Please share your knowledge of ASCII Art History-
The first time you saw it, used it... It's history as you know it.
Xylåh - 12/17/00 03:11:29
My URL:http://www.xylah.com/skids.html


`/.  '
...sorry -- it didn't format correctly. i'm trying your advice from an earlier entry =;-) ---xylah

Xylah - 12/17/00 02:57:51
My URL:http://xylah.com/
ASCII Art Information: http://xylah.com/skids.html

\\||//// o-o' `/. ' `=>, `- ...I'm new to the ascii art scene, but I've been using it for years in email and such. I'm doing an ascii comic using the extra mac characters and a graphics prog to rotate, resize, etc -- so it's not strictly ascii, but rather in the spirit of. I love all the art I've been seeing in on your site and others, as well as the independence and global nature of the scene. Thanx for a beautiful and informative site!¡! --- xylah

Mary Wilson - 08/24/00 01:30:01
My Email:mwilson523@aol.com
ASCII Art Information: Typewriter Art

In college, I used a PDP 8/S computer, and we communicated with it via a teletype and punched paper tape. At the time, I had a program that would allow you to input a name or phrase on the keyboard, and it would appear on the paper tape as a pattern of holes. Hey, quit laughing! That was the late 60's and it was a real gee whiz then! We also had a few pre-punched tapes that produced pictures when fed thru the reader. One of the completely insane night operators for the IBM 1401 dug those up for us. Speaking of the 1401, there was a program called "Edith" -- anybody remember her? I also learned to punch cards with words, pictures, or the ultimate -- the lace card, where you punched out every hole on the card! This worked fine on the old keypunches that punched each column as you typed it, but the newer keypunches waited until you finished the 80th column and then punched the entire card. If there were more than four punches in the same column, the card would jam and rip, so I had to give up making cute cards. After graduation (71), I started substitute teaching and met a new kind of art, the Typewriter Mystery. The typing teachers (the nice ones!) would leave a page of directions thatlooked like "38sp, 2%, 5sp, 2%, 5sp, 2%" etc. There were typically 40 to 60 lines per picture, and if you followed the directions exactly, you got a nice seasonal picture. Simple, but it kept the little darlings busy for the entire period! I was so fascinated by the pictures that I bought the entire series of books, seven of them, I think, and always had one or two mysteries ready just in case I got a typing class to cover. The original set of books got lost somewhere (probably to a greedy typing teacher), but J Weston Walsh Publishers used to sell two sets of pictures. I still have my copies, buried somewhere in the incredible accumulation of junk from 29 years of teaching! I did use them with a computer class when I was teaching the TAB and SPC functions in BASIC. Not quite ASCII, but fun! And it kept *my* little darlings busy for the whole period, too!

et&wd - 06/28/00 17:55:15
My URL:http://ascii.test.at/

interesting page.. we were doing research for our project (ascii/video) and found it very informative..
( Joan's note:  Please share your research when it is finished.  I'd love to see what else you have
come up with!  And please, feel free to share my URL with others.)

Michele - 06/16/00 10:35:22
My URL:http://www-studenti.dm.unipi.it/~cerulli/
My Email:cerulli@mail.dm.unipi.it
ASCII Art Information: What about portable telefones...

I think that when Microsoft stated that ASCII art is dead didn't take into account the explosion (at least in Italy) of GSM messaging with portable telephones. This way of communicating is preponderant, and a lot of people discovered the ASCII way of expr ssing themselvs. Michele Cerulli

Harris Roen - 02/17/00 15:47:44
My Email:harry_b@csi.com
ASCII Art Information: Early IBM

I remember going to IBM headquarters in NYC in the late 60's with a school group, and having a technician type in our names, and having our names be printed out on a big piece of paper, where each letter was made up of teh same smaller letters (i.e. the l tter "H" was made up of hundreds of smaller H's, "A" was made up of hundreds of smaller smaller A's, etc.). Seemed like alchemy to a 7 year old!
( Joan's note:  Awesome -- I would've felt the same way!)

- 02/17/00 11:57:32

Great site! Very informative. LOSE THE MUSIC from the pages. That was annoying and loud and a real bummer to an otherwise cool site.
( Joan's note:  Some people like the music.  I've tried to tie in the music with the theme of each page.
I'm sorry that you did not like it.)

Ennis Trimble - 02/06/00 15:05:29
ASCII Art Information: Teletype

During the Korean War and immediate post-war years of the mid-1950s, teletype machines were electromechanical typewriters used by the military to simultaneously send typewritten messages to a number of distant receivers over telephone or by radio wave transmissions. Newspapers used them extensively, also. Their respective networks of users were probably contributing predecessors to the "party-line principle" of the Internet since they functioned much like Internet Relay Chat (or its variations, such as ICQ) does today. At Christmastime, the teletype operators sometimes sent Christmas greetings with "teletyped pictures" that they had created from the keyboards of their machines. Since teletype paper (usually yellow in color) was loaded on rolls, there was virtually no l mit to the length of a message. Sometimes, the "teletyped pictures" were two feet long or greater. Interestingly, it was suspected that encrypted messages may have been embedded in these kinds of transmissions at times for the purpose of military securi y. Such creative teletype messages were just an early form of what is now called ASCII, typewriter, type or keyboard art today. Back then among the teletype operators, it was called "teletype art."

Ishstar - 11/08/99 07:49:24
My URL:http://www.assault.carota.net/
My Email:ishstar@scene.orgy
ASCII Art Information: Demoscene

Ascii art is definately for the creative mind and those who are able to manipulate the character set they are given to form pictures, much like the oldskool pixlers are only given 256 colours to create stunning and sometimes even photorealistic pictures b hand, pixel by pixel.

These people awe me with their innovation. Not just ascii artist, but anyone that was and still is in the scene. The ascii has died down a bit, but you can find a lot more works at http://www.acheron.org/ . If you would like the hirez stuff, check o t http://www.hirez.org/ There are some absolutely fantastic works.

All in all, there's more to the demoscene than just ASCII, if you haven't discover it yet. I'd imagine that you have if you have been at this since 1996. I'm guessing some people who have seen your site have been from the scene. Check it out and inc ude it in your history section. Things like the demoscene are absolutely fabulous in its coheisive bonding in bringing people together. It's a shame things have died down a bit and the push for innovation that reside in it has died a bit. There's still a good chunk left, but times have changed probably. People move on to continue with their lives... I miss them.

To mail me, remove the "y" at the end of my address. I don't like spam.

low - 09/20/99 22:43:39
My URL:http://come.to/themacrohouse
My Email:low_rydin@hotmail.com

hey jgs. i run a page called the macrohouse. i started it almost a year ago but no one really knows about it cause like you said macros are aol based. so im trying to expand that and show that even though its only made in the font arial-10 that it stil is a form of ascii art. ive also decided to expand my page for ascii art and ansi art. so if anyone who checks out my page and would like to have their stuff posted just email me. also id like to say this is a great page...i learned most of the stuff know about ascii art here, keep up the good work :]
( Joan's note:  Macros are a form of text art, bit since they use a proportional font and often non-ASCII characters,
I don't consider them "ASCII" art.  Some macros are beautiful -- and I have linked to your website.  Thank you
for sharing.)

Peganthyrus - 08/18/99 04:56:02
My URL:http://www.rdwarf.com/peganthyrus/
My Email:[see webpage; I don't put it up as plaintext]
ASCII Art Information: The 8-bit days.

Before IBM-compatible computers took over the world, the Commodore 64, Apple ][, and Atari computers all had their own BBSs, with little cross-over between them. The Apple ][ was not very capable in text-art terms, having only the basics - A-Z, numbers, and punctuation, plus 'inverse' and 'flash' text modes. I've never really seen much screen-oriented text art from that world; most of it harks back to teletype stuff. The Ataris and c64 each had their own perversions of ASCII, however, stuffed full of little graphics characters, and color capabilites. I never had an Atari, so I'm not too knowledgeable about that world, but on the c64 boards, one would not only find static images, but what were then called 'movies' - long textfiles that incorporated not only color changes and graphics characters, but also screen clears, cursor movements, and the like, to create crude animation when read over a 300 or 1200 baud connection. I haven't the foggiest idea where one could find these. I have a few old 5.25" discs full of them, but I don't know exactly where in the big pile of C64 stuff they ARE.
( Joan's note:  think we'd still have the old technology around to run the animations?)

Håkan Storsäter - 06/30/99 21:49:24
My Email:hakans@writeme.com
ASCII Art Information: Art Scene..

Hmmm, remorse www.remorse.org is still doing line-sigs, collys and such, "new-school" then they are doing art-scene new-school, using nearly all of the 256 characters available in the standard char-set... ..pretty impressive...

 ___...---'''~~~'-.  .    ::    .  .-'~~~'''---...___
'-.___....--{''~~~\   \  _LL_  /   7~~~''}--....___,-'
    \ () )  )     )    .--~~--.    (     (  ( () /
     '-..{_/__..-'   _(  ____  )_   '-..__\_}..-'      
                    /     ::     \
                   -      ||      -
             - -: ( _.--~~~~~~--._ ) :- -
                 ' '--..--''--..--' '        hS-99

    ______________________  ______   __    _
   /  __    /   _   \    /--\    /  /_/  /__/
  /   |/  _/   / \   \  \|  |/  /  ____  ___
 /____|_________|_________/\___/  /_/_/ / _/

..hmm.. the guy was good.. ..but the sig was hasty..

( Joan's note:  The "standard" ASCII character set contains less than 256 characters...
I think you may have included the non-standard characters into your total count.
They are not ASCII and are not standard on all PC systems.)

rAMoN - 06/29/99 23:22:44
My Email:ram1@gmx.de

First time i asciied was 85 on a c64 , but the real ascii took place on the good old amiga days As i see the "non scene" asciis here , i have to say that the amiga sceners mainly used / \ _ | and sumtimes sum other chars . The biggest fun was the ascii collections , where the artist collected all his requests and put it into one small or big txtfile with greeting credits thoughts intro whatever . Thats was the True Ascii Scene , which is dead ow . So its nice to see some Non Sceners doing their thang 8) rAMoN \ hOusE of sTyLe \ LowProfile
( Joan's note:  My first computer was a C128 -- how times have changed, huh?  ASCII lives on though)

Håkan Storsäter - 06/29/99 17:35:32
My URL:http://hem1.passagen.se/haakshem
My Email:hakans@writeme.com
ASCII Art Information: Subject?

Hmmm, I've got two non-standard signs in my name, but I was just born with them, hey, Jgs, you signed my guestbook, so I'm signing yours back... I think that the old greeks used words in collaboration with pictures, as in 70's style, if you know what I mean.. like the letters were parts of the object... I have also heard by an art-scener that C.S. Lewis did Ascii-Art, by using words in a poem to create a picture, like..

  .--./  --  -.  /-.
 ( .-/ . -"<"-' /- /
  '-( .--. -"* /--'
     \ .-""- .'


Well, that's all, Håk
( Joan's note:  CS Lewis did use text art -- in the book 'Alice in Wonderland', which was written before typewriters were invented.)

Alien - 06/17/99 12:08:22
My URL:http://studenten.freepage.de/meph/ascii/eng/eng.htm
My Email:uzsdwr@uni-bonn.de
ASCII Art Information: [OT] ASCII History

Hello, possibly it would be interesting to have some information of the ASCII self. I'm not sure of all this information are 100% correct: At the beginning no ASCII exists. The standard was called ANSI X3.4 "Coded Character Set - 7-Bit American National Standard Code for Information Interchange". It was publicized at the 30. April 1965 as "ECMA-6" and 1972 as "ISO 646" with national variations. It might be interesting that ASCII is an ANSI code. An "ASCII- Institute" didn't exist and ASCII is only the shortcut of ANSI X3.4... The main problem is the definition of ANSI: It is an institute and not a character set! Nevertheless it is popular to speech about the ANSI- code and the main reason is that Microsoft is doing it. The first real modification of the ANSI X3.4 (alias ASCII) was done by IBM. They implemented the extended "Code Page 437" which was saved in the ROM of the graphic adapter (beginning of the 80th). Today the operating system (and not the hardware) make the character set available. Windows uses the ANSI X3.4 with the "Code Page 1252". The MS documents define the windows char'set as ANSI code, but this isn't consistent. Possibly they thought it would be to difficult to call the char'sets "ANSI X3.4 + Code Page (or ISO) ...", but theoretically there is no ANSI or 8-bit ASCII char'set. In my opinion it is problematic that the os and not the hardware makes the character set available. A software definition makes a modification possible. This could destroy the idea of a standard code. Ok., I hope this wasn't 'too much' out of topic. Meph.
( Joan's note:  Not at all Meph!  Thanks for the technical information!!!)

Palmore - 11/11/98 18:06:06
My URL:http://www.remorse.org/
My Email:Palmore@Remorse.Org
ASCII Art Information: The begining,end and all inbetween

Don't forget to include Remorse (Ascii Art Group) witness the true power of the ascii art world!
( Joan's note:  Remorse has been mentioned, right? )


10/28/98 13:10:01
Name: Bad Bunny My URL: Visit Me
My Email: Email Me

Just passing thru and saw your page Thanks
( Joan's note:  Thanks for stopping! and I hope you return.  I usually update around the beginning of the month.)

Thomas - 10/24/98 13:32:42
My URL:http://members.aol.com/Squall1963/cool.html
My Email:Squall1963@aol.com
ASCII Art Information: YOU MUST LOOK AT THIS ASCII!(on the bottom

/|   // / || ||   /| // // .·´ /|\/ / // /|   |\ / ||/ / /| /|/ |/ |/ /¸,./ /   | / / | / | / / / /   \`·.\ \ | | \ | | |||´ / /| / /.·´/   `·¸,.-·´¯¯¯\´_/_\\__/ / /,./,   / .-.-==-./ ¯¯ / / //.´ /   |/ \=,_ _.=- \./¯\_.·´   \”-´`, ´`”--´ ,'µ /   `·.`--. ,.· / \   , _¸,.-.__ ,¯¯ / /-.„./~__,.-,   |`·´ / /¯¯`·.´¯¯¯¯ //// / /'””`·.   \, \ \,„ / .·´ // | \´ \   /\ -._ `·.¸.-´¨¯ / \ ( --. ./   `/._ \ `· \-·´ // /. |- |   `, ' \ ' / | \ | |   `/ ._ \ _.· .·´ | / ´.   ,\___`·._ ·´____/.____.·´¨ \.-· `,   / {==============| /___ |   ,-,/=\ \¯==¯¯=¯¯==¯==¯=/ /===-- /   /`/`/`/`/=||¯| ¯¯¯¯| ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯ \|¨|¨|¯|¯| /=|   `-------´ | | \ \\-'---'---/=/ §šJ¹   | \ | | \ \\´   | \ | | \\\ `\ , /´   | | | \\\ / \\\\\   | | ||\ \\\\ \\\\\\\   | | || \\ \\ \\\\\\\\\   | | || \\ \\ \\\\\\\\\   | | || \\ \\ \\\\\\\\\   | | || ` \\ \\\\\\\\\   | | || \\ \\\\\\\\\   | | |\\ \\\\\\\   | | // \\ \ \ \\\\   | //| \\ \ \|   |_ ./ \_ __ __////   \====/ `·.======.·´   /====/ |====\ Ssj¹SonGohan   .·´¨¯¯ ' ' ' \ / `·. ----   /________.--·´ \ \   \ /   `·..·´
( Joan's note:  Ooops...  Did you try to preformat that?  Adding a <pre> before the pic and a </pre> afterthe pic might format it so that it looks right.  I'd like to see the pic that you posted-- I don't recognize the sig  on it.  I always like to see new ASCII pics!)

iph-ascii - 09/18/98 07:49:50
My Email:iph-ascii@mail.bip.net
ASCII Art Information: never die!

just face it, ascii art will never die.. NEVER!! the scene will always be in need of good ascii artist, when dialup boards are dying telnet will be there.. so, if not the BBS scene is dead so not is ascii art... live long and prosper / siging off, inphamilair (sweden)
( Joan's note: Woo Hoo!  Long Live ASCII Art! )

iph-ascii - 09/18/98 07:43:57
My Email:iph-ascii@mail.bip.net
ASCII Art Information: the bbs scene

it all started with my BBS, i ripped bloack-ansi pictures from variuos ansi painters and one day the cought me! then i desided to draw my own work to my board, it all went so good that i joined several ascii groups and i now draw for people all over the orld, like nfo files, bbs art.. everything!
( Joan's note:  Perhaps I'm a little out of it... just what *do* ASCII groups do? And why would somebody want to join a group?)

Brian Tegart - 09/17/98 19:58:29
My URL:http://www.tegart.com/brian
My Email:brian@tegart.com
ASCII Art Information: The Gospel Of John image

The pictures of The Gospel Of John by Gwang Hyuk Lee are absolutely amazing. These NEED to be available in poster form. Do you know if posters are available of this image? If there aren't any, would it possible to get a really good copy of the image so so e posters could be made? Is Gwang Hyuk Lee still alive, and how could we contact him? Thanks, Brian
( Joan's note:  I have heard that this picture once was available in posted form.  I have no other information about a poster and I'm not in a position to make one from his work. Gwang Hyuk Lee was killed, supposedly in response to creating the 'Gospel of John' image.)

Shawn Graft - 09/16/98 22:41:19
ASCII Art Information: ASCII art was used extensively by Bulletin Board Systems in in 1980s and 1990s. It's BBS SysOps (system operators) who refined this form of artwork and began making use of ASCII animation - and later ASCII bombs.
( Joan's note:  OK, what's an ASCII bomb?)

ray landers - 09/05/98 13:35:45
My Email:rayl@northcoast.com
ASCII Art Information: my wife made ansi/ascii art

we called it ansi art, but that was because my wife used the ansi commands that made the cursor move around the screen before placeing a letter, and because she used the ansi commands to change the foreground and background colors of the text. but other than those ansi commands, she used only the regular text characters, and very rarely used any of the block characters, in her art. she made a great effort to use none of the ansi block characters in her art because she wanted to keep it "pure text", something that would still look correct if printed out on a typewriter, even if it lost the colors she had put in. we had a BBS on fido-net from april '85 to september '95. violet died of cancer in july of '95. in the ten years that she made her art, we collected about 2500 thank you messages from people that were useing her artwork. we also got quite a few phone calls from people. since we distributed the pictures electronicly to others in fido-net, we were pretty free to send them anywhere that had a phone line. we had thanks messages , these were sent to us through fido-net, from most countries in the world. fido-net was glad to transfer messages through the nodes of the network TO us, but we found out right away, the first time we tried it, that they would would NOT send the artwork through the net. so we used the fido-net node list as a phone book and had our computer dial directly to the recipiants computer and then transfer the file to them directly from us, and bypassed the other nodes in the network. this way we didn't use up the fido-net bandwidth for our hobby. and it was a hobby with us, we never asked for money or favors in exchange for violets art. we did have interesting phone bills. we found out what 20 seconds worth of long distance charges cost for almost every country on earth. it was a great hobby for violet, and she got alot of pleasure out of knowing that people were finding suprise messages with a file attached that contained the artwork she had made for them in their e-mail box. the way she decided what picture to make and send to people was actualy pretty simple. she would sit and look at the node list, the node list was a listing of all of the BBS's that were part of fido net, and if the name of the BBS brought some picture to mind, she would then draw that picture in ansi, useing colored text, and then she would send it to them. she would send a letter of introduction telling who we were, and why she was sending this, and then the artwork itself would be in a compressed file attached to the message. we would only get a response from about 20% of the messages that we sent out. and only a few, probebly a total of a dozen, were rejections. it was great fun, and violet struck up several e-mail type pen pal relationships through fido-net. many of the people we communicated with regularly were NOT people that we had sent pictures to, but people that had seen violets artwork, and had sent e-mail to her asking about her art. she was always happy to spend time talking/typeing to people, even if it wasn't about ansi art. my part in the whole operation, was to keep the equipment running and configured in such a way as to be able to make quick, clean international calls. one time the computer made $500 worth of calls to a wrong number in the U.K. all in one 4 hour period. i learned alot about how far you can trust a computer to follow bad instructions with this hobby. computers follow instructions very precisly, and all the way. well i've rambled on enough here. maybe you have seen some of her stuff. she sometimes put her initials, VS , in her pictures. many people copied her stuff and then changed it, often without even removeing her initials from the picture, and signing their name to it and takeing credit for it. this was something that upset me quite a bit, but violet felt a little sad that someone liked her art well enough to steal it, and not give her credit for haveing thought of it. ahh, well. such is the world we live in. it's nice to see this WWW page dedicated to this type of art. good job, and keep it up. thank you for the pleasent memories,
( Joan's note:  You're welcome Ray.  It sounds like your wife really enjoyed her text-art.  I believe that if someone  enjoys what they are doing, others can tell.  And it is in her great spirit of sharing that she will be remembered. Thanks for telling me about your wonderful wife..)

Simon Parritt - 09/01/98 21:59:12
My Email:Parritsw@aol.com

In reference to Alan Riddel's book,I also contributed I think that such work goes in and out of fashion and unfortunately some of the work tries to produce photo-type images rather than honour the spirit of the medium being used - I still hanker a bit aft r the typewriter !
( Joan's note:  Using a typewriter also allowed a certain degree of flexibility in creating the text-based images. Overstrike, paper manipulation, and half/quarter spacing are techniques used in typewriter art, but not in ASCII art.   Typewriter art and ASCII art are not the same medium, however similar.)

Bill Cunningham VE3HHW - 08/30/98 04:51:56
My URL:http://www3.sympatico.ca/technisoft
My Email:technisoft@sympatico.ca
ASCII Art Information: RTTY Art

All During the 80's I Spent hours working the RTTY PIX nets. Some of the best teletype artists in the world gathered on 20 meters (14.080 if I remember right) One of the best was (mabe still is) Don Royer (Wa6pir) in Calif. He could reproduce a playboy ce terfold that looked exactly like a black and white photo from 10' feet away.. I uploaded my entire collection to the HEX9 Packet radio BBS several years ago, and I beleive it's still there buried in the directories someplace. If your a ham, a polite note to Len VE3FJB (Packet radio address ve3fjb@ve3fjb and he might tell you just here to find them..other than that, send me an e-mail and i'll see it I can retrieve them "zip em up" and send them off... de Bill
( Joan's note:  Wow!  )

Andrew Belsey - 08/26/98 13:50:24
My Email:belsey@cardiff.ac.uk

There is indeed a book called "Typewriter Art", edited by Alan Riddell (London, 1975). I contributed to it. It was a rather oversimple picture of trains. Later I did a much more complex version which I posted to an ASCII Art newsgroup.
( Joan's note:  Thanks Andrew--  I do appreciate you sending me copies of sections of the book...look for an update in my ASCII art history section of this website)

Donovan - 07/14/98 16:02:20
My URL:http://www.geocities.com/Paris/LeftBank/6558/
My Email:bakd@hotmail.com
ASCII Art Information: Before Radio & Typewriters there was...poetry!

Well, a few months ago, we were discussing the oldest method or form of ascii art in the newsgroup. The one I came up with that has held up has been poetry. Centuries ago, they wrote poetry in the shapes of things. And it was the consensus of our newsgroup (at that time) that this must have been the oldest form of ascii art. Of course it wasn't called ascii art then...Joan seems to be the only one who can ever remember the name of that kind poetry. Needing that word from JOAN...for the Nth time! LOL I hope this will help you a little bit with the origination of ascii art. Of course when radio, typewriters, and computers came along that is when it became popular and got it's name. But as a group we all agreed that this form of poetry was probably the thing that started it all. If anyone has some more factual things about this form of poetry please fill us in.

( Joan's note: it's called "typography", I believe )

Bill Hanson (WA9WGO) - 06/22/98 22:52:27
My Email:wlhanson@worldnet.att.net

You might say that the orgin of ASCII art also has it roots in amatuer radio. Amatuers with teletype equipment (the old model 19 etc.) filled the airwaves with teletype pictures in BAUDOT code.

(Joan's note: check the links on the main history page to find some BAUDOT code art link!)

Jon Carlson - 06/06/98 02:20:05
My Email:rhetoricman@juno.com

I am very glad to have found the work of Gwang Hyuk Rhee on the Web! I love the way his ASCII piece has deep spiritual meaning: The Word becomes flesh! Does anyone know where I can get prints of Mr. Rhee's work? I would be very grateful to find out wh re. I have some prints in my bookstore art gallery, but want to sell them and need copies. Thanks! Jon

(Joan's note: I have not seen prints of his work--only the online images... sorry... I'm sure that they are amazing!)

jgs - 05/03/98 00:44:52


From: Ian Wallis 
          Date: Sat, 18 Apr 1998 10:28:44 +0800
          Subject: ASCII Art

          Dear Joan

          ASCII Art probably reached it's zenith from about 
          1987 to 1994/5 on the Bulletin Board Systems that
          were prevalent before the opening of the Internet
          to the general public.  At one point there was well
          over 150,000 active BBS's around the world and the
          largest collection were linked together via the email
          network "FidoNet" which had some 35,000 BBS's linked

          FidoNet had several highly active ASCII art email
          groups that were prolific in the quantity of material

          It should also be noted that virtually every System
          Operator (SysOp) of a BBS generated or at least
          borrowed ASCII Art for use on their welcome screens.
          My old BBS which ran from 1981 to the present had
          some 50 full screen art works that were rotated
          randomly as welcome and goodbye screens. 


jgs - 05/03/98 00:43:38


From: Jack Lally 
          Date: Sun, 02 Nov 1997 14:51:30 -0500
          Subject: ASCII Art

          Dear Joan,
          I am a complete neophyte to ASCII Art but have been 
          fascinated by it for some years.  I am a retired Merchant 
          Marine Radio Officer and in later years at sea we did a 
          great deal of communicating by Radio Teletype.  I believe 
          it was there that I first saw "Stick Men" as my kids used 
          to call them in an art form.  Some of the Coast Station 
          operators would while away the lonely Midnight watch 
          hours by creating these drawings and then sending them 
          to the ships at sea.

jgs - 05/03/98 00:43:08


Subject:        Re: History of ASCII Art [Question]
          From:   Roshan Mamarvar 
          Date:   Sat, 05 Apr 1997 02:01:20 -0800

          I first met ASCII-art when hanging in the C64-Scene.
          Whenever releasing some of demo-programs, we designed
          the directory of the disk with some nice logos and pics.
          And then after changing to Amiga in '89 and staring to call
          out mailboxes, I met the whole ASCII/ANSI design that
          you can do on them, and that's when I started seriously
          doing my styles.
                                .oO° rOSHAn °Oo.

jgs - 05/03/98 00:42:39


Subj:   Re: History of ASCII Art [Question]
          Date:   97-03-29 17:45:38 EST
          From:   torus@magick.net (John Warmington)

          Ascii art goes back to the invention of
          the teletype machine, if not earlier than that.  Radio Teletype goes
          way back-- I know that in the fifties and sixties, and I suspect,
          before that, RTTY ham operaters were creating and exchanging
          beautiful, complex pictures.

jgs - 05/03/98 00:42:13


Subject:        Re: History of ASCII Art [Question]
          From:   Veronica Karlsson 
          Date:   Fri, 28 Mar 1997 00:13:08 +0100

          When I was about eight years old somebody showed me how to make a line
          of soldiers on a typewriter by typing certain characters over each other
          (don't remember how though, and even if I did I wouldn't know how to do
          that on a computer....).

jgs - 05/03/98 00:41:48


Return-path: RickH23703@aol.com
          Date: Thu, 27 Mar 1997 16:21:19 -0500 (EST)
          Subject: History of ASCII art

          My first exposure to ASCII/typeface art was as a radio deejay around
          Christmas and New Year's Eve of 1968. The AP newswire service would send out
          "pictures" of Santa landing on a houseroof, or Christmas trees, or such on
          their news wire printers.
          You might contact Associated Press and ask around for long-timers who used to
          write or service the wire-copy desks there. Presumably on slow news days
          they, too, played around with the tools of their trade...

jgs - 05/03/98 00:41:24


Subject:        Re: History of ASCII Art [Question]
          From:   tturner@freenet.edmonton.ab.ca ()
          Date:   29 Mar 1997 03:21:22 GMT

          --> First of all - if you re-read his post, you'll find he was not
              saying that caligraphy and ASCII art are the _SAME_; he was merely
              commenting on "ink/paper" artwork. *Read* before you spout off, eh?
              Secondly - when I was in various community colleges in the early
              70's - `ASCII art' was seen reasonably often - but was usually
              limited to "snoopy", "charlie brown", "mona lisa", etc. and often
              several `continuous-form' pages long and usually accompanied by
              whatever year's calendar. In other words; you'd see - in someone's
              office or classroom - a 2 or 3 page `printout' of "snoopy" doing
              his little dance (or whatever) and the latest yearly calendar.
              These were highly prized and enviously coveted and proudly
              displayed. Running a `high-speed' 300 baud teletype terminal link
              to the college main-frame; with a laboriously coded (over and over,
              'till they got it it right!) dozen's and dozen's of feet long
              hole-punched green paper tape - with the odd piece of tape patching
              broken lengths together (as I said - they were hard to make and
              were used over and over and over and over again...); stealing
              class and processing time. Things didn't really develop to
              anywhere _near_ where they are now, until the mid-80's.

jgs - 05/03/98 00:40:54


Subject:        Re: History of ASCII Art [Question]
          From:   Dave Bird---St Hippo of Augustine 
          Date:   Thu, 27 Mar 1997 20:20:56 +0000

          In article <3339AC38.2FDF@xs4all.nl>, 
          joris bellenger  writes:
          >My guess is that ascii-art begun short after the -American Standard Code
          >for Information Interchange- was created.
          >But the concept of using letters as a medium to draw isn't new, really.
          >At the begining of this century some avant-garde artists
          >where doing it allready with typographic characters, ink and a press.

           Yes, that is the true start of it.

          >But this became more popular during the 60's when about everybody could
          >afford a typewriter.

          >And what about calligraphy? Some amazing pieces are a few centuries old.
          >Mostly poetry and drawing at the same time. WOW!

           Caligraphy is taking characters and adding decorative art--not the same
          >Back in time... about four thousand years ago the egyptians where writing
          >with drawings and now we make drawings with letters. Ironic isn't it?
           And that is using drawings to make meaningful writing -- not the same.

          >Sure, there is more to find in art-and typography books.
          >Tell me if you find something.

           The real essence of "character art" is simply to take the fixed and
          arbitrary shape of written characters, and make that into a drawing.
          The highest form of it is not block or shade but "line", and as 
          small as you can possible get a meaningfful drawing from.

jgs - 05/03/98 00:40:23


Subject:        Re: History of ASCII Art [Question]
          From:   joris bellenger 
          Date:   Thu, 27 Mar 1997 00:07:36 +0100

          My guess is that ascii-art begun short after the -American Standard Code
          for Information Interchange- was created.
          But the concept of using letters as a medium to draw isn't new, really.
          At the begining of this century some avant-garde artists
          where doing it already with typographic characters, ink and a press.
          But this became more popular during the 60's when about everybody could
          afford a typewriter.

          And what about calligraphy? Some amazing pieces are a few centuries old.
          Mostly poetry and drawing at the same time. WOW!

          Back in time... about four thousand years ago the egyptians where writing
          with drawings and now we make drawings with letters. Ironic isn't it?

          Sure, there is more to find in art-and typography books.

          Tell me if you find something.

jgs - 05/03/98 00:39:55


Subject:        Re: History of ASCII Art [Question]
          From:   Dave Bird---St Hippo of Augustine 
          Date:   Mon, 24 Mar 1997 19:04:10 +0000 

          Ascii art has been around as long as I have.  There were large
          "character shaded" pictures around on lineprinters when I was
          at university in the 70s: usually either nudes or mickey mouse.

          Someone posted that there had been "typewriter art" since
          typewriters were widespread -- 1920 or so, I think.

jgs - 05/03/98 00:39:21


From: "R. Crawford" 
          Subject: Ascii, the hard way
          Date: Fri, 21 Feb 1997 04:59:17 +0800

          Looking thru an old magazine (1960 and we won't mention which one),
          I came across an amazing ascii artist. Here's the article that went
          with the pictures (48K .gif to follow under Subject=Hard way .gif):

          All day Guillermo Mendana Olivera works as a stenographer in Leon,
          Spain; every night he types pictures. Samples of his work shown here
          are, moving clockwise: typings of Ike, of Mendana himself, a detail
          from a picture of a church, and the Puerta de Alcala in Madrid.
          Each picture takes about 70 hours. Mendana uses small o and x and
          periods, dashes and commas. He starts with a paper covering all but
          a sliver of a photo; as the paper moves down he copies a line at a

          Imagine, on a typewriter! No software to comvert .bmp's. No easy
          corrections or fancy font tricks. They didn't even have white-out
          then. This man deserves recognition in the ascii art world!

          I'm trying to track him down thru family or friends on the net.  If
          I can, maybe I will post more of his work.

          If you have a problem with your news reader and .gif's, you can see
          the gif at http://mypage.direct.ca/r/rcrawfor/ascii_bg.gif

          Long live .txt!

jgs - 05/03/98 00:38:19


From: "J. Melusky" 
          Subject: Re: Why *is* it called ASCII Art ?
          Date: Tue, 21 May 1996 12:54:18 -0700

          On 20 May 1996, Ken West wrote:
          > The ASCII.art FAQ mentions that
          > >  Before computers, ASCII art was made on typewriters,
          > > teletype machines (5 bit), and was created typographically.
          > > There are even tee-shirts with the :-) smiley.

          > This raises a couple of questions:
          > 1.  What was it called when done on typewriters  (before ASCII
          > code was invented)?

          Well, according to Andrew Belsey, who posted to this group awhile
          back, he says that there is a book available called:

          Typewriter Art, edited by Alan Riddell (London, 1975) ISBN

          > 2.  Why is it called ASCII art now?
          > Now, with the prevalence of PCs, using ASCII characters, someone
          > has decided that this character-based art is to be called ASCII
          > art.  When you think of it, once the characters are on paper, or
          > even on a screen, the fact that they possibly were orginally stored
          > with 5 or 6  or 7 or 8 bits inside some computer memory has nothing
          > to do with the art itself;   so, can someone clarify how the term
          > "ASCII art" came about?  And is there any rationale behind the fact
          > that it clearly HAS come about?  regards, Ken West

          It wasn't just someone who popularized the phrase ascii-art. It was
          all those who voted in alt.config. A year ago I subscribed to
          alt.config and discovered that 100 votes plus a lot of convincing to
          create a new Usenet group. I wish I was around to be a lurker back
          then but hey they made a good vote of it! Maybe Scarecrow knows more
          about the alt.config story? I don't even know if alt.config is still
          there?  Jon

jgs - 05/03/98 00:36:36

From: jorn@mcs.com (Jorn Barger) Subject: Talk: Why I like ascii art Date: 11 Sep 1995 17:26:51 -0500 Wherever you look in computer journalism, the emphasis is always on faster computers and more memory and more colors... and more money!
So, when people write about the future of the Internet, they're always dreaming of real-time video links, multimedia, virtual reality, etc etc etc.
But for me, what's greatest about the Internet is how efficient it is at transmitting *text*. For the same 30 kilobytes you could use for a small GIF on the WWWeb, you can just as well transmit *fifteen typewritten pages* of text. (It's not even 'a picture is worth 1000 words'-- it's more like 5000, or better!) And a videolink uses millions of times as much bandwidth as would an email conversation...
And ascii text is also the lowest common denominator that allows *everyone* on the net to share data-- people are starting to extend email to include graphics and fonts, but these attempts exclude the majority of users, and we haven't begun o see these formats (like MIME) posted to netnews...
So the ability of ascii-art to include images in email and netnews postings could be a very useful technology... if only word-processors included a simple set of commands for drawing ascii shapes, or pasting together layers of ascii 'clip ar '!
My efforts in exploring ascii-art have been an attempt to see how much is possible, in representing, eg, maps, or human faces. I find that if you devote a great deal of time to it, you can create some very rich images... so it ought to be po sible someday to have rich libraries of clip-art that everyone can easily integrate into their text files-- if only the word- processors are revised to make this easier.
But (alas!) the word-processor designers seem preoccupied with GIFs and MPEGs and WAV files...

jgs - 05/03/98 00:33:23

From: peekstok@u.washington.edu (Anna Peekstok) Subject: Re: Historical precedent for ASCII art? Date: 21 Jan 1994 20:53:43 GMT There's a tradition in classical painting (i.e., Renaissance and after) of making up faces and figures out of vegetables, kitchen implements, etc.

jgs - 05/03/98 00:31:41

From: pk6811s@acad.drake.edu Subject: Re: Historical precedent for ASCII art? Date: Fri, 21 Jan 1994 15:23:47 GMT Quilts, cross-stitch, colored sands, colored brick and tile, mosaic tile, colored corn, kids' toy blocks, hand-held string figures,... Give people something to work with and they will make art. My 'thing' is domino pictures, done much like the p xellated ascii except using complete sets of dominos. A 6' by 4' picture of an astronaut made of 40 sets of double-nines is on display at the Dial Center at Drake University.

jgs - 05/03/98 00:27:22

From: allenk@ugcs.caltech.edu (Allen Knutson) Subject: Historical precedent for ASCII art? Date: 21 Jan 1994 07:11:02 GMT Historically, have there been other forms of art that are akin to ASCII art, in using to create pictures a standard set of shapes not designed for it? All that occurred to me are some of Dali's great tricks, where several people form a skull and that sort of thing, but it's not quite the same.