Remembrance Day Poppy ASCII Text Art

I’ve made a few poppies for Remembrance Day. This year I want to make something different. I haven’t decided what it will be yet. But, it is the 100th year since the end of WWI. That’s something to work with.

Wearing the Remembrance Day Poppy with Purpose

It’s called Remembrance Day in Canada and takes place each November 11th. The eleventh day and the eleventh hour. We observe a moment of silence. Sometimes they specify a minute of silence, sometimes it’s a moment.

What do you think about while you give the moments of silence? Have your thoughts changed over the years? In school I didn’t know much about the whole thing. We had the facts but not the life experience to really know what it all meant. Later in life I began to understand loss, loss of life and loss of family and loss of fellow humans.

When I see the veteran’s on TV the loss of human life takes on a face. The survivors of each war have more to remember, the actual faces. But, in each of their faces you can see other faces, if you look.

Now the moment of silence has become fresh again. The war isn’t just something written about in history books and talked about by parents and other old people. It’s not so mysterious and unreal to people any more.

Yet we still have a distance from it all, less than the distance our Grandparents felt I think. The war is something happening overseas, even after 9/11 in New York City, the war is not something which directly touches us all. We watch it in the news. Sometimes we have a conversation about it and protest about it or support it, depending on our point of view.

What do you think about when you buy a poppy? Do you know what the donation for the poppy goes towards? It’s a good time to find out.

Remembrance Day Links

The Ode of Remembrance

They went with songs to the battle, they were young.
Straight of limb, true of eyes, steady and aglow.

They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,

They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning,

We will remember them.

Lest we forget.

How to Make ASCII Art Pictures with Keyboard Keys

Originally published to my HubPages account. Moved here.

I make ASCII art. I started in 1998 and I still take time to type out a picture now and then. Usually, the holidays inspire me to get creative with the keyboard. Making art is a nice change from using the keyboard to type out word and sentences.

Finding Notepad on a Windows Computer

Start -> All Programs -> Accessories -> Notepad

Click Start or the Windows graphic at the bottom left on your computer. This will pull up a list of programs. Select All Programs, so you can see everything. Then go to Accessories and find Notepad on that list. Open Notepad by clicking it.

Actually making ASCII art is simple and straight forward.

Start with an empty (clean, untouched) Notepad on your computer. In MS Windows this is a plain .txt (text) file. When you open this file you can tap your mouse on the empty space to set your keyboard cursor in the right place. Go down a few lines, use carriage returns. Then use the space bar to move the cursor out towards the middle of the page/ screen. This gives you a little working space above and to the side, so you don’t start typing on the first line, as if you were going to write. This time you’re going to make art and you want some space over and under your cursor. Consider this blank text file to be your canvas. Don’t be intimidated.

Look at your keyboard. Unless you have an old (faded and worn) keyboard (or use a language other than English) your keyboard should display everything you need right there. My own keyboard is a bit faded and worn for most of the letter characters – I’ve done a lot of touch typing. But, I know where things are. Still, it is easier to work with a keyboard that shows all the characters. If you want to start making ASCII art this could be a good reason to get a new keyboard, treat yourself.

Before you begin, have an idea of the picture you want to create.

I like to have a simple line drawing or clip art to work with. I often make my own doodle/ sketch if the idea has come from out of the blue, inspiration from my own mind. Having the drawing is a great help when it comes to actually creating a picture. I don’t see it as stealing art when I have a drawing from someone else. I am not copying it – but using a different medium to create my own vision, my own point of view of the original drawing. Trust me, my finished creation may not look much like the original once I’m done.

When you create art with the keyboard some things have to change in order to fit in with the text medium which you are using. For instance, you can’t put a line or a space exactly where you want one to appear. It has to be where the keyboard types it in. So you work with this and sometimes you can even make it work for you. Also, of course, you are working with the keyboard characters as they are. So you can’t make a J just a bit taller. You can’t make W thinner. You get the idea, or you soon will once you start working with all those characters.

Actually getting started is easy. You don’t need any extra supplies like paper or pens or guide books or whatever else you may imagine. A fresh coffee is nice, but that’s a personal touch.

Pick a place on your drawing/ sketch to start from. Look at the shape of the line.

The Shapes of Keyboard Characters

Does it have a curve?

) ( 6 9 C D c j S

Does it go straight up and down or does it lean?

| / \ l i L I : ; T t

Does it branch out?

Y V v U u W w K H X

Or is it a flat line?

_ – = +

Does it bend?

> < U N W R 7 2 ?

Maybe you want a circle?

O o () CD q p d b e

Do you need something high or low?

‘ , – ~ ` _

Do you want to make a dark space?

% & # @

As you type above and below your original work use the space bar and your mouse to move the cursor. You will need typed spaces in your work to line things up right.

When you begin typing in the next row of your picture start by moving the cursor to the spot that matches up with the work you have already done.

You can make an ASCII art picture in all sizes, from tiny to huge. But, start with something a bit smaller. Mainly, it’s just easier to work with something that isn’t sprawling across the whole screen. A small sized ASCII art picture is easier to see as a whole when you begin working on how all those keyboard characters will fit together to shape a whole, finished picture.

Struggling with Art on Online Stores

Note – Originally posted to Ululating Undulating Ungulate, in 2013.

I’m trying to make my ASCII art work for the online stores. So far I am sticking with working on Zazzle (recommended by a friend with many names) and CafePress (mostly because it’s been around a long time and I like the name). It is a very uphill battle. Each time I make some progress something else comes along to slow down the progress. Sadly, I only have one image showing on CafePress though I have loaded it with 5 or 6 on products. There is that small difference of loading up images (which was the simple part) and then getting the images on products which is turning out to be the tricky part. With Zazzle there are ever more tricky parts and my patience is pretty thin with them right now.

Of course, this is not where the story began. First, before I could make even this much progress, I had to adapt my art. ASCII art is not high resolution like a photograph, so I had to find a way to change that. A few weeks later I found the solution, thanks to an obscure video on YouTube which I have not been able to find twice. That’s an adventure I will write more about on my ASCII Artist blog for those who really want to know the details. Basically, it worked!

CafePress liked most of my newly resolutioned images. Half of them were not the 600 x 600 standard though. So I went back to the drawing board, sort of literally. I opened up my old, trusty MS FrontPage Image Editor (that’s not the actual, legal name) and I cut and patched something together to make it the right size. That worked. So, except for the fact that only one image is showing up on CafePress, I am happy with CafePress. The store looks nice. However, the lack of products actually showing up is a pretty large issue.

Also, today, I noticed the store index is not really working either. On the main page I can see products for greeting cards but if you click the index it goes into denial. So, even though CafePress was less headaches to load up images and products to sell and I did finally find a widget for my store to add to the blog (not by searching CafePress) I may eventually have to dump CafePress for lack of functionality. In shorter words, it’s not working.

Zazzle’s two main problems are that it screws up the images in between the process of loading them and placing them on products. I don’t know if it does this with photos being placed on products, it may just be a text art problem. It is a pretty big problem as it means all the time I spend uploading the image and fussing over getting it all working on the product was time I could have spent having a hot shower, making fresh coffee, or just about anything else which could have been even slightly productive.

The other Zazzle problem is being forced to decide and categorize everything. Not just the image but each individual product. How do I know what occasion someone might want to send someone else a coffee mug with an ASCII art lighthouse?… Also, just finding a category for lighthouse took far more time and patience than I was enjoying.

So, chances are I will be off and adventuring into other online stores like ArtFire and the odd other which I have found in my wandering. I just want something that works, it doesn’t have to be rich and famous.