An ASCII art train for Illustration Friday.
I will get them added to the greeting cards and the text gallery. Here they are for tonight, putting them up before I give in to sleep.  A magazine asked for these, offered to pay, but didn't, so I'm not naming them here.
I Make my own ASCII Art. So Can You. 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.
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.
Created in 1998, when I was just getting into the ASCII Art newsgroup, this was the first ASCII art picture I finished. I thought it wasn't too bad. But I didn't like it. Other people in the group at the time, like Joan Stark, were making much better art. I remember many others but unless you were there at the time you won't know them. Take a look at my ASCII art now. I've been working on an ASCII Art Greetings site tonight. Over 125 images uploaded and sorted into categories so far. Still many others to be added. All of them are my own work.
[caption id="attachment_69" align="alignleft" width="260"] KeiraRathboneArt on Etsy.[/caption] Typewriter art could be read as making art using a typewriter (and it's parts), or making art by typing with a typewriter. In this case, it's about making art by typing on a typewriter. I don't know who the first typewriter artist was, or when they started. But, from what I have read, typewriters were invented in the 1860's. I could see someone getting the idea pretty early on. Maybe they smudged a line of text and noticed how well it spread, like making a picture. Typewriter art is like ASCII art (art created with the standard keyboard characters, usually digital/ computer based). Both typewriter and ASCII art use the keyboard characters which are visible on the keyboard layout. If you use the extra characters available it stops being ASCII art and becomes ANSI art. (See Wikipedia for more about ANSI art). Both typewriter and ASCII art make pictures out of keyboard text but, they are created differently and give different results. The big difference between typewriter art and ASCII art is not so much the typewriter itself, it's the fact that ASCII art doesn't smudge, there is no ink involved. (Unless someone prints the ASCII art, but that would be after it was created fully). Typewriter art uses all the elements of the typewriter. Artists working with a specific form of creating art will always learn the idiosyncrasies of their chosen element, typewriters (with their ink and typing ribbons) included. Not all typewriter art uses the technique of smudging the ink, that's just feature. I'm an ASCII artist, which is how I became interested in typewriter art, but I have not tried typewriter art myself. At least not deliberately. I am old enough to have used an old, manual typewriter. There was some art form going on there, even before the creation of Liquid Paper.

Keira Rathbone: Modern Typewriter Artist

A Few Typewriter Artists from the Past