ASCII Art

Making 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

 
Most ASCII artists will tag their ASCII creation with their initials. This is not just about signing your art, it shows who created the art - the original artist. If someone else colours the art, or modifies it in any other way, the artist initials need to be kept with it. Anyone modifying art can add their initials and a note about what they had done to the original art. Include a link to where you found the art, if not a link to the original artist themselves. This is what the Respect ASCII Artist's Campaign is about. The ASCII art is available to be enjoyed, used and shared. But, give respect to the original artist and leave their initials on the work.

ASCII computersAn emoticon is a terrible thing to waste.

Emoticons (aka smileys) are fun, easy and add a lightness to any email or forum posts. When you want to add emotion, feelings or mood to your typed words you can just slip in an emoticon. :) They're so simple to make, to remember and no-fuss. Of course, some times we use a few too many. Sometimes we forget we aren't typing a personal email and send an emoticon to the wrong person. Sometimes we send emoticons to people who just don't like cute little text smileys. Then, there are the times we look back at the email we just sent and notice how many of those smileys are in there. Too much of a good thing is still too much of a good thing. If you find yourself overindulging in emoticons - start cutting back.

Are you an Emoticon Use Abuser?

Not sure how many emoticons are too many? Ask the people you send your email to. Ask the people who read your posts on forums. (If you use an emoticon with every sentence you type - that's really too much). You find you also type a lot of other Internet shorthand, like LOL and ROFL. Consider why you use so many smileys. Do you really need to explain or emphasize everything you write? Chances are the smileys have become a habit and you've forgotten how much simpler and uncluttered your text could be without them.

How to Control your Emoticon/ Smiley Addiction

Stop using smileys in emails or forums where you don't know everyone well. Friends are more likely to enjoy the more personal styled communication. Skip the smiley and actually write about your feelings and thoughts. Don't leave people guessing or making assumptions. You may even find yourself connecting much better with people once you stop relying on smiley faces to tell them how you feel. Instead of finding new and creative smileys to use, stick with just a few and use them sparingly. Standard emoticons like :) :D and :P should be plenty. Plus, these are standard enough for the average person to know rather than needing a special education on emoticons. Replace the emoticons with something else. Go back to punctuation like exclamations points, question marks and dashes. But, don't over use these either. One per sentence is enough. Avoid emoticons and smileys when you have to write (or reply to) an email with any kind of bad news or a review of a person, product or service. You need to be professional at times like this and emoticons will not give that professional, competent impression of you. One way to really stop yourself from over using emoticons is to remove them as a type of Internet shorthand. When you type a smiley follow it with a description in brackets. For instance :) (smile face). This will slow you down and help you see just how often you really are using emoticons.
ASCII artistBest viewed in a fixed width font. My favourite are FixedSys or Consolas. The ASCII art gallery files open as plain text (.txt files). If you can't see them (if they look messed up) change the font you are viewing them with. Please respect the artist. Leave the artist credit, initials (mine are ldb), on each of the images. Thank you, enjoy the ASCII art.
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. http://www.zazzle.ca/happy_easter_card-137519352859164332 - 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.
WRT: Writer Response Theory
WRT is a blogging collective dedicated to the discussion and exploration of digital character art - any art involving electrons and making use of letters, alphanumerics, or other characters in an interesting way. Our primary focus is on active and interactive works, in which users input text and receive textual responses as output.
They have a category just for ASCII art. Heister's Digital Art