Typewriter Art: Creating Pictures from Text

KeiraRathboneArt on Etsy.

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.

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