Start by looking down at your keyboard. The typical keyboard has every character (letter and punctuation mark) that you need to make your own ASCII art. Anything not already on that keyboard is not used for ASCII art. If you use extra characters you’re making ANSI art.
Always work in a font which is a fixed width. Notepad, the Windows defaul text editor runs on a fixed width font. I always use a basic, simple text editor when I’m making ASCII art. Even now using Linux, there is a plain text editor.
First, decide what you actually want to create. I like to have a sketch I’ve done myself or find some clip art online to guide me while I work. Whatever works to give a plan, a simple outline – it does help.
Use your own keyboard as an aid to figuring out what will work for the shapes you need for your design/ picture. If you work on something small you’re going to need to be pretty specific with the shapes you pick. So, try something a litle larger in size. This gives you leeway to create shapes with several characters rather than just one. (This will make more sense once you are actually started).
When you’re pretty happy with your creation, don’t forget the final touch – your artist initials! Mine are ldb.
You Can Get Fancy with Your ASCII Art
Add colour, make it bigger, change the whole style of it even.
Change to another fixed width font and you can alter the look of your ASCII art. I prefer FixedSys font but it’s not available with every text editor. Try other fonts, like Consolas and Dark Courier. Some of them will give you thinner lines. Some will use shorter lines. You can see the difference a font makes in the Canadian flag illustration.
Use an HTML editor to resize your ASCII art and add colour to it. This even lets you change the background dark and your ASCII art can be light on the dark. You will need a screen capture software to save your image from the HTML editor screen. You can try various other options but this is what I’ve found works best for me.
I use Kompzer as an HTML editor (it runs with Linux).
Now Put your ASCII Art on Your Blog/ Site
I’ve seen people post guides to making ASCII art. Most of them have never actually made any ASCII art. They may have used software to create something, but that’s not the same. It isn’t hard to make ASCII art, don’t cop out with software. Try DIY first. Of course, you won’t be an expert on your first try – so try again and then take some time away from it and come back for another try on the same image/ picture.
Look at tutorials and guides, look at ASCII art created by other people, keep trying it.
Put your creations up online. Let other people see them. Chances are they will be far less hard on your work than you will yourself.
Try formatting the ASCII art but if that isn’t working just turn it into an image file and post it like any other jpg, gif or png file.