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3. Everything / Maths, Science & Technology / Computers

ASCII Art

Everybody will have seen and used the ubiquitous one line smileys, but there is far more to ASCII art, for example this Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy logo by Joan Stark (jgs):


   , ; ,   .-'"""'-.   , ; ,
   \\|/  .'         '.  \|// 
    \-;-/             \-;-/ 
    // ;               ; \\ 
   //__; :.         .; ;__\\ 
  `-----\'.'-.....-'.'/-----'
         '.'.-.-,_.'.'
 jgs       '(  (..-'
             '-'

ASCII art is art 'drawn' using the characters of the ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange) character set. Specifically ASCII art uses only these characters:


032 [space] 048 0       064 @       080 P       096 `       112 p
033 !       049 1       065 A       081 Q       097 a       113 q
034 "       050 2       066 B       082 R       098 b       114 r
035 #       051 3       067 C       083 S       099 c       115 s
036 $       052 4       068 D       084 T       100 d       116 t
037 %       053 5       069 E       085 U       101 e       117 u
038 &       054 6       070 F       086 V       102 f       118 v
039 '       055 7       071 G       087 W       103 g       119 w
040 (       056 8       072 H       088 X       104 h       120 x
041 )       057 9       073 I       089 Y       105 i       121 y
042 *       058 :       074 J       090 Z       106 j       122 z
043 +       059 ;       075 K       091 [       107 k       123 {
044 ,       060 <       076 L       092 \       108 l       124 |
045 -       061 =       077 M       093 ]       109 m       125 }
046 .       062 >       078 N       094 ^       110 n       126 ~
047 /       063 ?       079 O       095 _       111 o

... plus the carriage return. It is intended to be viewed in a fixed width font, such as Courier, FixedSys, or Monaco. If the pictures in this entry appear mangled or squashed, then you need to change the 'fixed width' font on your browser. If the following lines are the same length, then it is set correctly:


iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii
mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

Why so many restrictions? They exist so that anybody on any computer system can view the art pretty much as the artist intended. Relatives of ASCII art with different restrictions are less universal: ANSI art ('Extended ASCII') uses a larger character set, but unfortuntely the extra characters can vary between computer systems. HTML art tends to encompass ASCII art but includes colours, flashing sections of text etc, all of which may not translate well.

In any case, restrictions are not always a bad thing - as in many areas of art, working in a restricted field forces one to explore the available resources to the fullest, and can lead to surprising results. ASCII art is one of the most restricted media, and perhaps the closest to being 'finite'. There are only so many ways to combine the characters, to the extent that some very small pictures may even have been independently created more than once by different people.

History

The first uses of text to create pictures (unless you count hieroglyphs) were to shape the words of a poem or other passage of text into a picture; Lewis Carroll being one of the first to do this in Alice in Wonderland (1865). The printing press made this feasible. The invention of the typewriter, and later radio teletype (RTTY) led to art closer to today's ASCII art - creating a picture 'in its own right' from the characters, rather than shaping written text. The rise of the Internet, with Bulletin Board Systems (BBS), Multi-User Domains (MUDs), email, newsgroups, and later the Web, provided further areas in which ASCII art could develop.

Uses

Today ASCII art is still created and used in many of the above media. Particularly, in newsgroups and email, ASCII art is used for diagrams and signatures. A program, called Figlet, has been written that takes a string of text (for example your name) and returns it in ASCII art, in any of a number of 'fonts'. For example:


 _      ____          ____  
| |__  |___ \   __ _ |___ \ 
| '_ \   __) | / _` |  __) |
| | | | / __/ | (_| | / __/ 
|_| |_||_____| \__, ||_____|
               |___/         

or even:


 __            ___                  ___     
/\ \         /'___`\              /'___`\   
\ \ \___    /\_\ /\ \     __     /\_\ /\ \  
 \ \  _ `\  \/_/// /__  /'_ `\   \/_/// /__ 
  \ \ \ \ \    // /_\ \/\ \L\ \     // /_\ \ 
   \ \_\ \_\  /\______/\ \____ \   /\______/
    \/_/\/_/  \/_____/  \/___L\ \  \/_____/ 
                          /\____/           
                          \_/__/             

The newsgroup for ASCII art, alt.ascii-art, covers not only email signatures and pictures, but also cartoons, and even abstract art.

Styles

There are two main styles of ASCII art, 'solid' and 'line'. Artists tend to stick primarily to one or the other, as they require different sorts of techniques, though occasionally both styles are used, even in the same picture.

Solid Style

This style uses the relative 'heaviness' of the characters as shading on the picture, for example a sequence from light to dark might use characters: , : ; S % #. A disadvantage of solid style is that a picture can look very different when viewed in black text on white background if the picture was designed for white text on black background (or vice versa).

A technique often used in solid style art is 'anti-aliasing' for defining edges more precisely than the given size of each character. For example, a 'b' could be used in place of an '8' if a similar shading was required, but the top right of that square isn't supposed to be part of the shaded area.

Solid style art is almost exclusively large in terms of the number of characters used. Solid style gains with shading, but the price paid is in the amount of detail possible in small areas of text. Small details tend to get swamped by characters used for shading - solid style works by seeing a character as almost just a brightness, and the actual shape of the character is usually irrelevant to the picture beyond anti-aliasing.

Some examples:

Statue of Liberty (artist unknown):


                 ,:
               ,?}'
             =!J |
           ,*-. ?&
           WP) Y9P
          YP   ,W'
         ,W)  ,WW.'
         WW) ,WWW)
         7W),WWWW'
         `WWWWWW'
          9---W)
      ,,--WPL=YXW===
     (P),CY:,I/X'F9P
     WUT===---/===9)
     -HP+----Y(C=9W)
      '9Y3'-'-OWPT-
       'WWLUIECW
        (:7L7C7'
       ,P--=YWFL
       Y-=:9)UW:L
       3-'9=WU/.7
      ,WP9HTFUW'()
       9W7W))UF 9)
       7WYW))PW W
        7WH)),WC)
         7L--/XY)
         9+-,KY7)
         W9-Y3+7)
         W'=9WI7)
        ,W  '-YY)
         W    ::W                ,
        ,T     :X)              ()
        ()     '9W  'L.         ()         ,-
        (C     =:9   '9L        ()        ,T
        ()    ,,-7)    7WL      WW      ,F'
        ()    , T9)     '9WL    --    ,YF
        ()    '-/(W       -==+PE9P7===O)          -,
        'W, ,  T+/WX=L-. ,WP+()+3L3,),=WL  --==-T-
         7)    -,YW '-=9WPL+PT-- ':--L/=9WP=-'
         'W-,.-,++W.   WWHP    ,,-/  .9CP3)
          W  --':-9:7=9W-T ,-=FT''=++,(TFYW=====---,
          W    .-='/.  7W-,WE=--,,=-:9H=9W""~~~~~~'
          ()   ':'/Y,  (L-9PXWWW,YWWX,(U3C
          9' ,,::/Y,/,  7LW+'-'7)()-'(MWW)
       ,,-/:',T,'-:',) ,3WWW, .Y=W'.(+WPW)
      ,F=T:9/:':C' /W),WMW9PO),m-+--9+WYW)
     ,3Y:/--.'-,',F=FHWWE/LMWU.'--X3CWW(WL
     YP:/:' -/'-Y-,W-T)9X,WCWWWX=WWWW39/OW
     7WF:=,/:-:P:,P(-'))PWWHYT79WWWHPW0W7W'
     'WU7C-:=-=-C9'WF,):):H7L   '7CI7WEXP'
      7L-,Y==3F:::,=,:-/,'P=.,  ':79UWEW)
      'WEW9P=/,)/ -:,P: / L7:'-=,-+YMWWW)
       'W)+=T,T()/-,F,,,),)  ',.-+(L=W9WW.
        '+C/:I'''',P:''/ '  ''9.  == '-'7-
         (W-+'. ,YF )/:'      ')-. ,-:FX-L
         'WM/',/CP /,:'    ..:)  ,T','/: 'W,
          W--,YXT /'')   ,P=-/',P'  '(:'  'W,
          (WEXWF Y' ,)  ,/'-,,YT    ///  ,,'W.
         ,WWWWT,,' .Y:/.',,-,=',- ,YY(). +3,W)
         WFXF:,'P ,,)/  ,',P',,- ,FI,))) I3'W)
         -HP,X'',/ '  ,/,/' ,/',,P3'I(:) W) W)       /=+=,
          9WY).,/'  ,/'-'   ,-=9-/'Y'((',W) PW      /'  '-==L,
          'WY,'    ,/,P   ,YP- C/',',)( (W'(WW.    /'       '7==L.
           ()'    /:/' ,,WT'  3F',' /)W (W (K()   /'   .        '7X
           ()   ,P,P',)T=:- ,WP'.' ,P,T (W (-9L ,Y)' ,X//, .    Y:P
          ,F   ,F,',--,/:' ,+P' '  Y):) (E' YHWLWT)-''-9/',-' ,,,WF
         ,P.,P,)-3-- ,-,' ,WF.    ,Y (' (L-WCTWEW30V-/',:'=/P+E7WF
         W- Y,P/C)',Y',' ,WT      Y) :  (P-=Y:UW9CX)3-=- ,W:9/PXXW.
        /T./:P/)' ,P',' YW-      ,P'',  9M).())WTHW3,C'  9C9='W3WW)
       ,EPOP/YR. /F ,',/W)       /'  :  (W)'W979WO0=WC:,..9LPXWWP-
       3H:WL-R' /' /' /WF       ,) ,,   (U'(HW=WWXO:--:,:'(W=WWF'
      ,WLWWWI:,F' /-'3WF '      Y  ) ,  (),T(0)WO9YPL.' ',WP=='
        --YWX-F  Y',WWT' :':   (' ()7)  (MT: WP)3C)-''  3C'
            WF  /' YW--,  ,    Y  W (),YM+C' 9+I3UV:' .YP'
           (T  3',H3-.. ,..  .,) ,) ()F-=T-. (0,9L,'  /P'
           ,W Y' 33P  .  /    Y  Y) (Y' R,:  7)Y+-),,=W'
           /',F.,W)     ,,.' ,) ,W) +)  3),  (WT9XW=3P'
          /F:T.:WF.  '..:'   :' (W. 7) '=),  'WT7WWP '
         ,P,F''WF  . , :-': ,)  YC../) 'HY.   WP0WC'
        ,P:9::YP   '  '('   :   W) .W)  +3)   9TLWC
        (P/Y(,P' ... '':, .,)  ,W) :3)  X+.   WFUW)
        'WW),I','  .., =  ':  ,O+' ,W'  )9,   99U()
         7W,='.,' ' :.'. . '  ,W)  =3   )+.  ,OH:O)
         'L,F,: '. :C::' '    (W)  9W   7+    'H,:L
          7W'++: .. ,':' '    YT   Y).  :-.    XU:W
          (T':,''','','       3'  ,-)   ,-'    77XW
          (W),J.-:/-:))'      P   )9)   :,Y  .  T,9)
          (WUI:TY:,,,:,      /' ,- W)   YC:     9/7)
          (U),-:-''.'=      (:,F' (W)   ,Y.     3=:L
           (),:::',)/'    ,,F9W'  YW)   /L.    .7=9W,
           (LUL-L.T-'.' ,WXM(W)   3W)   'U.     ,)-W
           3X=((:,' ' ,WMWF-(+'   WW'   '=,'    ,ICW
          ,T)=)K-=':-WPIWP':,:   ,WW    +/, ..' :+,9)
          Y):LX:.:=EHR,PU:'/''   (WW    I:=, .,-9CO)
          ()-+,,HPT+C:W9= ,)'    /WT'   T.: --PCXCKF'
          7LIHTP+OY3LW'3:,L..    WW)    ,,(W('MX'WT'
           7T,I-:XF:WF(: ,)    ':WWT  ,=PT:T(AY) W
           (PWW)W3=/P,P  ,     ,'WW),YP,WH,)Y)TWX9)
           3)OWRE)-YUY'... '  ..(WWXWW)9W+C)WUP9P3'
          ,WTHEF:LOP:W ' ,.   ,:(WPY(W,(P::)W(P3+)
          (P3WF/:WM:() :.:      (WHY)39HC'U()(W,W)
          (LW9/CWY-,E'  ,'     'YPL/T:WP:,(()3Y W)
          (TLUEEP=7W+.,:)       -P-:,PWT.:Y()() W+
          (EP/30-OAT .'3  . . . .C,P):WP Y)()3C:PW
          (PWMH:FXW'',-(, '   ',97WMU(7: )LW W .WW
          (WOWF-7EP)-X3., , ,,WP+WYY+YW' )WW 3 .W7)
           9W93UOY):.)/.- :YWCWU-EIMC)E (-WP + ,WW'
           (XWYUWY.,:'.,,YE3-7WE3WXV(UT,( W),T =P'
           (PT709),)C:/FY9)T.(W9YHL/Y(C T,W)') W.
           (+UTYH-:-=C-(P(-).WWF3:))3(U))(W)() P'
           3P7Y3)/'XP:)WP(J. WXCWKV:)()))(W'U)()
           7OLY3',H9),YW'F ),W)CT)/Y((-))'W,U)()
           7F=T-/T(=)A3C,)3)(WA()=)TY(CY'YWY(::)
           W9C=()L/3,9'/('Y,YWU(XE/))()E.YT)3:)L
           W=P:F:(,)),,'F'/:WP+3OY':)(R+ /T,T')W
        -=WRHX9C9-W'=,),)'A,A)XW779EXWK+.()3W),(,
      ,W=-'L,,XX)/)+'I 3)39I(UHE-+LX39TWH/LUP)(H)
     ,P:. ,-90/,(F0'/:,W //'(YOC':--YY3/IRW'9LT')
     3W=:Y:-F.)Y:/''Y /O.=:,WL9) ,. ,.79=9PL'9(-W,
     WWWWWWWPT:,::/'-WH=9',P=-W3XU3-,W=YL-O3-O)X9WL
      -7T--''=9W==W=9WWHW====''P======='---=T==F==9)

Mona Lisa, by Allen Mullen. This is designed for viewing in light text on a dark background. Depending on your browser, you may be able to drag a selection over the picture to view it in inverse. Alternately, you could view this entry in Classic Goo.


!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!>''''''<!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!'''''`             ``'!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!''`          .....         `'!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!'`      .      :::::'            `'!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!'     .   '     .::::'                `!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!'      :          `````                   `!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!        .,cchcccccc,,.                       `!!!!!!!!!!!!
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!     .-"?$$$$$$$$$$$$$$c,                      `!!!!!!!!!!!
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!    ,ccc$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$,                     `!!!!!!!!!!
!!!!!!!!!!!!!    z$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$;.                    `!!!!!!!!!
!!!!!!!!!!!!    <$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$:.                    `!!!!!!!!
!!!!!!!!!!!     $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$h;:.                   !!!!!!!!
!!!!!!!!!!'     $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$h;.                   !!!!!!!
!!!!!!!!!'     <$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$                   !!!!!!!
!!!!!!!!'      `$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$F                   `!!!!!!
!!!!!!!!        c$$$$???$$$$$$$P""  """??????"                      !!!!!!
!!!!!!!         `"" .,.. "$$$$F    .,zcr                            !!!!!!
!!!!!!!         .  dL    .?$$$   .,cc,      .,z$h.                  !!!!!!
!!!!!!!!        <. $$c= <$d$$$   <$$$$=-=+"$$$$$$$                  !!!!!!
!!!!!!!         d$$$hcccd$$$$$   d$$$hcccd$$$$$$$F                  `!!!!!
!!!!!!         ,$$$$$$$$$$$$$$h d$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$                   `!!!!!
!!!!!          `$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$<$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$'                    !!!!!
!!!!!          `$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$"$$$$$$$$$$$$$P>                     !!!!!
!!!!!           ?$$$$$$$$$$$$??$c`$$$$$$$$$$$?>'                     `!!!!
!!!!!           `?$$$$$$I7?""    ,$$$$$$$$$?>>'                       !!!!
!!!!!.           <<?$$$$$$c.    ,d$$?$$$$$F>>''                       `!!!
!!!!!!            <i?$P"??$$r--"?""  ,$$$$h;>''                       `!!!
!!!!!!             $$$hccccccccc= cc$$$$$$$>>'                         !!!
!!!!!              `?$$$$$$F""""  `"$$$$$>>>''                         `!!
!!!!!                "?$$$$$cccccc$$$$??>>>>'                           !!
!!!!>                  "$$$$$$$$$$$$$F>>>>''                            `!
!!!!!                    "$$$$$$$$???>'''                                !
!!!!!>                     `"""""                                        `
!!!!!!;                       .                                          `
!!!!!!!                       ?h.                                         
!!!!!!!!                       $$c,                                       
!!!!!!!!>                      ?$$$h.              .,c                    
!!!!!!!!!                       $$$$$$$$$hc,.,,cc$$$$$                    
!!!!!!!!!                  .,zcc$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$                    
!!!!!!!!!               .z$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$                    
!!!!!!!!!             ,d$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$          .         
!!!!!!!!!           ,d$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$         !!         
!!!!!!!!!         ,d$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$        ,!'         
!!!!!!!!>        c$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.       !'          
!!!!!!''       ,d$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$>       '           
!!!''         z$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$>                   
!'           ,$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$>             ..    
            z$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$'           ;!!!!''`
            $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$F       ,;;!'`'  .'' 
           <$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$>    ,;'`'  ,;       
           `$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$F   -'   ,;!!'        
            "?$$$$$$$$$$?$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$F     .<!!!'''       <!
         !>    ""??$$$?C3$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$""     ;!'''          !!!
       ;!!!!;,      `"''""????$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$""   ,;-''               ',!
      ;!!!!<!!!; .                `"""""""""""    `'                  ' ' 
      !!!! ;!!! ;!!!!>;,;, ..                  ' .                   '  ' 
     !!' ,;!!! ;'`!!!!!!!!;!!!!!;  .        >' .''                 ;      
    !!' ;!!'!';! !! !!!!!!!!!!!!!  '         -'                           
   <!!  !! `!;! `!' !!!!!!!!!!<!       .                                  
   `!  ;!  ;!!! <' <!!!! `!!! <       /                                   
  `;   !>  <!! ;'  !!!!'  !!';!     ;'                                    
   !   !   !!! !   `!!!  ;!! !      '  '                                  
  ;   `!  `!! ,'    !'   ;!'                                              
      '   /`! !    <     !! <      '                                      
           / ;!        >;! ;>                                             
             !'       ; !! '                                              
          ' ;!        > ! '                                               
            '                                                         

There are programs that convert from a GIF picture to ASCII text, producing pictures similar to these, but they generally require lots of fiddling with by hand to look that good. If you have the picture resolution low enough and the ASCII text large enough, then it is possible to just convert pixels to characters. However, if you want something to post to a newsgroup, for example, you've got a maximum width (around 72 characters), which isn't many pixels. Much of the skill is in pushing the level of detail above one pixel per character. The vast majority of ASCII art is created by hand, using only simple word processing programs.

Line Style

This style is more analogous to pencil drawing - using characters such as / \ | to draw outlines. Use of characters such as _ , . - ' ` " give other angles of lines (note the small difference between ' and `). Pictures in line style can give slightly more detail in the exact positioning and shapes of small features. Unlike solid style, both large and small pictures work well; in particular for signatures only line style is really possible. Small pictures are quicker to type out, but are at least as challenging as larger pictures, though for different reasons. Again much of the skill is in squeezing in as much detail as possible from the characters, and this element is heightened in signature sized pictures. Occasional use of characters other than the standard line-like characters ('-', '/', '\', '|', etc.) can help to clarify particular features. For example the join between three lines could be worked with a 'Y' character.

There is also an element of skill in the composition of the picture. This has to be chosen to avoid high amounts of detail concentrated in any one place (which would be impossible to draw in ASCII), and also with the features of the characters in mind. For example, if a picture is to have a strong diagonal line in it (eg someone waving a flag - the flag pole) then one would want to use the '/' characters - other diagonal lines are less clear. This puts a restriction on the angle that the strong line can be. Another example: the closest that two horizonal lines can be is '___' directly above '---'. The other way round gives a gap three times as big. This means that it isn't possible to have three solid horizontal lines this close together - there has to be a larger gap somewhere. It is possible to have lines closer together if you allow 'dotty' lines, using the colon as ':::'. Some artists prefer more solid lines with less freedom of placement, others go for accuracy of position over clarity of the lines. There is a surprising amount of knowledge about the ways the characters can be used, and even the occasional new discovery.

Some examples:

Felix Lee's sleeping cat is a favourite for email signatures, being only four lines high:


   |\      _,,,---,,_
   /,`.-'`'    -.  ;-;;,_
  |,4-  ) )-,_..;\ (  `'-'
 '---''(_/--'  `-'\_)  fL 

Henry Segerman's castle is an example of a more collaborative project. Over a period of about a month, the castle was improved ('diddled') by many people on alt.ascii-art. Note the use of both line (with J, F and L used for near vertical lines) and solid style (for the moat, with anti-aliasing using d, b, P and Y):


                                o
                            .-'"|
                            |-'"|
                                |   _.-'`.
                               _|-"'_.-'|.`.
                              |:^.-'_.-'`.;.`.
                              | `.'.   ,-'_.-'|
                              |   + '-'.-'   J
           __.            .d88| +. `.-' _-.  |
      _.--'_..`.    .d88888888| ||] |  | J] J8b.
   +:" ,--'_.|`.`.d88888888888|-' J |  | J|.|888b.
   | \ \-'_.--'_.-+888888888+'  _-F F +:    `88888bo.
    L \ +'_.--'   |88888+"'  _.' J J J  `.    +8888888b.
    |  `+'   __   |8+"'  _.-'    | | |    +    `+8888888._-'.
  .d8L  L   / \\  J' _.-'        | | |     `.,   `+888+'^.-|.`.
 d888|  |   F  FL J-'            F F F      /`/  _.-"_.-'_.+.`.`.
d88888L  L  |  \L  L            J J J      /`/ `|. +'_.-'    `_+ `;
888888J  |  K    \ L         _.-+.|.'.    /`/   F `.`.     .-'_.-"J
8888888|  L L\    \|     _.-'     '   `. /`/   J  ,_`.`..-'.-"    |
8888888PL | | \    `._.-'               /`/    | || \ `..-"      J.b
8888888 |  L L `.    \     _.-+.       /`/`.   L+`'  |  |        F88b
8888888  L | |   \   _:.--'_.-|.`.    '`/   >-'     .J J        |8888b
8888888  |  L L   +:" _.--'_.-'.`.`.    _.-'    :"|' | |       JY88888b
8888888   L | |   J \ \_.-'     `.`.`.-'    :"|-'   J J        F Y88888b
Y888888    \ L L   L \ `.      _.-'_.-+ :"|-'       | |       |   Y88888b
`888888b    \| |   |  `. \ _.-'_.-'   |-'          J J       J     Y88888b
 Y888888     +'\   J    \ '_.-'       F    ,-T"\   | |    .-'      )888888
  Y88888b.      \   L    +'          J    /  | J  J J  .-'        .d888888
   Y888888b      \  |    |           |    F  `.|.-'+|-'         .d88888888
    Y888888b      \ J    |           F   J    -:              .od88888888P
     Y888888b      \ L   |          J    | .' ` \d8888888888888888888888P
      Y888888b      \|   |          |  .-'`.  `\ `+88888888888888888888P
       Y888888b.     J   |          F-'     \\ ` \ \88888888888888888P'
        Y8888888b     L  |         J       d8+.`\  \`+8888888888888P'
         Y8888888b    |  |        .+      d8888\  ` .'  `Y888888P'
         `88888888b   J  |     .-'     .od888888\.-'
          Y88888888b   \ |  .-'     d888888888P'              ,==. o
          `888888888b   \|-'       d88888888'                 |/ "'/L
           `Y88888888b            d8888888P'                 ,-_) '<_
             Y88888888bo.      .od88888888   hs               /^-._  \=_
             `8888888888888888888888888888                    `   (-'/ ~~
              Y88888888888888888888888888P                    a:f  | \ 
               `Y8888888888888888888888P'                          `  `
                 `Y8888888888888P'
                      `Y88888P'

Improvements by:

Ilmari Karonen - Tricky bit where tops of walls meet moat
Shimrod - Turret 'wells', front battlements, ladder
Veronica Karlsson - Moat and drawbridge
Jonathan Wilson - Arch entrances to turrets
Andreas Freise - Horse


Joris Bellenger (b'ger) is a very popular artist on alt.ascii-art, with a very recognisable style:


                          I love lawyers
                               / 
                      )            (
                     /(   (\___/)  )\ 
                    ( #)  \ (ee)| ( #
                     ||___c\  > '__||
                     ||**** )o_/ **'|
               .__   |'* ___| |___*'|
                \_\  |' (    ~   ,)'|
                 ((  |' /(.  '  .)\ |
                  \\_|_/ <_ _____> \______________
                   /   '-, \   / ,-'      ______  \ 
          b'ger   /      (//   \\)     __/     /   \ 
                                      './_____/

Finally, an example from Ulrich Schreglmann's (Ool's) 'Red Baron' cartoon series:



                                    __                 __
      ________________            ('__`>           _ --__`.
    ,'                `._____     /==(o)     ______\ -'_--`.
   /  Here's the world   ,-'      `\__/    |()|::::)= '_`.  .
  |   famous Red Baron   |   _____ / /\  /)____||____\_-``.
  |  braving the skies   |        `-------'            \-`   ,
   \     once more!     /    &  ,   .  &  ,   .  &  ,   | '
    `.________________,'     _\'     `/_\'     `/_\'    |
                             _|`.   ,'|_|`.   ,'|_|`.   |
                                                        |\ 
                             __________________________/__\ 
                                                     .`.-_-\ 
                                                    `_`.'_-_\ 
                                                       -- -



                                   __
      _____________              ('__`>
    ,'             `._____       /=(66)     ______
   /    I haven't     ,-'        `\_-/    |()|::::)=
  |  been flying only |     _____ / /\  /)____||___/__      ,\ 
  |     airplanes,    |          `-------'            \   ,'\ |
   \    you know!    /      &  ,   .  &  ,   .  &  ,   |,' \ |
    `._____________,'       _\'     `/_\'     `/_\'    |) )|, |
                            _|`.   ,'|_|`.   ,'|_|`.   |,' ,/ /
                                                       |  '  ,
                            __________________________/    '





   ____________________________________________
  |                                            |
  |  "In fact, in my early teens I dabbled in  |
  |  Eastern modes of aviation instead..."     |
  |____________________________________________|



                    ;:
             _____  {)                     ===.___,=====.
       _,---'      <x\ ___       ___,`.
       `.   ,-'\  ;_\| .__`-----'___,  `.     __      _____
         `.  \-'  Z=-' `._\ \__\ \,__`.  `.     `===='     `
           `.  ,'\  __\  \__\ ,-._   _,-,  `.
             `.`,'___,-----.___`-.`. `.__`.  `.     __,====.
               `-'             `---._____,---'




                                    __                 __
      _____________               ('__`>           _ --__`.
    ,'             `._____        /==(o)     ______\ -'_--`.
   /  Unfortunately   ,-'         `\__/    |()|::::)= '_`.  .
  |  the navigation   |      _____ / /\  /)____||____\_-``.
  | of those devices  |           `-------'            \-`   ,
  | had a fatal flaw: |      &  ,   .  &  ,   .  &  ,   | '
  | It used only ONE  |      _\'     `/_\'     `/_\'    |
  |   digit for the   |      _|`.   ,'|_|`.   ,'|_|`.   |
   \  year of date!  /                                  |\ 
    `._____________,'        __________________________/__\ 
                                                     .`.-_-\ 
                                                    `_`.'_-_\ 
                                                       -- -


   ______________________________
  |                              |
  |  "Thus, on January 1, 1910,  |
  |  disaster struck..."         |
  |______________________________|
                  __________________               __
                 /                  \             (.,)
                | It's coming apart! |___        (.__,)
                |     OH NO!!!       ,-'       _  )o)\\ 
                 \__________________/      ___(\\_\>_/'_
                                    ___,--##########-\//)
     _                         _ ,-######################--.
    ##   ##              _, ,-##|##########################|
        ##   ,#|  ,#| ,-##||####|####""' |###|     `"######|
     _      |#'  |##' |###,|###"!        |###|       |#####|
    //   /|      '    |"'_,!'###|        |###|       |#####|
        |/   ,'|  ,'| ,-' ||####|        |###|       |#####|
     _      |,'  |_,' |  _,|###"!        |###|       |#####|
    //   /|      '    |-'_,!'###|       _|###|_____  |#####|
        |/   ,'|  ,'| ,-' ||####|  __,-#############-!#####|
     _      |,'  |_,' |  _,|###"!-'########################|
    ##   ##      '    |-'_,!'###|#####"' |###|    `""######|
        ##   ,#|  ,#| ,-##||####|"'      |###|       |#####|
     _      |#'  |##' |###,|###"!        |###|       |#####|
    //   /|      '    |"'_,!'###|        |###|       |#####|
        |/   ,'|  ,'| ,-' ||####|        |###|       |#####|
     _      |,'  |_,' |  _,|###"!        |###|       |#####|
    //   /|      '    |-'_,!'###|    __,-'####`-----.|#####|
        |/   ,'|  ,'| ,-' ||####|_,-'######################|
     _      |,'  |_,' |  _,|###"'############"#############|
    ##   ##      '    |-'_,!'###|###"""'           `"""####|
        ##   ,#|  ,#| ,-##||####|'                       `"'
            |#'  |##' |###,|###"'
                 '    |"'  !'



                                   __
      ______________             ('__,>
    ,'              `._____      /=(66)     ______
   /    Luckily I      ,-'       `\_-/    |()|::::)=
  |  didn't get hurt!  |    _____ / /\  /)____||___/__      ,\ 
  |   Crashed a few    |        `-------'            \   ,'\ |
  | windows on the way |    &  ,   .  &  ,   .  &  ,   |,' \ |
   \   down, though!  /     _\'     `/_\'     `/_\'    |) )|, |
    `.______________,'      _|`.   ,'|_|`.   ,'|_|`.   |,' ,/ /
                                                       |  '  ,
                            __________________________/    '

--
  __   "Space Opera--it's not over until the Fat Lady explodes."  __
('__`>                                                          <'__`)
//6(6; ©OOL mm                                                  :^)^\\ 
`\_-/  http://home.t-online.de/home/ulrich.schreglmann/redbaron  \-_/'

Copyright

A note on using other people's ASCII art: Almost nobody minds use of their art for almost any (non-commercial) purpose, but it is considered very bad form to remove the signature (usually two or three letters that are obviously not part of the picture), or worse, to claim it as your own work. If you find a piece without a signature, the people on alt.ascii-art will almost certainly know who originally created it. Copyright permissions to use all the art in this entry were obtained by the Researcher, with the exception of the Statue of Liberty, which is an old classic - artist unknown to the ASCII art community at time of writing.

Tips on including ASCII Art in h2g2 entries

Currently, this is difficult, but the following tricks seem to work:

  • Use tags: <PRE> ...art here... </PRE>

  • Replace all instances of '<' with '&lt;'

  • Replace all instances of '>' with '&gt;'

  • Replace all instances of '&' with '&amp;'

  • Never end a line with '\' immediately followed by a return. Instead put a space between the '\' and the return, otherwise both the '\' and the return are removed when the entry is updated (but not when you just preview).


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Entry Data
Entry ID: A623639 (Edited)

Written and Researched by:
HenryS

Edited by:
GTBacchus


Date: 17   October   2001


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Referenced Guide Entries
Internet Acronyms, Smileys and Emoticons
Hieroglyphs


Referenced Sites
Figlet
'Red Baron' cartoon series
Joan Stark's ASCII Art Gallery
Alt.ASCII-Art FAQ

Please note that the BBC is not responsible for the content of any external sites listed.

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