroups.

IF, however, Figlet doesn't produce the kind of results you want,
THEN post to alt.ascii-art or rec.arts.ascii with your request and
ensure that you include:
* that you have already tried Figlet or don't have access to it
otherwise you will probably just get told to use it.
* a description of the kind of lettering you want, along with
any other symbols or logos which you would like incorporated
into it.

[9] Where can I find Figlet ?
The Figlet home page is at:-
and links to the FTP site:-
where you can download versions of the program or source-code
for many different platforms.

You can run Figlet on the Web by going to one of the following sites
and choosing your text and options on the Web page. Different sites
offer different options (e.g. multiple fonts at once, justification,
and limited line length). Some of these sites also provide an e-mail
Figlet service for people with browsers which don't support forms.


[10] Can I copy or post that ASCII picture for myself?
/ Don't assume that if somebody posts
| | something to a Usenet group, that gives
|.| you the right to use it however you like,
|.| copyright laws still apply.
|:| __ For more information, see the article:-
,_|:|_, / ) Copyright Myths FAQ:
(Oo / _I_ `10 big myths about copyright explained'
+ || __| in news:news.announce.newusers.
/.:.- It is also available at:-
|.:. /-----
/ |:<_T_>:| Generally, ASCII artists don't mind
|_____ ::: / if you copy their pictures and
| | :/ re-post them or put them on your own
| | | | Web site, as long as you don't
[nosig] / | __ make any money out of them.
/ | ____
Here are a few important considerations:-

* If the picture contains a few letters in one corner which don't
seem to be part of the picture, they're the artist's initials.
DO NOT remove these initials -- would you cut away the part of
a Van Gogh painting containing his name? Leaving the initials
on is a small price to pay for being able to use the picture
for free.

* If you're going to use a picture in your signature file, or in
a place (such as a log-in screen) which means you're going to
be using it a lot, you should really e-mail the artist (or post
to the newsgroup, if you don't know their address) and ask for
permission, because otherwise people may get the mistaken
impression that you were the one who drew the picture.

* If you find a picture you want to use, or post, but it doesn't
have initials on it, a common method of marking has been to use
the tag: Unknown. More recently the tag: [nosig] has been used.

As for posting other people's ASCII art,
after a discussion in news:alt.ascii-art _ ___
the following rules were agreed upon: #_~`--'__ `===-,
1. If an ASCII ART picture has initials `.`. `#.,//
on it, leave them on when posting it ,__ ## #
2. If an ASCII ART picture doesn't have `__.__ `####
initials on it, mention that you ~~ ,###'~
didn't draw it when posting it. ##'
3. If somebody posts a picture without [nosig]
initials and you have an original copy
with initials on, feel free to re-post the original version.
* The re-post ought not to be taken personally, as we all
know that ASCII art often loses proper credits.
Responses to the re-post are not necessary.

One contributor, name of Krogg, suggested the following:

1.) Ultra polite:...ya make yer own ascii and use it.
2.) Very polite:...Ya contact the author and ask if ya
can use it...
3.) polite:...Ya use it but you keep the Credits
in there like they should be.
4.) rude:...Ya use it and strip credits.
5.) Very rude:...Ya use it and claim that it Is
_Your_ very own creation...

You choose ... I think the default choice is #3 but you should
make up yer own mind....

[11] What way works best to ask for a picture of something?
Give your request the subject: `REQ:' or `[req]'
Whatever you're looking for a picture of, in the message describe
more exactly what you're looking for. Generally, the more specific
you are, the more likely you are to get some response.
If you just say something like:
`can someone draw me a fish, please'
then you may not get many replies, because people may not know
what size or feel they're wasting their time by drawing something
you won't want. If you don't have Web access, mention this fact,
otherwise you may get replies consisting only of URLs for the
kind of pictures you're looking for.
If someone is rude back to you directly, then please be patient,
since it may just be a troll trying to wind you up.
.' )) __-:!:- If you have a picture
.' .' )) and want it Ascii-fied
((__,' .' .ASCII! -:!:- see Question 14 and 15.
-:!:- ((__,'^*

[12] What should I know before posting to alt.ascii-art?
It doesn't matter if your ASCII art isn't particularly good; we'd
like to see it anyway. We won't be rude about it (although you'd
better tell us what it is, or we might ask :-), but if it shows
potential, you may find that other people will `re-diddle' it --
change a few characters, make it a bit better, and re-post it.

HOWEVER, there are a few things you should check before you
post to news:alt.ascii-art any piece of ASCII art
(see also Question 13).

* Are you sending it as PLAIN TEXT?
Turn off "send MIME message" and select "PLAIN TEXT only".

* Is it under 72 characters wide? Most news readers can only show
lines which are under either 72, 76, or 80 characters wide, so
if your picture is wider than 72 characters it may get wrapped
[see Question 4]. Also remove any unnecessary space characters
from the end of each line of the picture, to prevent lines from
being too long (and getting wrapped) without your realizing.

* If it IS over 72 characters wide?
Then a warning in the subject line [wide:110] or whatever the
original picture width and Check Your Post Output Line-Wrap
settings. [for Outlook see Question 20]
Previous versions of this FAQ used a system to prefix posts
such as: [pic] [info] [req] [big] which may be used as a guide
when providing warnings.

* Have you used any TAB characters or Control Codes?
Inserting control codes (ASCII characters 0 to 31) in a picture
can sometimes achieve interesting effect on your computer screen
or news reader, such as reversing text or changing its colour.
DO NOT post any of these pictures to news:alt.ascii-art, post to instead for two reasons:-

1. the effects that the control codes have on your news reader
are almost certainly going to be different from those on
the thousands of other news readers that other people use

2. on some news readers, control codes can cause messed up
displays, messages not appearing, or (in some cases) the
news reader crashing.

* If your first line starts with one or more spaces, stick a
dummy line (such as -- or .) above it, to prevent the spaces
from being ignored by your news program (this only applies to
some news programs, and only to the first line of the

If you're not sure about whether your message will turn out ok,
post it to a test group (such as news:alt.test or news:misc.test)
first and make sure that you can read it ok, also using a different
newsreader, if you can.

[See Question 10 for advice on posting someone else's ASCII art.]

[13] What to NOT post to alt.ascii-art? [da roolz]
[13.1] ASCII art is a very simple medium.

/ / / / / / / /
/ / / / __ / /_ /
/ o / /
_ _ _ _
___ (~ )( ~) The following List of Items (~ )( ~) ___
/ _ / / should NOT be posted to / /_/
| D_ ] / the Usenet groups:- / /[ _G |
| D _]/ / /[_ G |
___/ / / news:alt.ascii-art / / ___/
mark (_ )( _) news:alt.ascii-art.animation (_ )( _) JavE
~ ~ news:alt.ascii-art.endless.blabla ~ ~

NOTE: supports posting of ASCII
software tools or fonts (in ZIP format) and binary images
of ASCII or other FontSet (in GIF format) and any other
ASCII art related material, but no Spam, in relation to
discussions in the alt.ascii-art newsgroups.
Use the subject header: [abpa] for easy identification.

-= List of Items =-

* Binaries, Trojans, Zombies, Virus, Spam.

* ANSI,`extended ASCII' or `high ASCII', and non-Western font art.
Post it to news:rec.arts.ascii (see Section[13.2]).
Many computer systems have an extended character set of 256 or
more characters, based on the ANSI, Unicode or BIG5 character
sets and having the first 128 characters possibly identical to
ASCII. These characters should not be sent to news:alt.ascii-art
because many computer system types do not display them properly,
even those that do, do not display them in a standard way, for
example, the Windows ANSI character set is different to the
Macintosh ANSI character set. Capture and send a GIF of it to or put it on a Web page and
post a reference to it to news:alt.ascii-art.

* HTML (HyperText Markup Language) which Web pages are written in
can be read by some Usenet readers, particularly those built-in
to Web browsers, allowing colours and animations in ASCII art,
however, few newsreaders support it and to many appears as a
jumble of and are totally unrecognizable,
If you have a picture which uses HTML for a particular feature
such as colors or animation, put it on a Web page and post
the URL address of the page to news:alt.ascii-art.

* JAVA, JavaScript, Flash, GIF or whatever animated ASCII art.
This relies, not only on the newsreader being able to display
HTML, but also being able to run Java or JavaScript.
Put it on a Web page and post the address to
news:alt.ascii-art.animation and news:alt.ascii-art

* Proportional Font ASCII art screws up on many readers' displays
Post it to news:rec.arts.ascii (see Section[13.2]).
Send a GIF of it to or put it
on a Web page and post a reference to it to news:alt.ascii-art

Finally, do not use any control codes, non-ASCII characters,
or word-processor-type formatting in your postings. These are
particular to your editor or computer system they will almost
certainly not have the intended effect on the systems the rest
of us use (they may even crash some Usenet readers).

[13.2] What can I post to rec.arts.ascii?

/ / / / / / / / / /
/_ / / /_ / / / /
/ / o / o / /

The official charter for rec.arts.ascii, as sent in the newsgroup
control message, is:

The group news:rec.arts.ascii will be an appropriate group for
postings to include, but not be limited to, the following:

o All forms of ASCII art including, but not limited to:
- Standard ASCII art.
- Animations.
- ANSI color graphics.
o Discussion about pieces of art.
o Requests for specific pieces of art, and their fulfilment.
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.

rec.arts.ascii is a moderated group meaning that all posts are
reviewed before being sent to the group. That work is done by a
robo-moderator which filters Spam and checks the posts have the
correct format before approving them. It can also target a
specific poster's traffic for human moderator approval.

Subjects must be tagged either:
[PIC] for pictures
[REQ] for requests for others to draw pictures
(people replying with pictures change the tag to [PIC])
[DIS] for general ascii art related discussion and replies.
[ADMIN] for the moderator to post important information.

>> NOTE: Please read:-

>> for concise up-to-date list of permitted subject tags
>> and usage before posting.

The robo-mod also checks that the posts are in PLAIN TEXT only,
that line length is set to LESS than 80 characters UNLESS the
phrase [long lines] is in the BODY of the post, when the LIMIT
is then raised to 200 characters.

Cross-posting is permitted provided that:
o - it is to no more than three groups
o - the followup-to header is set to only one group.
Cross-posting to other moderated groups is NOT permitted.

[14] I have a picture and I would like it Asciified?
In this case, post a request to news:alt.ascii-art asking for
someone to `asciify' it, but
to save downloading time for people reading the messages,
if possible give the URL (Web address) of the picture instead.

If you saw the picture on a Web page, you can find out its URL by
right-clicking on it (on the Macintosh, right-clicking,
Ctrl-clicking, or holding down the mouse button) and selecting
`Open this image' (or its equivalent for your Web browser), then
copy the URL from the Location bar to your news program (make sure
you copy it exactly).

If the picture is not on a Web site anywhere, put it up on your own
site (if you have one), or get a friend to put it up on their site,
and post the URL to alt.ascii-art. If you can't do this, post your
request to the newsgroups and wait for someone to reply, then post
the picture to or e-mail to them.

[15] How do I convert a picture to ASCII art?
[15.1] programs:
There are computer programs available which convert graphics files
of a variety of formats (often GIF) to ASCII art. They go by names
such as ascgif, gifa, gifscii, and gif2ascii. Do a Web search for
any of these programs to find places where you can download them.

gopher:// <== new Many think that you just put a GIF into a converter program and out comes a perfect ASCII pic. Here are some things you can do to improve the chances of getting a good conversion:- o Use an 8 bit grey scale or color image instead of a 2 bit B&W. o Use an image with a wide, even distribution of tones. o Keep it simple, like a face or close-up of an object. o Avoid busy backgrounds. Generally avoid bright backgrounds. o Use an image that is tightly cropped, without a lot of waste. o Be prepared to quickly run through a series of conversions, you will probably not like 9 to 11 out of 12. o It helps to do touch-up work on the converted picture, concentrate on the focal points and important areas. [15.2] tracing: Another method is by tracing a picture, either onto clear-plastic and sticking it onto the screen then opening an editor to trace under or using an editor which allows the loading of a background image to trace over, a process known as `water-mark'. [15.3] image2html: There are computer programs and web-servers available which convert graphics files of a variety of formats (often GIF) to HTML colored TEXT art for use on web-pages. Do a quick search on your favourite web search-engine. ======================================================================== [16] How do I put ASCII art on a webpage? ======================================================================== HTML, the language used in Web pages, can display ASCII art using the "pre-formatted text" tags


like this:-

Ascii art on a webpage<br /> </tile><br /> </head><br /> <body></p> <pre> .----------------------------------------. : __ : : =='_)) __-:!:- (your ascii here) : : ,.' .' ))-:!:- : : ((_,' .'-:!:- : : ~^~~~^~~^~~~^~ : `----------------------------------------' </pre> <p> </body><br /> </html></p> <p> HTML can be used to add special effects such as colours, font size,<br /> and blinking text. For full instructions on how to do this see:-</p> <p></p> <p>========================================================================<br /> [17] What should I know about signature files?<br /> ========================================================================<br /> A signature file (or `sig' for short; not to be confused with the<br /> initials added to an ASCII picture) is a small, personalized text<br /> file which an e-mail or news program can add to the end of every<br /> message a person sends -- the equivalent of a letterhead for dead<br /> tree (paper) mail (or snail-mail). Usually it contains little more<br /> than the person's name, organization and e-mail address, maybe an<br /> inspirational quote of some sort and some people like to incorporate<br /> ASCII art into their signature files as well.</p> <p> _ _ _ _ _ _ ___ ___ |/ ____ |/<br /> | | | ___| | (_) | | __/ __| @~/ ,. ~@<br /> |_ _|___| |__| | .` | _|__ /_( __/ )_ Mike<br /> |_| |____|_|_|_|___|___/[Figlet] __U_/ Jittlov</p> <p> The lack of importance in relation to global warming, violence in<br /> society, and so on, can be the subject of heated arguments. To be<br /> brief, (almost) no-one will complain if your signature file is four<br /> lines long or fewer -- and it is quite possible to draw good ASCII<br /> pictures which are that small.<br /> _______________________________________________<br /> (@) (@) `) There are a lot of web-pages on this with )<br /> ^ < > ^ ( google search ascii sig. _______)<br /> === `----Richard James-----------------'</p> <p> Some e-mail/news programs don't allow you to have a signature file<br /> which is longer than four lines, while others just complain. Five or<br /> six lines may be acceptable, but any longer, and you're starting to<br /> take the risk that your signature will be longer than some of your<br /> e-mail messages; this wouldn't really make sense on paper, so it<br /> isn't really acceptable in cyberspace either. The exception is in<br /> messages posted to news:alt.ascii-art itself -- we're used to seeing<br /> long sigs, so we won't complain.</p> <p> -'*((,,.-'*((,,.-'*((,,.-'*((,,.-'*((,,.-'*((,,.-'*((,,.-</p> <p> But, no matter what the length of your signature, make sure it's<br /> fewer than 72 characters wide, otherwise it may end up a horrible<br /> mess (see Question 8).</p> <p>========================================================================<br /> [18] What is ascii-animation?<br /> ========================================================================<br /> An animated image produced by a sequence of changing ASCII pictures.<br /> The speed will depend on the system you are using.<br /> -----------------------------------------------------------------<br /> o o / _ o __| / |__ o _ o / o<br /> /| | / __o o | o/ o/__ / | /|<br /> / / | /) | ( /o / ) | ( / | / /<br /> -----------------------------------------------------------------<br /> Ascii-Animation transports vary a lot. The earliest known portable<br /> types used the Control-Codes of the (often .VT or .ANS) terminal<br /> screens for either `paging' or `direct cursor addressing'.<br /> Sometimes found as c-code in .sigs, which, when compiled and run<br /> produce moving patterns or images.<br /> -----------------------------------------------------------------<br /> o _ _ _<br /> _o /_ _ o (_)__/o (_)<br /> _< _ _>(_) (_)/<_ _| _|/' / (_)>(_) (_) (_) (_) (_)' _o_<br /> -----------------------------------------------------------------<br /> -Animation uses Java or Javascript.</p> <p> * To find out how to animate ASCII art using JavaScript, see:-<br /><br /></p> <p> * To find out how to animate ASCII art using Java, see:-<br /><br /></p> <p>========================================================================<br /> [19] What does ObAscii mean?<br /> ========================================================================<br /> ObAscii = Obligatory Ascii</p> <p> Obligatory: [adj] compulsory (of a ruling) having binding force</p> <p> Ascii: [slang] ascii-art picture</p> <p> A funny way to remind people to put a drawing in their post.</p> <p> This means an ascii in every post! (especially off-topic threads)<br /> Failure to comply can result in flaming! This implies that if you<br /> don't include an ascii in your post you deserve to get flamed!</p> <p> ====================================================================<br /> The concept of ObAscii has been around since the creation of the<br /> usenet group news:alt.ascii-art and it's purpose is to provide some<br /> on-topic content to an otherwise off-topic posting.</p> <p> ====================================================================<br /> *NOT* The 1st ever! ObAscii :<br /> ====================================================================<br /> From: Matthew Thomas<br /> Date: Thu, 08 Oct 1998 13:50:09 +1300<br /> Organization: University of (opinions are my own)</p> <p> ^<br /> ,' [snip - 3rd party flame ]<br /> L""/<br /> ` | BOLLOCKS!!!<br /> J |<br /> J L I am staying out of this as much as<br /> | | . , possible, Colin, because I really ...<br /> | | `v_L.'<br /> // ,>'--'_ :.<br /> `' - /-. [snip - rant/rave]<br /> / /`""| :.<br /> ),' `-<br /> ( ,-' Anyway, I think a lot of this<br /> ) ,' ,' h flaming would decrease if everyone<br /> / / / `)--.. was required to post a (different)<br /> / / <) obligatory ASCII pic in each message < , L<' -- at the very least, it would slow F/ _/ ,' the flames down. L ,-' | ___L So, to start the trend, here's my / ( F J ___,' L ObAscii: the Statue of Liberty. | ,' | F ,' | (_,--..__ mt-2|_ ,' `"`--.._ ,' / / (_ [snip - .sig of Matthew Thomas] ======================================================================== [20] The ASCII Art Rough-Guide to m$.Outlook? ======================================================================== Microsoft's Outlook Express program has a number of flaws, including * deleting spaces from the beginning of lines, and * inserting the word `file://' in unexpected places which make it very difficult when using it for ASCII art. Whether these are bugs or features we don't know and a registry patch to fix some of the flaws in Outlook Express is available from the ADA. ==================================================================== How to get rid of blue-lines in OE5: 1. Press the decode button twice when viewing a blue-struck image. Because, after ROT13, OE will not parse links and so 2 x ROT13 returns everything back to normal, but without the blue lines. 2. Create a button in your toolbar so you can do it quickly. In OE 5.5-6.0 the URL parsing code is slightly better and doesn't foul as many images as previous versions. ==================================================================== How to stop Ms.Outlook giving wrapped output or the ascii-art you are sending is wider than 72 characters: 1. Tools menu 2. Options 3. Send 4. Both of these Mail and News format 5. Plain text settings ____ 6. Automatically wrap text at |____| ==================================================================== How to set your Outlook Express 6 to view ASCII art correctly: 1. On the TOOLS menu, click OPTIONS 2. Select the READ tab 3. International settings 4. "Use default encoding for all incoming messages" [tick] 5. Set the FONTS to display as western european. set both the PROPORTIONAL font and FIXED-WIDTH font to LUCIDA CONSOLE, and FONT SIZE to SMALLER 6. Click OK, then OK again. ==================================================================== How to set your Outlook Express 5 to view ASCII art correctly: 1. On the TOOLS menu, click OPTIONS 2. Select the READ tab 3. Click the FONTS button near the bottom of the box 4. For the languages UNICODE, WESTERN EUROPEAN and USER DEFINED set both the PROPORTIONAL font and FIXED-WIDTH font to LUCIDA CONSOLE, and FONT SIZE to SMALLER 5. Click OK, then OK again. ==================================================================== How to set your Outlook Express 4 to view ASCII art correctly: 1. On the TOOLS menu, click OPTIONS 2. Select the READ tab 3. Click the FONTS button near the bottom of the box 4. For the languages UNIVERSAL ALPHABET, USER DEFINED and WESTERN set both the PROPORTIONAL font and FIXED-WIDTH font to LUCIDA CONSOLE, and FONT SIZE to SMALLER 5. Click OK, then OK again. ==================================================================== NOTE : If LUCIDA CONSOLE is not available as a font, pick another from the list of available FIXED-WIDTH fonts. Examples of fixed-width fonts 1. ANDALE MONO commonly available with 2. COURIER NEW 3. LUCIDA CONSOLE 4. LUCIDA SANS TYPEWRITER 5. OCR A EXTENDED If you have followed the above steps correctly, you should now be able to view and create ASCII art as it should be. ======================================================================== [21] Where do I find ASCII art pictures, tutorials and information? ======================================================================== There are a number of ASCII art Usenet groups:- news:alt.ascii-art news:alt.ascii-art.animation news:alt.ascii-art.endless.blabla news:rec.arts.ascii are English-speaking ones that are widely used. alt.ascii-art [original ASCII art discussion group] alt.ascii-art.animation [is about animating ASCII art] alt.ascii-art.endless.blabla [an off-topic follow-up troll-trap] [ASCII art sofware/image drop-zone] rec.arts.ascii [primary moderated ASCII art group] Lots of ASCII artists put up libraries of their own and others' ASCII art on their Web sites, as well as tutorials on how to draw ASCII art: The DMOZ Open Directory Project ASCII art sites: Allen Mullen has links to many of these sites at: The Ascii-Art Dictionary at: The Ascii-Art dot com at: The Ascii-Art Document Archive (address as listed in the header) There is an on-line panel of experts at: The ASCIItorium And webrings: Also IRCascii.8bit: ( (irc.efnet#ascii) </code></p> </div><!-- .entry-content --> <footer class="entry-meta"> <span class="cat-links"><span class="screen-reader-text">Categories </span><a href="" rel="category tag">ASCII Text Art</a>, <a href="" rel="category tag">Creative Fat Grrl</a></span><span class="tags-links"><span class="screen-reader-text">Tags </span><a href="" rel="tag">arts</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">ASCII</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">characters</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">computer</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">computers</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">creative arts</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">graphic</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">people</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">signature</a></span> </footer><!-- .entry-meta --> </div><!-- .inside-article --> </article><!-- #post-## --> <nav id="nav-below" class="paging-navigation"> <h6 class="screen-reader-text">Post navigation</h6> <div class="nav-previous"><span class="prev" title="Previous"><a href="" >Older posts</a></span></div> <div class="nav-links"><span class='page-numbers current'>1</span> <a class='page-numbers' href=''>2</a> <span class="page-numbers dots">…</span> <a class='page-numbers' href=''>5</a> <a class="next page-numbers" href="">Next →</a></div> </nav><!-- #nav-below --> </main><!-- #main --> </section><!-- #primary --> <div id="right-sidebar" itemtype="" itemscope="itemscope" role="complementary" class="widget-area grid-25 tablet-grid-25 grid-parent sidebar"> <div class="inside-right-sidebar"> <aside id="categories-3" class="widget inner-padding widget_categories"><h4 class="widget-title">Categories</h4> <ul> <li class="cat-item cat-item-11792"><a href="" >Animals</a> </li> <li class="cat-item cat-item-10"><a href="" title="Illustration: drawing, digital photography, doodling, cartooning, and graphic arts.">Art and Illustration</a> </li> <li class="cat-item cat-item-11518"><a href="" >ASCII Text Art</a> </li> <li class="cat-item cat-item-4628"><a href="" >Astrology and Personality Quizes</a> </li> <li class="cat-item cat-item-6209"><a href="" >BBW and BHM</a> </li> <li class="cat-item cat-item-7651"><a href="" >Birthday</a> </li> <li class="cat-item cat-item-8561"><a href="" >Books and Reading</a> </li> <li class="cat-item cat-item-5"><a href="" >Canadian</a> </li> <li class="cat-item cat-item-4610"><a href="" >Chandeliers</a> </li> <li class="cat-item cat-item-4600"><a href="" >Christmas</a> </li> <li class="cat-item cat-item-4611"><a href="" >Cooking and Baking</a> </li> <li class="cat-item cat-item-16"><a href="" title="Creative arts and crafts including sewing, drawing and writing. 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