• Can you do ASCII art yourself? (Why yes, of course!) [Competition post 3]

    By Peter Law -

  • 73

‘ASCII art? HOW IMPOSSIBLY PRIMITIVE!’ Alice might say.

         __      __                  .___                   .__            .___
        /  \    /  \____   ____    __| _/___________  _____ |__| ____    __| _/
        \   \/\/   /  _ \ /    \  / __ |/ __ \_  __ \/     \|  |/    \  / __ |
         \        (  <_> )   |  \/ /_/ \  ___/|  | \/  Y Y  \  |   |  \/ /_/ |
          \__/\  / \____/|___|  /\____ |\___  >__|  |__|_|  /__|___|  /\____ |
               \/             \/      \/    \/            \/        \/      \/

Making ASCII art is a bit like trying to make a drawing with only one paintbrush and only very thick paint. Well, that’s exactly why it’s interesting to use it. In this post I’m going to show you how to make your own ASCII art pictures.

I have a confession to make. I didn’t actually draw the amazing ASCII art picture of Alice in the last post. Here’s my picture of Alice.

                           ....
                          :: ..           / /
                         ::   >          / /
                         ::  `          / /
                       //::  % \\      / /
                     //  |     | \\   / /
                    //   -------  \\  / /
                  -""o  X ~   ~ X   aa|
                  "    X /     \ X    |
                      X _________ X   |  -------
                     XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX  | |       |
                        | |   | |     | |     o |
                        | |   | |     | |     ' |
                        OOOOO OOOOO   | |       |

I hope you can see what it is. It’s Alice, holding a key, discovering the very little door, right at the beginning of the story.

Now listen carefully. All you need to make one a picture like this is

  • a word processor or text editor (or a typewriter)
  • your very own imagination (it also helps to copy a picture if you want a bit of inspiration – I did)

Here is a picture of your computer and mouse with a picture of you on the screen

                   ____________
                  |    ####    |
	   	  |    . . @   |           ____
	  	  |    9       |          |\    \
		  |      ||    | ---------| \    \
                   -------------      ____|   -----
		   \+++++++++++++\    \    \  |PC  |
		    \++++=====++++\   ()     \|o-- |
		                            '----'

So to draw, instead of paint or pencil you’re going to use the letters and numbers and symbols from the ASCII character set. You can’t use any others. Here are all the ASCII characters again

                  1234567890
                  abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz
                  ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
                  ! "#$%&'()*+,=./;:<=>?@ [\]^_`{|}~

Then you need to pick a ‘fixed width font’ like courier or monaco. That means all your letters and numbers and symbols take up the same space on the screen which makes it much easier arrange them (the font I’m using is courier which makes it look really old fashioned and neat).

If you want to draw a line you might use these characters:

                  ,,-´"`-./"¨"~-..,´\,^

If you want to add a bit of shading you use these characters, going from light shading to dark shading:

                  :?%$#

You are also going to have to use a lot of spaces:

<—————— there, that’s a space, but obviously you can’t see it

You’re all set up! Have a quick think about what you want to draw and get going! You could start by building up your picture line by line, from the top. Make sure you leave enough space away from the edge of the screen. This is where it gets really interesting. Because you’re restricted to the ASCII character set you have to be creative to achieve your visual effect. Smaller pictures are easier to draw, but look a lot more abstract (compare my picture of Alice to the picture in the last post).

The tricky bit comes when you want to make changes to your picture. If you delete a character the whole line moves! Don’t worry. Just remember to put in a space or another character elsewhere in the line. You have to remember, it’s easier than painting. You can’t delete paint quite so easily!

Why not start off by doing a picture of the Cheshire cat? (This is my attempt. I think you can probably do better).

                  ^_____^
	          (.) (.)
                  ( t   )   Miaowww
                    ==/

Or if you want to do something really quick and fun why not try making little picture that fit on a single line, a bit like the emoticons which we mentioned in the last post. I’ve made up some for some of the Alice characters (you can see them by tilting your head to the right).

               (:>   The Cheshire Cat
               =I;K   The mad, mad March hare
               =O^: \=   The Mad Hatter
               =|:3   The White Rabbit
               0;   The Mock Turtle (he has a shell and is crying)
               ):]   Beheaded footman
               >:]   Another beheaded footman (Don't worry, they weren't really beheaded)
               =O:$   The Queen
               =O:£   The King
               =0:>   The little pig
               ==== {': =   The caterpillar
               =O:,8   The Duchess
               =o:   The Baby
               O   The rabbit hole

If you get really into making ASCII art then there are tools on the internet which can help you. Try playing around with a website called ASCII flow. If you take half an hour to learn how to use it then it makes drawing some pictures a bit easier.

**COMPETITION**

“I mustn’t forget the puzzle competition,” said the Cheshire Cat. Remember, there’s one puzzle at the end of each of the four ‘Rabbit Hole’ posts. Write your answer for each puzzle in the comments. Then, when you have all four answers, email them to kids@tate.org.uk. If you’ve got the answer right you could win an iMac! GOOD LUCK!

For this puzzle I’ve been a bit sneaky. I’ve taken a paragraph from one of the chapters of Alice in Wonderland and I’ve reordered the words. Can you put them back in the correct order? (You might find the text of Alice in Wonderland useful again).

               "a about Alice and before deep dipped down down falling for found
               had herself like moment not on rabbit-hole she so some stopping
               straight suddenly that The then think to tunnel very way well went"

Good luck!

Discussion Area

  1. The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found herself falling down what seemed to be a very deep well.

    cara - January 19, 2012

  2. The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a very deep well.

    Tom Donaldson - January 19, 2012

  3. The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then
    dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think
    about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a very deep
    well.

    conor - January 21, 2012

  4. The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then
    dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think
    about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a very deep
    well.

    Eve - January 24, 2012

  5. The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way,
    and then dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not
    a moment to think about stopping herself before she found
    herself falling down a very deep well.

    Martha - January 30, 2012

  6. The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then
    dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think
    about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a very deep
    well.

    Clemmie - January 30, 2012

  7. The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a very deep well.

    Maya Williams - January 30, 2012

  8. The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found herself falling down what seemed to be a very deep well.

    Ruben - January 30, 2012

  9. the rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a very deep well.

    alex - January 31, 2012

  10. The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a very deep well.

    Georgina - February 1, 2012

  11. The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then
    dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think
    about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a very deep
    well.

    :D

    Megan - February 1, 2012

  12. The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then
    dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think
    about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a very deep
    well.

    Ivan - February 2, 2012

  13. The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, ant then dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself falling down a very deep well

    Jessica Pugh - February 4, 2012

  14. “The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then
    dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think
    about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a very deep
    well.”

    David A - February 4, 2012

  15. The rabbit hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice has not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a very deep well….

    Geor Geor - February 5, 2012

  16. The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found herself falling down what seemed to be a very deep well.

    Louise - February 5, 2012

  17. The Rabbit Hole went Straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a very steep well.

    Dami - February 5, 2012

  18. The Rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a very deep well;

    Dami - February 5, 2012

  19. The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then
    dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think
    about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a very deep
    well.

    Chloe - February 5, 2012

  20. The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then
    dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think
    about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a very deep
    well.

    Geraint Starr - February 2012 - February 5, 2012

  21. The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way and then dipped suddenly down so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a very deep well.

    Holly Winship - February 5, 2012

  22. The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found herself falling down what seemed to be a very deep well.

    Maddy o'sullivan - February 6, 2012

  23. The rabbt-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way and then dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a very deep well.

    Rachel Madeley - February 6, 2012

  24. The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then
    dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think
    about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a very deep
    well.

    Gemma - February 7, 2012

  25. The rabbit hole went straight on like a tunnel or some way and then dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found herself down a very deep well.

    Abby Glynn - February 8, 2012

  26. The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way and then dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a very deep well

    Eleni Harfoot - February 9, 2012

  27. The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a very deep well.

    Joanna Thorpe - February 10, 2012

  28. The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found herself falling down what seemed to be a very deep well.

    MazyP - February 10, 2012

  29. The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then
    dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think
    about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a very deep
    well.

    Daniella - February 10, 2012

  30. The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a very deep well.

    Bryony Hickson - February 11, 2012

  31. The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then
    dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think
    about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a very deep
    well.

    peta - February 11, 2012

  32. The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a very deep well.

    jessica - February 11, 2012

  33. The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a very deep well.

    Anna Tomlinson - February 11, 2012

  34. The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then
    dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think
    about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a very deep
    well.

    Anna Roberts - February 11, 2012

  35. The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a very deep well.

    Rhys Kilby - February 12, 2012

  36. The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found herself falling down what seemed to be a very deep well.

    luke kramer-gallery - February 12, 2012

  37. The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a very deep well;

    Lewis - February 12, 2012

  38. The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way and
    then dipped suddenly down,so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think
    about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a very deep well.

    Adele Poxon - February 12, 2012

  39. The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a very steep well.

    adam - February 12, 2012

  40. The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a very deep well.

    Matthew Menton - February 12, 2012

  41. The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a very deep well.

    alex moffat - February 12, 2012

  42. The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a very deep well

    Kristen Stearn - February 13, 2012

  43. The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a very deep well.

    steveb - February 14, 2012

  44. The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a very deep well.

    Bridie Iris Stocks, aged 9. - February 14, 2012

  45. The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a very deep well.

    Caroline Doyle - February 14, 2012

  46. The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way and then dipped suddenly down,so suddenly that alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a very deep well.

    Sonny Nye Meredith - February 15, 2012

  47. The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way and then dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a very deep well;

    Janette - February 16, 2012

  48. The rabbit hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice has not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a very deep well

    liam bristow - February 16, 2012

  49. The rabbit hole-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a very deep well;

    Alexis Pettie - February 17, 2012

  50. the rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a very deep well

    Lois dickerson - February 17, 2012

  51. The rabbit hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a very deep well;

    Eloise Adlam - February 17, 2012

  52. The rabbit hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a very deep well;

    Leo Adlam - February 17, 2012

  53. The rabbit hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a very deep well;

    Ellie Metcalfe - February 19, 2012

  54. The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a very deep well;

    Charlotte Perkins - February 19, 2012

  55. The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself falling down a very deep well.

    Jackie Goldston - February 20, 2012

  56. The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a very deep well

    Tamzin Myburgh - February 20, 2012

  57. The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself falling down a very deep well

    Harry Pugh - February 20, 2012

  58. THE RABBIT-HOLE WENT STRAIGHT ON LIKE A TUNNEL FOR SOME WAY, AND THEN DIPPED SUDDENLY DOWN, SO SUDDENLY THAT ALICE HAD NOT A MOMENT TO THINK ABOUT STOPPING HERSELF BEFORE SHE FOUND HERSELF FALLING DOWN A VERY DEEP WELL;

    Elaine Skidmore - February 21, 2012

  59. The rabbit-hole went staight on like a tunnel for some way, and then dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found herself falling gown a very deep well.

    lilly-faye - February 21, 2012

  60. The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a very deep well;

    Ryan Cinato - February 21, 2012

  61. The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found herself falling down what seemed to be a very deep well.

    Amina - February 21, 2012

  62. The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then dipped suddenly down,so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a very deep well.

    Thomas Randle - February 23, 2012

  63. the rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a very deep well;

    kirsty james - February 24, 2012

  64. The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a very deep well

    Hanna Dunleavy - February 25, 2012

  65. The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a very deep well.

    Sophie Corbett - February 26, 2012

  66. The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then dipped suddenly down,so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a very deep well;

    Harry Chadwick - February 26, 2012

  67. The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found herself falling down what seemed to be a very deep well.

    Luke Kearsley - February 26, 2012

  68. The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a very deep well.

    Jack Monkeyboy - February 27, 2012

  69. The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a very deep well;

    sonya ritchie - February 27, 2012

  70. The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a very deep well

    Max J - February 27, 2012

  71. The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a very deep well.

    Zhane Rose - February 29, 2012

  72. The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a very deep well.

    cameron aldridge - February 29, 2012

  73. ###### The Mad Hatter!
    ######
    ######
    ––––––––
    /O——-O\
    I—–U—–I
    \…..–…../
    .”"”"”"”"”

    SaveEarth - March 11, 2012