I've read them all (I couldn't wait).
Use monospace font
Start with a canvas (a text file filed with spaces)
Characters differences, shades, effects:
Sketching style chars: / ` " ' \ , . _ - = ~ ^ ; |
More on sketching style:
/ \ | - _ + ( ) < > , . ~ ^ " V X T Y I l L : ` ' ! j J 7
You usually start with those characters when sketching the outline: / \ | - _ ( )
Then try polish and not leave any gap.
| | | | |
| l l. \ l
| I `| Y `L
| | | | |
Near horizontal lines use those chars: ~"-.,_
Curves in sketchy style with those chars: / \ - _ ~ " . , ' ` ! I l Y
.-~" "~-. /
/ \ _.-~
Y Y ,^
| | /
l ! /
\ / __.-~
CIRCLE SUBTLE CURVATURES
A note on intersections:
I also consider the choice between "." an "," important because it
affects the smoothness of the line. For example, in the part on the
above curve: _.- :it looks like a "," may have been a better choice:
/ But as you can see here, using the
_,-~ comma has altered the flow of the
,^ line somewhat. It now appears as
/ more of a "step" rather than an
/ angled line.
CURVE USING COMMA
Intersections require yet another strategy. Often you'll find that one
line must join onto another at a place where the join isn't neat:
"-._ / "-._ / Here the incoming line should join
/ 7 onto the main part halfway through
/ / a "/". That's where you can use some
other chars. In this example, a "7"
INTERSECTION FIX would work well, as seen in the
example to the left.
You could also try "Z" "X" "T" "Y" as a replacement, but it depends
entirely on what is happening around that point as to which char works
the best. Other chars which work well in these situations are "K" "<" ">"
"r" "L" "j" "J" and "I" because they all point in at least 3 directions.
Solid Art Style:
Filled look chars: @ # $ & X % > / ; :
Subtilities chars: S $ : ; % X 0 O
Pay attention to uppercase and lowercase: S s X x O o @ a
Example of decreasing and increasing lines:
Ss,..,sS or -=*@*=- or .,%,.
SSss,,..,,ssSS or ..,,;;|;;,,..
By using a "heavy" character such as: W M H 8 :you build up a basic
silhouette (filled in outline)
Heavy characters and lighter ones create a contrast.
Then the same, you polish.
Once the basic shape is defined with the chosen character, the anti-
aliasing process is next. The most used chars are:
d b P F 9 V T Y A U _ , . - * ^ ~ " ` ' n a o l L j J k [ ] ( ) : \ / | !
Going back to the earlier "curve" examples, here they are in solid form:
SPHERE CURVED HILL
It's important to get a good understanding of how best to use the
characters. The basic forms are as follows:
_,.aomdAHAbmon.,_ For the upper curves.
"~^*YUHUP*^~" For the lower curves.
Solid artworks have outer edges.
The characters used to smoothen them are:
Good "outer" characters are: . , : ; ' `
For the transition from solid to outer edge: I H A U V T Y | i j d b
n a o [ ] :or basically anything that produces the desired effect.
Remember that characters have different position on the line, they can be used
as bridges with the line above or under.
Size of the art:
Smaller is harder, gives space to the imagination and needs more details.
Remember, shape is the most important aspect of small ascii art.
...it's not always necessary to be that detailed,
it is more important to focus on making the object immediately
Bigger is easier but annoying on the screen.
After a fast sketch, which consist of just drawing the boundaries.
Afterwards I'll go through and
add the highlighting, shading, and other detail work that I want.
Sometimes when you're sitting so close to the screen, tapping in the
pictures, NOTHING you do looks right. If that's the case, stand back
from the screen.... Or squint your eyes. Or if you wear glasses, take
them off for a moment. Many times you'll see the picture "come
together" when you try one of these little tricks.
In reduced format the text is actually transferred in graphics so
that an '8' would actually appear as a black square. This gave the
picture a rough look; the edges were all jagged. But, by
experimenting with various character changes I soon realized that
I could smooth out those jagged edges. I spent a lot of time
flipping back and forth between the normal and the reduced views.
About smoothing (or polishing):
The whole thing is visual as you could have guessed. So, the best
way I know to show you what I mean is by giving an example:
Take this Doesn't this
for example look smoother?
BTW, that reminds me of a quote I saw not too long ago: "A truly
wise person does not play leapfrog with a rhinoceros" :-)
I consider the "smoothing problem" as nothing more than a "weight
distribution problem". By shifting up the pixel density of an 8
with characters such as P, Y, ", etc., where necessary, and by
shifting down the pixel density of an 8 with characters such as b,
d, a, etc., where necessary, the graphic takes on a smoother look.
When choosing a picture:
You can start by drawing over it the highlight and main lines.