Note - This was originally posted to a friend's site in 2011. Her site is down now. I’ve been working with ASCII Art again this year. It’s been awhile since I was active in the old ASCII art groups or wrote about it for WZ.com as a newsletter. I can’t even find a mention of my ASCII art section with the Wayback for WZ.com. Anyway, too long ago to keep track of I guess. ASCII art itself is considered pretty old fashioned in the evolving world of online art/ digital illustration. I miss it. Those days before HTML email and Flash on websites. ASCII art gave the Internet images without clogging up the loading speed for email or web pages. It was nice. The irony is that we have so much faster speeds now but it really doesn’t load much faster than I remember from 10 years ago with a 14K modem. The bloated files slow it down. ASCII art is basically keyboard art, text art, created with the characters on the standard computer keyboard. The letters, numbers and range of punctuation available at the touch of your fingertips. Some people use more characters and create ANSI art. I’ve always felt that was a bit of a cheat, adding more characters takes away the challenge of sticking to the limits set by the keyboard. Back when IRC (Internet Relay Chat) was popular people used the ASCII Art to add images to their lines of chat. Using some Java and some HTML they created ASCII pictures in colour. The downside was that they used ASCII art, coloured it and then claimed it as their own work. This caused friction between the original artists and the colourists. The artists didn’t want their work reclaimed, with the artist initials removed (forgotten). The colourists said they just wanted to make pretty pictures. Of course, I’m a bit biased. ASCII art began with typewriters, before the computer age. If you search online you can find some examples for typewriter art. I’ve been using my own ASCII Art (old and new) as well as the art of others on my blog, Word Grrls.
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.
It's confusing looking but it needs to be bigger than stick figure sized to make it work out better. At least that is my conclusion for tonight.
This article was originally published at HubPages, my account there.
Do you remember the day you first saw someone type :) or (the longer version with a nose) :-) ? I do. It wasn't 30 years ago, more like 16 years and a couple of months ago. I started online in the summer of 1996. I was an IRC (Internet Relay Chat) diva. Talking online, using a sort of bulletin board which was live over the Internet. Not a lot of people still use the IRC these days. It was lots of fun at the time. I really began seeing emoticons when I became an active member of the ASCII art newsgroups. We didn't stop at simple smileys and emoticons though. ASCII art is pictures created with standard keyboard characters. I've been making ASCII art since 1998. See my ASCII art gallery,
The Emoticon Turns 30 on September 19th, 2012.
September 19th 2012 is 30 Years of Smileys!
If you have never created an emoticon - do it! Some people think emoticons are dorky, too retro, too silly. No doubt there are lists of reasons you can find (or create) for not using an emoticon in your email or online comments, etc. But, emoticons are still the best way we have to include emotional direction into our typed out text. Online, no one can see you smile Someone reading your email can't really tell if you are cracking a joke, being serious, being sarcastic or just being a jerk. Emoticons give the essential information as to the tone and meaning behind your commentary. Emoticons are important tools for people who like to be snarky but don't really want to offend or upset others. Emoticons are great for the other side too - when you want someone to know you're serious and feeling pretty ticked off too. Your words and language may be polite but one angry emoticon can let them know you're just being polite.
I didn't find more than one betta fish group in Canada when I was fixing up the category at Curlie. But, it inspired me to create a betta fish in ASCII art. We used to have them when I was a kid. They looked so sad (near death) in the pet stores. They didn't live to an old age in our fish tank but at least they had more fish for company and they looked a lot healthier.