Text Art to Get your Fingers Typing

Text art includes: ASCII art, ANSI art, typographic art, typewriter art, emoticons and Twitter art. They are all based on keyboard characters, more or less.

Text art includes more than ASCII art. But, ASCII art will come up first and be the largest part of the search results when you look up text art online.

The Text Mode blog on Tumblr has a mix of text art forms and techniques. It’s worth looking through the current posts and the archives too. There’s also a Pinterest account.

On Flickr I found a Text group with all kinds of art involving text. Another group for Text as Art.

What is Text Art?

ASCII Art

ASCII artists use the standard keyboard characters (if you have to use more than the shift key to type them they are not ASCII art characters) to create pictures (images/ graphics). This means artists who use more than the standard ASCII art characters are creating ANSI art.

ANSI Art

Artists have more flexibility with ANSI art because there are a variety of extended characters and colours which give far more options than ASCII art. It’s funny how ASCII art is still hanging around and is better known than ANSI art.

Typewriter Art

Typewriter art is easy to understand. Take away the computer keyboard and put an old fashioned typewriter down in front of yourself instead. Use the typewriter ribbon to add more effects to the art you create. You can smudge the ink, for instance. You can also hold the paper as you type and move it where you want to type, exactly. This means you can type one character halfway over another – easily done with the old typewriter.

Twitter Text Art

Twitter text art is a version of ANSI art. But, like Japanese ASCII art, it is dependent on which computer, software and operating system you are using. Not all keyboards, systems and languages work alike. These differences bring variety to ASCII/ ANSI text art and this difference is also use for creating text art which works on Twitter.

Emoticons/ Smileys

Emoticons are another simple form of text art, easily explained. You may have seen them as smileys/ smilies. Text art created to show expression and mood in the flat communication of email and online forums and chats. 🙂 The basic emoticon, with the nose in the middle. Confused or don’t see the face? Then tip your head to the left and use some imagination.

Typographic Text Art

Last of all are the typographic text art. These can have a variety of styles. But, they are all formed from text (assorted fonts) and created in a graphics program, like Gimp. Typographic art is the closest thing to being a cross over between ASCII/ ANSI art and typewriter art. If more artists got into this and really thought about how far it can be taken we would have some very creative and unique graphic arts text art.

ASCII Art

Typewriter Text Art

Fonts that Work with ASCII Text Art

ascii art fontsMaking ASCII Art with Fixed Width, Sans-Serif Fonts.

I’ve been making ASCII art since 1998. I’m a great fan of the FixedSys font. It is a monospace font which works very well for illustrating with text. The individual characters are plain and straight up and down, without many flourishes. (Plain fonts, without flourishes are called sans-serif). FixedSys is also a text which displays on the dark side. This is nice compared to some monospace fonts which give a very light, thin display.

However, Windows Vista was the first new computer I bought where I noticed the FixedSys font is missing. I looked for it, tried other font options, but was not really happy. So I went online to see what people were writing about it.

I now know that FixedSys has been given an upgrade of sorts and is now known as Consolas. I found Consolas and gave it a try. It is nice, smoother than the old FixedSys. But, I am a bit of a traditionalist, loyal to whatever I liked first.

While searching I found the font called FixedSys Excelsior. It is like the old fashioned FixedSys but it is less smooth than the new Consolas font. You can see a pretty drastic difference in the two fonts when I show them in an ASCII art illustration of the Canadian flag.

Monospaced Fonts to Try

 

A Simple Way to Colour your ASCII Text Art

dark ASCII smileyOne downside of creating ASCII art is the lack of colour. We type it into plain text and plain text comes out black on white. It’s pretty plain that way.

For most ASCII art that is fine. It keeps it simple. The focus is the art, the way it was created, rather than making it prettied up just for the sake of being prettier.

However, you can easily bring colour to ASCII art.

You will need:

  • your ASCII art picture (of course)
  • an HTML editor (or text editor with font and colour features)
  • a screen capture software
  • an HTML colour guide (not essential)

First, open the HTML editor. (I actually use Composer with Sea Monkey). Cut and paste your ASCII art into it. Make sure it shows right, change the font as necessary. You can even try a few fonts and see which gives you the look you prefer. My favourite is still FixedSys but Consolas comes in a close second.

ASCII Canadian flagNext, highlight your ASCII art and use the HTML editor to colour the text. This is just what you would do if you were changing the colour of a text sentence, quote or paragraph in a written post. Any HTML or text editor that lets you change the font and colour of your text will work. If not, try another one, there are lots of good, free HTML and text editors.

When your ASCII art is highlighted bring up your screen capture. (I use KSnapshot). Before you capture the image check the position of your cursor. Make sure it’s not in the picture, literally. (I still do this once in a while and have to take a second screen capture to fix it). When you’re ready, take the screen capture of the ASCII art and turn it into an image file. If you have a choice, the .png file tends to give best results.

That’s it! Of course this makes the image all one colour. If you want to make the image a light colour, change to a dark background colour. You can spend time and effort on doing more. I don’t usually. I like to keep it simple and not spend more time colouring the ASCII art than I did in creating it.

Pentacles for Pagans

ASCII Text Art: Pentacles for Pagans.

I created the above article for HubPages. While working on it I found two great pentacle designs, one with a tree of life and the other with a dragon. I’d be tempted to buy the dragon one especially if I shopped on Amazon. Not having a credit card has saved me from a lot of online shopping. Instead I am passing along the images and you can get the link in the HubPages post if you want to be the online shopper yourself  Meanwhile, I will just be a pentacle window shopper.

dragonpentagram

treepentacle

Nude Men in ASCII Art

I recently posted Naked Ladies in ASCII Art. While working on that post I found several very nice ASCII art creations with nude and scantily clad men. It seems only right to give the men a post too.

Why does it seem more daring to post nude/ naked men than nude/ naked women? Have you noticed how often a woman is shown mostly nude or fully nude in movies and on TV and yet the most they ever dare to show (when it comes to men) are their butts?

Seems unfair. But, unfair to the men or unfair to the women? Unfair to the people watching or the people who would rather not see quite so much?

When the ASCII art group (now on Google Groups) were active some of the men would post nude women in ASCII Art. They would also post nude men, to balance things out a bit. Plus, we had a mixed group in age, sex and viewpoints. The ASCII art naked men were posted with light humour. Sometimes the post of one or two would lead to tweaking of the original images, adding better versions, more features or just getting silly. Nude ASCII art was fun and I don’t think I ever saw the more sensual art posted to the ASCII art groups. But they were not very hard to find online.

Links to Naked Men in Text Art