///ASCII art - Article

Normand Veilleux's ASCII Art Tutorial

Author: Normand Veilleux (can't find the original article URL)

                    Normand Veilleux's ASCII Art Tutorial

 Several people have asked me how I do what I do (smoothing out
 pictures,  etc.)  First, I would like to say that I am a complete
 beginner myself.  I had no drawing experience before Dec 11, 1993.
 At that time someone posted an ascii picture of Meriday (a
 professionally drawn nude, I think).  I found that picture a lot
 more appealing than the GIFs I have seen or the mainframe pictures
 from my University years.  Those tend to be hard the eyes from
 close up.

 Anyway, when someone else posted another nude that (I'm guessing
 here) was a cleaned up GIF.  I immediately saw there was lots of
 room for improvement and I decided to give it a try.  The only
 tools I had at my disposal were a PC with WordPerfect.  The big
 advantage I saw with WP was that I could toggle between a normal
 view of the picture and a reduced version since WP allowed me to
 view a full page of text at once on the screen.

 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.

 Oh, one thing I forgot to mention.  When I changed the font from
 "Courrier 10" to "Line Printer 16.67 cpi" for the LaserJet printer,
 I noticed that the jagged flaws appeared even more pronounced.
 This is why you'll see me mention once in a while that "the
 drawings I post are at their best when printed with 'Line Printer
 16.67 cpi' font or equivalent."  They were worked on using that
 font.  They still look very good in a regular font
 though.  That's the beauty of it all.

 I still do the same thing now, only a little faster.  It is a time
 consuming process and I see potential to automate some, if not a
 large portion of it.  I have asked a few people on the NET if they
 knew of any software that could lighten or darken an ascii picture,
 reduce or enlarge it, etc.  So far, no luck.

 I took a 15 hour bus ride (double it for the return trip) during
 the Christmas holidays up to Kapuskasing where my parents live.  So
 I had some time to think about things.  I came up with pseudocode
 for a program to lighten and darken a picture automatically.  That
 is, if the picture is dark, it will lighten it and vice versa
 without any cumbersome parameters of any sort.  It's extremely
 simple when you think about it for 3 to 4 hours.  I haven't had the
 chance to program any of it yet but given a week or two it will be
 implemented.

 I also wrote pseudocode for flipping a picture horizontally, and
 for reducing and enlarging one.  These were not quite as simple but
 it looks like it can work.  If any of you out there know of
 programs that do just that already please let me know ASAP.  You'll
 save me a lot of time.

 Thank's a million.

 I hope these "tips" have entertained as much as enlightened you.
 Like a person I use to listen to on radio often said "When I learn
 something during the day I go to bed at night less ignorant."

 And so it has been for me a joy to learn how to draw.

 From: Nveilleu@emr1.emr.ca (Normand Veilleux)
 Date: Sat Jan 08 16:08:26 CST 1994

 I have received a few requests to explain the "logic" behind the
 smoothing.  So far I have only explained what tools I use to create
 it (flipping back and forth from normal to reduced view in
 WordPerfect).  I will try to give here the same explanation I gave
 the first student who asked.  Since I did not save that discussion
 this one will be slightly different.

 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?

       8                              8
       88                             Yb
        88                             Yb
         888                            Y8a,
           88888                         `"Y888

 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.

 May sound simple when it's explained like that but I don't know
 where to start to program it.  I'll start with easier stuff first,
 like flipping a picture horizontally.  That's kids stuff.  I used
 a semi-manual technique when I had to flip my ascii face around.
 The picture I had drawn was a mirror image, so it had to be flipped
 to look right.  I created two small macros (less than 10 commands
 each) in WordPerfect which did the bulk of the work.  After that
 all I needed to do was about 20 global search and replaces.  It
 took about 5 - 10 minutes total.  It would have taken hours to
 retype it in reverse or to write a program to do it.

 Since I don't have access to a scanner, but I sometimes want to
 take a picture from paper and draw it in ascii I developed a GRID
 technique to help me out.  Anyone who wants to give it a try needs
 to create the grid electronically and then print it.  Here is how
 it works.  Start with the following grid:

 1.2.3.4.5.
 2.A.B.C.D.
 3.E.F.G.H.
 4.I.J.K.L.
 5.M.N.O.P.

 The dots can actually be replaced by spaces, so create the grid
 using your preference.

 Then, copy the whole grid horizontally until you fill all the width
 of the paper size you want to use.  And then, copy this new grid as
 many times as needed to fill the length of the page.  You will end
 up with something along these lines (with spaces):

 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5
 2 A B C D 2 A B C D 2 A B C D
 3 E F G H 3 E F G H 3 E F G H
 4 I J K L 4 I J K L 4 I J K L
 5 M N O P 5 M N O P 5 M N O P
 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5
 2 A B C D 2 A B C D 2 A B C D
 3 E F G H 3 E F G H 3 E F G H
 4 I J K L 4 I J K L 4 I J K L
 5 M N O P 5 M N O P 5 M N O P

 Now, get a printed copy of that grid and put it aside for a bit.

 BTW, this technique works best with pictures that are about 1/4 of
 an 8 1/2 x 11 piece of paper.  Larger pictures can also be done but
 are cumbersome and time consuming.  That is how I created three
 ascii pictures so far:  the hand that showed "that close", the ying
 yang, and my own face.  The toughest thing about the face was to
 draw it on paper first.

 At this stage you need to find a picture that is reasonably simple
 in terms of complexity :-)  In other words not too detailed; the
 coarser the better.  Something taken from a colouring book would
 probably be an excellent choice (although I have not used any
 myself yet).  You may need to "modify" the picture so that it will
 also "cooperate" to the process (especially if taken from a
 photograph or other source).

 With a photocopier, enlarge or reduce the picture so that it is
 close to the best size (as stated above).  Then, use a wide black
 marker to "highlight" the lines and contours (this may not be
 necessary if the picture came from a colouring book).  If there is
 a background image that you want to remove, just cut and tape white
 paper over those areas or just cut out the undesired areas.  This
 is important since the "junk" you would otherwise leave in would
 eventually interfere with the grid.

 When the lines are all really dark and just about all the
 background has been removed you can photocopy the new picture on
 the grid.  You may have to experiment a few times to get the
 picture to come out the same as the original on an upside up grid.

 When you have such an image you can now bring up the electronic
 grid.  Work at it from left to right and from top to bottom.  Put
 your word processor on typeover and space over the characters of
 the first line until you get to a character that is partially or
 completely covered by a dark line on the paper grid.  Use the 1 to
 5 and the A to P to locate the correct position.  When you get to
 such a character, try to find a character that resembles the shape
 of the line and type that in.  Ex: '8' for a character that is
 totally covered, 'a' for a character that has the bottom half
 covered, etc.  This is actually starting the smoothing process at
 the same time you are converting from paper to screen.  Remember
 that shading complicates things unnecessarily, so ignore it
 completely.

 Repeat this process for all the lines of the grid until the picture
 is completely transferred to electronic form.  You don't need to be
 an artist do this.  You just need to have some time on your hands.

 Of course at this point the ascii picture is still slightly rough,
 but at least you have the right proportions, etc.  Now you could
 try to smooth it out by using the "weight distribution" technique
 described above and perhaps a printed version of one of the ascii
 pictures I have smoothed (for concrete examples).

 It may sound very complicated at first, but just to give you an
 example, the ying yang I did (a few people informed me that I had
 forgotten the eyes):

             .,ad88888888baa,
         ,d8P"""        ""9888ba.
      .a8"          ,ad88888888888a
     aP'          ,88888888888888888a
   ,8"           ,88888888888888888888,
  ,8'            (888888888( )888888888,
 ,8'             `8888888888888888888888
 8)               `888888888888888888888,
 8                  "8888888888888888888)
 8                   `888888888888888888)
 8)                    "8888888888888888
 (b                     "88888888888888'
 `8,        (8)          8888888888888)
  "8a                   ,888888888888)
    V8,                 d88888888888"
     `8b,             ,d8888888888P'
       `V8a,       ,ad8888888888P'  Normand
          ""88888888888888888P"     Veilleux
               """"""""""""

 took just over half an hour using that technique.  I hope a few of
 you will be interested enough to try it out.  If you do, let us
 know how it goes.

 EXPERIMENT:    Would someone with access to a scanner and the
                GIF2ASC program (or an OCR) try the following:
                take a picture from a colouring book, scan it and
                then convert it to ascii.  Alternatively, tell your
                scanner that what you are scanning is text, if you
                have an OCR.  I am under the impression that the
                results would be quite presentable.  Of course,
                sometimes theory and practice differ considerably.
                Please post your findings.

 From: Normand Veilleux 
 Date: 27 Jun 1994 20:26:35 -0500

 I have seen several ascii versions of the Mona Lisa circulating in
 alt.ascii-art but I was not happy with any of them.  They all
 appeared to be converted GIFs and even the best one, which was
 distinctly superior to all the others, only looked decent when I
 stood back at least 5 feet from it.  It also had the drawback of
 being stretched vertically.  So I decided to make my own.

 I also wanted to take this opportunity to give a concrete example
 of how the special grid technique that I use, accelerates and
 simplifies the creation of many ASCII drawings.  I wanted to
 explain, as much as possible, what was involved in drawing by
 "hand" the ASCII version of a relatively complex picture while
 starting from scratch.

 I have described the grid technique in a previous post (in Jan.
 '94), but a recapitulation is necessary before going any further.
 Basically, the grid was nothing more than a series of characters
 that filled up the area taken by the drawing.  I realized that the
 characters composing the grid would be more useful if they were
 chosen to help pinpoint where a particular portion of the drawing
 was located within the grid.

 There was many ways of doing this, but I opted for the following
 rectangle (10 x 5 characters):

 1.2.3.4.5.
 2.A.B.C.D.
 3.E.F.G.H.
 4.I.J.K.L.
 5.M.N.O.P.

 This rectangle was then replicated horizontally and vertically
 until an area the size of an 8.5" x 11" page was filled up.  I
 later decided to replace the periods by spaces to "lighten" the
 grid.  This created an electronic grid which looked like this:

 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4
 2 A B C D 2 A B C D 2 A B C D 2 A B C D 2 A B C D 2 A B C D 2 A B C D 2 A B C
 3 E F G H 3 E F G H 3 E F G H 3 E F G H 3 E F G H 3 E F G H 3 E F G H 3 E F G
 4 I J K L 4 I J K L 4 I J K L 4 I J K L 4 I J K L 4 I J K L 4 I J K L 4 I J K
 5 M N O P 5 M N O P 5 M N O P 5 M N O P 5 M N O P 5 M N O P 5 M N O P 5 M N O
 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4
 2 A B C D 2 A B C D 2 A B C D 2 A B C D 2 A B C D 2 A B C D 2 A B C D 2 A B C
 3 E F G H 3 E F G H 3 E F G H 3 E F G H 3 E F G H 3 E F G H 3 E F G H 3 E F G
 4 I J K L 4 I J K L 4 I J K L 4 I J K L 4 I J K L 4 I J K L 4 I J K L 4 I J K
 5 M N O P 5 M N O P 5 M N O P 5 M N O P 5 M N O P 5 M N O P 5 M N O P 5 M N O

 The characters 1 to 5 produced horizontal and vertical guidelines.
 With these guidelines, I could quickly locate the approximate area
 of the grid that I wanted to work on.  To pinpoint the exact
 location, I relied on the letters A to P which appeared only once
 inside each rectangle.

 Of course, the electronic grid alone was not very useful until I
 could somehow relate it to the drawing.  To do so, I printed out
 the grid and then photocopied it on an acetate for reusability.
 Then, whenever I wanted to work on a picture, I taped a photocopy
 of it to the back of the acetate and brought up the electronic grid
 on the screen.  By the intermediary of the grid, I automatically
 had a relationship between the picture on paper and the screen.

 TIP: If you ever print a grid on an acetate, make sure to cover the
      acetate with clear tape afterwards to prevent your fingers
      from eroding the toner.  I learned the hard way.

 Now, back to Mona.  You may find the discussion a little difficult
 to follow at times without a picture, so either find a copy of the
 Mona Lisa or print out this file.

 In search of a decent reproduction of the Mona Lisa I went to the
 closest library and found an excellent example on page 25 of the
 book "Leonard de Vinci" published by McGraw-Hill in 1974.  The
 picture measured about 9.5" x 12" and was in full colour.

 Next, I photocopied the picture.  The lowest darkness setting gave
 the best result, but was still a little bit too dark in certain
 areas to distinguish some of the lines.  Before addressing that
 problem, I decided to cut the photocopy so that the resulting
 picture could fit in 55 lines by 78 columns.  This was
 approximately double the height of the head and was wide enough to
 show a large portion of both shoulders.

 To make the barely discernable lines more visible, I highlighted
 them with a blue pen.  I made sure to draw those lines about one
 sixteenth of an inch thick so they would be clearly visible.
 Experience had taught me that very fine lines were often too
 difficult to distinguish from a dark background once the grid was
 superimposed on the picture.  The affected lines were:  the lines
 between veil and hair, hair and background, chin and throat, and
 the lines on each side of the face and on each side of the arched
 garment extending to her left shoulder (referred to as the shawl in
 the rest of this document).  While I was at it, I also highlighted
 the contours of the lips, nose and eyes in the same manner.  I then
 taped the touched up photocopy behind the acetate which had the
 grid.

 The next step was to load the electronic version of the grid in my
 favourite word processor (WordPerfect).  Before starting work, I
 decided to represent the dark areas of the picture with an "8" (I'm
 sure you guessed that), the shawl with an "I" and the veil with an
 "8" if it was covering any hair and with an "I" if it was not (or
 to show its border in the hair).  I chose those characters since
 they contrasted very well:  it was easy to distinguish a line of
 I's in an area filled with 8's.

 Then, I determined which character of the acetate corresponded to
 the top of her left shoulder and located that character on the
 electronic grid.  While holding the acetate in my left hand and
 marking my position on it with my thumb, I delimited the contour
 (only one character wide) around the bottom of the picture (counter
 clockwise) up to her right shoulder by replacing the characters of
 the grid with 8's except for the ends of the shawl which needed
 I's.

 I then continued up the picture, line by line, while overwriting
 the grid's characters with spaces until I got to the first
 character delimiting the border of Mona's hair or veil, as
 determined from the acetate.  At that point, I typed one of four
 characters: "8", "d", "`" or "," depending on which one
 corresponded best to the dark portion of the picture at that
 location on the acetate.  I then typed two more 8's and a space;
 just enough to define the contour.  Of course, when I was in the
 area where the veil was the first thing to be reached I used I's
 instead of 8's.

 I repeated that process for each line until I reached the top of
 the head.  There, I decided to follow the inside line of the hair
 while going down the right side of the picture.  So, I first
 started by defining the hair line on the forehead and filling the
 top of the head with 8's.  Then, starting at the inside line for
 the hair I typed 8's until I reached the other side of the hair and
 then added a "b" or a "," if necessary.  I also made sure to drop
 an "I" along the way at the exact location where I had shown the
 veil to start covering the hair (it was a blue line on the
 photocopy).  I continued this, line by line, until I reached the
 top of the shawl.

 So, half an hour after loading the grid I was at this stage:

                                   _______
                            _,,ad8888888888bba,_
                         ,8888888888888888888888888,
                       ,888888888888888888888888888888,
                     ,8888888888888888888888888888888888,
                    d88888PP"""""""YY888888888888888888888,
                  ,88  A B C D 2 A B C D 2 ""Y8888888888888,
                 ,II 3 E F G H 3 E F G H 3 E  IIII8888888888,
                ,II  4 I J K L 4 I J K L 4 I J `888III8888888,
              ,II  P 5 M N O P 5 M N O P 5 M N  `888888I888888,
             ,II 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4  `888888I8888b
            ,II  C D 2 A B C D 2 A B C D 2 A B C D 8888888I8888,
            II8  G H 3 E F G H 3 E F G H 3 E F G H `8888888I888b
            II8  K L 4 I J K L 4 I J K L 4 I J K L  88888888I888
            II8  O P 5 M N O P 5 M N O P 5 M N O P  88888888I888,
            II8  4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 ,888888888I88b
           ,II B C D 2 A B C D 2 A B C D 2 A B C D 8888888888I888
           II8 F G H 3 E F G H 3 E F G H 3 E F G H 8888888888I888,
          ,II  J K L 4 I J K L 4 I J K L 4 I J K L 8888888888I888b
          II8  N O P 5 M N O P 5 M N O P 5 M N O P 88888888888I888
          II8  3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 88888888888I888,
          II8  B C D 2 A B C D 2 A B C D 2 A B C D 88888888888I888b
          II8  F G H 3 E F G H 3 E F G H 3 E F G H 88888888888I8888,
          II8  J K L 4 I J K L 4 I J K L 4 I J K L 88888888888I8888b
          II8  N O P 5 M N O P 5 M N O P 5 M N O P 88888888888I88888
          II8  3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 88888888888I88888
          `II  B C D 2 A B C D 2 A B C D 2 A B C D 88888888888I88888
           II8 F G H 3 E F G H 3 E F G H 3 E F G H 8888888888I888888,
           `II J K L 4 I J K L 4 I J K L 4 I J K L 8888888888I888888b
            `II  O P 5 M N O P 5 M N O P 5 M N O P 8888888888I8888888
             `II 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 `888888888I8888888,
              II8  D 2 A B C D 2 A B C D 2 A B C D  888888888I88888888,
             ,II G H 3 E F G H 3 E F G H 3 E F G H  `88888888I888888888,
             II8 K L 4 I J K L 4 I J K L 4 I J K L 4 88888888I8888888888,
             II8 O P 5 M N O P 5 M N O P 5 M N O P 5 88888888I888888888888,
            ,II  4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 `8888888I88888888888888,
            II8  C D 2 A B C D 2 A B C D 2 A B C D 2  8888888I888888888888888b
           ,II F G H 3 E F G H 3 E F G H 3 E F G H 3 ,8888888I8888888888888888
          ,88  J K L 4 I J K L 4 I J K L 4 I J K L 4 I J K L 4 I J K L 4 I J I
       ,88 5 M N O P 5 M N O P 5 M N O P 5 M N O P 5 M N O P 5 M N O P 5 M N I
     ,88 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 I
   ,88 C D 2 A B C D 2 A B C D 2 A B C D 2 A B C D 2 A B C D 2 A B C D 2 A B I
  ,88  G H 3 E F G H 3 E F G H 3 E F G H 3 E F G H 3 E F G H 3 E F G H 3 E F I
 d88 J K L 4 I J K L 4 I J K L 4 I J K L 4 I J K L 4 I J K L 4 I J K L 4 I J I
 8 M N O P 5 M N O P 5 M N O P 5 M N O P 5 M N O P 5 M N O P 5 M N O P 5 M N 8
 8 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 8
 8 A B C D 2 A B C D 2 A B C D 2 A B C D 2 A B C D 2 A B C D 2 A B C D 2 A B 8
 8 E F G H 3 E F G H 3 E F G H 3 E F G H 3 E F G H 3 E F G H 3 E F G H 3 E F 8
 8 I J K L 4 I J K L 4 I J K L 4 I J K L 4 I J K L 4 I J K L 4 I J K L 4 I J 8
 8 M N O P 5 M N O P 5 M N O P 5 M N O P 5 M N O P 5 M N O P 5 M N O P 5 M N 8
 8 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 8
 8 A B C D 2 A B C D 2 A B C D 2 A B C D 2 A B C D 2 A B C D 2 A B C D 2 A B 8
 8 E F G H 3 E F G H 3 E F G H 3 E F G H 3 E F G H 3 E F G H 3 E F G H 3 E F 8
 8 I J K L 4 I J K L 4 I J K L 4 I J K L 4 I J K L 4 I J K L 4 I J K L 4 I J 8
 8888888888888888888888888888888IIIIIIIIIIIIII88888888888888888888888888888888

 Here, it seemed appropriate to fill in the shawl with I's which
 automatically led to filling in the bottom right corner with 8's
 and adding my name.  I then completed the small portion of hair at
 the top of the shawl.  Then, I defined the upper portion of the
 garment, beside the veil, and filled in the section below that with
 8's.  Next, I filled the rest of the hair (on the left side of the
 picture) with 8's while defining the hair's inside line.  I also
 filled in, with spaces, the area of skin from the top of the
 garment up to the throat.  Next, I drew the veil on the forehead
 and filled in the rest of the forehead with spaces.  And finally I
 smoothed all the lines drawn so far, leaving the face for last.

 So, after one hour of work I was at this stage:

                                   _______
                            _,,ad8888888888bba,_
                         ,ad88888I888888888888888ba,
                       ,88888888I88888888888888888888a,
                     ,d888888888I8888888888888888888888b,
                    d88888PP"""" ""YY88888888888888888888b,
                  ,d88"'__,,--------,,,,._ ""Y8888888888888,
                 ,8II-'"                  "```IIII8888888888,
                ,I88'                          `Y88III8888888,
              ,II88I                            `Y88888I888888,
             ,II888'                              `888888I8888b
            ,II8888                                Y888888I8888,
            II88888                                `8888888I888b
            II88888, 4 I J K L 4 I J K L 4 I J K L  88888888I888
            II88888I 5 M N O P 5 M N O P 5 M N O P  88888888I888,
            II88888' 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 ,888888888I88I
           ,II88888  2 A B C D 2 A B C D 2 A B C D d888888888I888
           III88888, 3 E F G H 3 E F G H 3 E F G H 8888888888I888,
          ,III88888I 4 I J K L 4 I J K L 4 I J K L 8888888888I888I
          III888888I 5 M N O P 5 M N O P 5 M N O P 88888888888I888
          II88888888,  2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 88888888888I888,
          II88888888I  A B C D 2 A B C D 2 A B C D 88888888888I888b
          ]I888888888, E F G H 3 E F G H 3 E F G H 88888888888I8888,
          II888888888I I J K L 4 I J K L 4 I J K L 88888888888I8888I
          II8888888888b  N O P 5 M N O P 5 M N O P 88888888888I88888
          II888888888888a  4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 88888888888I88888
          `II8888888888888b, D 2 A B C D 2 A B C D 88888888888I88888
           II888888888888888ba,_ E F G H 3 E F G H 8888888888I888888,
           `II88888888888888888b I J K L 4 I J K L I888888888I888888b
            `II88888888888888888 M N O P 5 M N O P I888888888I8888888
             `II8888888888888888                   `888888888I8888888,
              II8888888888888888,                   Y88888888I8888888b,
             ,II8888888888888888b                   `88888888I88888888b,
             II888888888888888P"I                    88888888I8888888888,
             II888888888888P"   `                    Y8888888I88888888888b,
            ,II888888888P"                           `8888888I8888888888888b,
            II888888888'                              8888888I888888888888888b
           ,II888888888                              ,8888888I8888888888888888
          ,d88888888888                              d888888I8888888888IIIIIII
       ,ad888888888888I                              8888888I8888IIIIIIIIIIIII
     ,d888888888888888'                              888888IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII
   ,d888888888888P'8P'                               Y888IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII
  ,8888888888888,  "                                 ,IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII
 d888888888888888,                                ,IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII
 888888888888888888a,      _                    ,IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII888888888
 888888888888888888888ba,_d'                  ,IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII88888888888888
 8888888888888888888888888888bbbaaa,,,______,IIIIIIIIIIIIIII888888888888888888
 88888888888888888888888888888888888888888IIIIIIIIIIIIIII888888888888888888888
 8888888888888888888888888888888888888888IIIIIIIIIIIIII88888888888888888888888
 888888888888888888888888888888888888888IIIIIIIIIIIIII888888888888888888888888
 8888888888888888888888888888888888888IIIIIIIIIIIIII88888888888888888888888888
 88888888888888888888888888888888888IIIIIIIIIIIIII8888888888888888888888888888
 8888888888888888888888888888888888IIIIIIIIIIIIII88888888888888888 Normand  88
 88888888888888888888888888888888IIIIIIIIIIIIII8888888888888888888 Veilleux 88
 8888888888888888888888888888888IIIIIIIIIIIIII88888888888888888888888888888888

 I found the shawl to be much too pale in comparison to the rest of
 the garment, so I tried replacing the I's with darker characters
 such as M, H, A, etc.   Unfortunately, even though I could see the
 difference on the screen reasonably well, I could not see any
 difference between those characters and the surrounding 8's when I
 used the reduced view feature of WordPerfect.  I have been using
 this feature to view an entire page at a time on the screen.  It's
 only when I tried a 'Z' that I was able to distinguish between the
 two characters in the reduced view.  So, 'Z' had my vote.

 I then worked on the face for about half an hour, defining the
 mouth, nose, eyes, etc.  I tried my preferred style first, but it
 looked awful so I tried line draw instead without any more success.
 Nothing seemed to work, so I reverted back to my preferred style of
 ASCII drawing and to be true to it I did not add any shading to the
 face.

 This was how the picture looked at that stage:

                                   _______
                            _,,ad8888888888bba,_
                         ,ad88888I888888888888888ba,
                       ,88888888I88888888888888888888a,
                     ,d888888888I8888888888888888888888b,
                    d88888PP"""" ""YY88888888888888888888b,
                  ,d88"'__,,--------,,,,._ ""Y8888888888888,
                 ,8II-'"                  "```IIII8888888888,
                ,I88'                          `Y88III8888888,
              ,II88I                            `Y88888I888888,
             ,II888'                              `888888I8888b
            ,II8888                                Y888888I8888,
            II88888                                `8888888I888b
            II88888,   .aag,    ,gaaP""             88888888I888
            II88888I    ___"b  d"    ____           88888888I888,
            II88888'  <^I88>I  I   <^I888'         ,888888888I88I
           ,II88888  . `""" I  I    `""" .         d888888888I888
           III88888,  ````     b     ''''          8888888888I888,
          ,III88888I                               8888888888I888I
          III888888I        ,   \,                 88888888888I888
          II88888888,      I'    "I                88888888888I888,
          II88888888I      `"baad"'               ,88888888888I888b
          ]I888888888,                           ,P88888888888I8888,
          II888888888I    "Y88bd888P"          ,d" 88888888888I8888I
          II8888888888b     `"""""          _,8"  ,88888888888I88888
          II888888888888a                _,P"'   ,d88888888888I88888
          `II8888888888888b,          _,d"'    ,aP"88888888888I88888
           II888888888888888ba,__,,ad""    _,aP"   8888888888I888888,
           `II88888888888888888b"ba,,,,aadP"'      I888888888I888888b
            `II88888888888888888  `""""'           I888888888I8888888
             `II8888888888888888                   `888888888I8888888,
              II8888888888888888,                   Y88888888I8888888b,
             ,II8888888888888888b                   `88888888I88888888b,
             II888888888888888P"I                    88888888I8888888888,
             II888888888888P"   `                    Y8888888I88888888888b,
            ,II888888888P"                           `8888888I8888888888888b,
            II888888888'                              8888888I888888888888888b
           ,II888888888                              ,8888888I8888888888888888
          ,d88888888888                              d888888I8888888888ZZZZZZZ
       ,ad888888888888I                              8888888I8888ZZZZZZZZZZZZZ
     ,d888888888888888'                              888888IZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ
   ,d888888888888P'8P'                               Y888ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ
  ,8888888888888,  "                                 ,ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ
 d888888888888888,                                ,ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ
 888888888888888888a,      _                    ,ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ888888888
 888888888888888888888ba,_d'                  ,ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ88888888888888
 8888888888888888888888888888bbbaaa,,,______,ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ888888888888888888
 88888888888888888888888888888888888888888ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ888888888888888888888
 8888888888888888888888888888888888888888ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ88888888888888888888888
 888888888888888888888888888888888888888ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ888888888888888888888888
 8888888888888888888888888888888888888ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ88888888888888888888888888
 88888888888888888888888888888888888ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ8888888888888888888888888888
 8888888888888888888888888888888888ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ88888888888888888 Normand  88
 88888888888888888888888888888888ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ8888888888888888888 Veilleux 88
 8888888888888888888888888888888ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ88888888888888888888888888888888

 Since I could not seem to improve the face, I decided to try and
 experiment with shading to see if that could help.  Well, it did
 not turn out the way I thought it would: the shading was too pale.
 So I ended up losing half an hour to get to this stage:

                                   _______
                            _,,ad8888888888bba,_
                         ,ad88888I888888888888888ba,
                       ,88888888I88888888888888888888a,
                     ,d88888888I88888888888888888888888b,
                    d88888PP""" """YY88888888888888888888b,
                  ,d88"'__,,--------,,,;:::""Y8888888888888,
                 ,8II:'"              .,:.":::IIII8888888888,
                ,I88:.                 ...::::::Y88III8888888,
              ,II88I:.                   :..:::::Y88888I888888,
             ,II888'..                  :.:...:::::888888I8888b
            ,II8888.                        .::::::Y888888I8888,
            II88888:                        .:::::::8888888I888b
            II88888;   .aag,    ,gaaP""... .:.::::::88888888I888
            II88888I:::::::"b  d":::::;;::, :..:::::88888888I888,
            II88888'::<^I88>I  I::.<^I888'   ..:.::;888888888I88I
           ,II88888  . `""" I  I:.. `""" .   ..:.::d888888888I888
           III88888,  ````     b;.   ''''   ..:.:::8888888888I888,
          ,III88888I            :.         ..:.::::8888888888I888I
          III888888I        ,   :,         :::.::::88888888888I888
          II88888888;:     I'    "I       :.:.:::::88888888888I888,
          II88888888I:.    `"baad":       .:::.::::88888888888I888b
          ]I888888888;:.:.    :.:..:.:: ..:.:.:::::88888888888I8888,
          II888888888I:. ."Y88bd888P"   ..::.::::::88888888888I8888I
          II8888888888b::.  `""""'.:.:.:.::.::::::;88888888888I88888
          II888888888888a:.   :::::.:. .:,aP:::::;d88888888888I88888
          `II8888888888888b;.    ..::.;aP":::::;aP:88888888888I88888
           II888888888888888ba,__,,aP"::::::;aP::::8888888888I888888,
           `II88888888888888888b"ba;;;;aadP":::::::I888888888I888888b
            `II88888888888888888 .:::::::::::::::::I888888888I8888888
             `II8888888888888888  .::::::::::::::..`888888888I8888888,
              II8888888888888888,   ..::.:::::.:..  Y88888888I8888888b,
             ,II8888888888888888b      .::..:..     `88888888I88888888b,
             II888888888888888P"I        ..:.        88888888I8888888888,
             II888888888888P"::.`                    Y8888888I88888888888b,
            ,II888888888P".:::                       `8888888I8888888888888b,
            II888888888'                              8888888I888888888888888b

 Later, I decided to give line drawing another chance and started
 working on the face with no shading.  I managed to get a decent
 looking nose in about 5 minutes so I continued and slowly but
 surely the rest of the face took on a new look that was much better
 than anything obtained so far.  It took about half an hour of trial
 and error to get to this:

                                   _______
                            _,,ad8888888888bba,_
                         ,ad88888I888888888888888ba,
                       ,88888888I88888888888888888888a,
                     ,d888888888I8888888888888888888888b,
                    d88888PP"""" ""YY88888888888888888888b,
                  ,d88"'__,,--------,,,,._ ""Y8888888888888,
                 ,8II-'"                  "```IIII8888888888,
                ,I88'                          `Y88III8888888,
              ,II88I                            `Y88888I888888,
             ,II888'                              `888888I8888b
            ,II8888                                Y888888I8888,
            II88888                                `8888888I888b
            II88888,    ---.      ..-----           88888888I888
            II88888I   _,,_ `.  .'   _,,_           88888888I888,
            II88888'  <'(@@> |  |   <'(@@>         ,888888888I88I
           ,II88888    `"""  |  |    `"""          d888888888I888
           III88888,            `                  8888888888I888,
          ,III88888I                               8888888888I888I
          III888888I        ,   ',                 88888888888I888
          II88888888,      (_    _)                88888888888I888,
          II88888888I        `--'                 ,88888888888I888b
          ]I888888888,                           ,P88888888888I8888,
          II888888888I    "Y88bd888P"          ,d" 88888888888I8888I
          II8888888888b     `"""""          _,8"  ,88888888888I88888
          II888888888888a                _,P"'   ,d88888888888I88888
          `II8888888888888b,          _,d"'    ,aP"88888888888I88888
           II888888888888888ba,__,,ad""    _,aP"   8888888888I888888,
           `II88888888888888888b"ba,,,,aadP"'      I888888888I888888b
            `II88888888888888888  `""""'           I888888888I8888888
             `II8888888888888888                   `888888888I8888888,
              II8888888888888888,                   Y88888888I8888888b,
             ,II8888888888888888b                   `88888888I88888888b,
             II888888888888888P"I                    88888888I8888888888,
             II888888888888P"   `                    Y8888888I88888888888b,
            ,II888888888P"                           `8888888I8888888888888b,
            II888888888'                              888888I8888888888888888b
           ,II888888888                              ,888888I88888888888888888
          ,d88888888888                              d888888I8888888888ZZZZZZZ
       ,ad888888888888I                              8888888I8888ZZZZZZZZZZZZZ
     ,d888888888888888'                              888888IZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ
   ,d888888888888P'8P'                               Y888ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ
  ,8888888888888,  "                                 ,ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ
 d888888888888888,                                ,ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ
 888888888888888888a,      _                    ,ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ888888888
 888888888888888888888ba,_d'                  ,ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ88888888888888
 8888888888888888888888888888bbbaaa,,,______,ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ888888888888888888
 88888888888888888888888888888888888888888ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ888888888888888888888
 8888888888888888888888888888888888888888ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ88888888888888888888888
 888888888888888888888888888888888888888ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ888888888888888888888888
 8888888888888888888888888888888888888ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ88888888888888888888888888
 88888888888888888888888888888888888ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ8888888888888888888888888888
 8888888888888888888888888888888888ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ88888888888888888 Normand  88
 88888888888888888888888888888888ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ8888888888888888888 Veilleux 88
 8888888888888888888888888888888ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ88888888888888888888888888888888

 I decided to consider this the final unshaded version.

 Now, the question remained: would it be worthwhile to add in the
 shading?  I showed the unshaded version of the picture to a friend
 who is a graphic designer.  It didn't take him long to mention
 shading as the next step.  I showed him the first attempt
 (displayed above) and admitted that I had no idea how to improve
 it.  He suggested using a printed copy of my unshaded picture and
 drawing the shading on it first, before attempting to draw it on
 the computer.

 Well, that almost discouraged me right there.  Drawing simple stuff
 on paper was not a problem, but when it came to shading I didn't
 have a clue how it could be done.  He helped by pointing out that
 I could start by drawing the outer edge of the faintest shading as
 though it were a regular object.  I could then define another line
 that would represent the "middle ground" of the shading.  He
 suggested not to use more than 2 or 3 different levels of shading.
 So off to the drawing board I went.

 I did not keep all the stages of the shading, but suffice to say
 that it took about twice as much time then all the rest of the
 picture.  This was the final result of the shaded version:

                                   _______
                            _,,ad8888888888bba,_
                         ,ad88888I888888888888888ba,
                       ,88888888I88888888888888888888a,
                     ,d888888888I8888888888888888888888b,
                    d88888PP"""" ""YY88888888888888888888b,
                  ,d88"'__,,--------,,,,.;ZZZY8888888888888,
                 ,8IIl'"                ;;l"ZZZIII8888888888,
                ,I88l;'                  ;lZZZZZ888III8888888,
              ,II88Zl;.                  ;llZZZZZ888888I888888,
             ,II888Zl;.                .;;;;;lllZZZ888888I8888b
            ,II8888Z;;                 `;;;;;''llZZ8888888I8888,
            II88888Z;'                        .;lZZZ8888888I888b
            II88888Z; _,aaa,      .,aaaaa,__.l;llZZZ88888888I888
            II88888IZZZZZZZZZ,  .ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ;llZZ88888888I888,
            II88888IZZ<'(@@>Z|  |ZZZ<'(@@>ZZZZ;;llZZ888888888I88I
           ,II88888;   `""" ;|  |ZZ; `"""     ;;llZ8888888888I888
           II888888l            `;;          .;llZZ8888888888I888,
          ,II888888Z;           ;;;        .;;llZZZ8888888888I888I
          III888888Zl;    ..,   `;;       ,;;lllZZZ88888888888I888
          II88888888Z;;...;(_    _)      ,;;;llZZZZ88888888888I888,
          II88888888Zl;;;;;' `--'Z;.   .,;;;;llZZZZ88888888888I888b
          ]I888888888Z;;;;'   ";llllll;..;;;lllZZZZ88888888888I8888,
          II888888888Zl.;;"Y88bd888P";;,..;lllZZZZZ88888888888I8888I
          II8888888888Zl;.; `"PPP";;;,..;lllZZZZZZZ88888888888I88888
          II888888888888Zl;;. `;;;l;;;;lllZZZZZZZZW88888888888I88888
          `II8888888888888Zl;.    ,;;lllZZZZZZZZWMZ88888888888I88888
           II8888888888888888ZbaalllZZZZZZZZZWWMZZZ8888888888I888888,
           `II88888888888888888b"WWZZZZZWWWMMZZZZZZI888888888I888888b
            `II88888888888888888;ZZMMMMMMZZZZZZZZllI888888888I8888888
             `II8888888888888888 `;lZZZZZZZZZZZlllll888888888I8888888,
              II8888888888888888, `;lllZZZZllllll;;.Y88888888I8888888b,
             ,II8888888888888888b   .;;lllllll;;;.;..88888888I88888888b,
             II888888888888888PZI;.  .`;;;.;;;..; ...88888888I8888888888,
             II888888888888PZ;;';;.   ;. .;.  .;. .. Y8888888I88888888888b,
            ,II888888888PZ;;'                        `8888888I8888888888888b,
            II888888888'                              888888I8888888888888888b
           ,II888888888                              ,888888I88888888888888888
          ,d88888888888                              d888888I8888888888ZZZZZZZ
       ,ad888888888888I                              8888888I8888ZZZZZZZZZZZZZ
     ,d888888888888888'                              888888IZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ
   ,d888888888888P'8P'                               Y888ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ
  ,8888888888888,  "                                 ,ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ
 d888888888888888,                                ,ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ
 888888888888888888a,      _                    ,ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ888888888
 888888888888888888888ba,_d'                  ,ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ88888888888888
 8888888888888888888888888888bbbaaa,,,______,ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ888888888888888888
 88888888888888888888888888888888888888888ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ888888888888888888888
 8888888888888888888888888888888888888888ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ88888888888888888888888
 888888888888888888888888888888888888888ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ888888888888888888888888
 8888888888888888888888888888888888888ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ88888888888888888888888888
 88888888888888888888888888888888888ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ8888888888888888888888888888
 8888888888888888888888888888888888ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ88888888888888888 Normand  88
 88888888888888888888888888888888ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ8888888888888888888 Veilleux 88
 8888888888888888888888888888888ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ88888888888888888888888888888888

 As you can see, the grid system that I have been working with since
 January '94 allows to very quickly transfer the large details from
 paper to screen while keeping the proportions of the original
 picture.  This eliminates a lot of the time-consuming
 experimentation otherwise required to get the right proportions.
 You can't go wrong with the grid:  the characters that compose it
 allow you to "see" where you should start and where you should
 stop.  The skills required to use it are fairly simple as well,
 although they do need to be practiced.  One thing the grid cannot
 do though, is eliminate the experimentation needed for the
 finishing touch:  the smaller details, the smoothing, the shading,
 etc.

      ---<-<@    ---<-<@   ---<-<@    ---<-<@   ---<-<@

 A big thank you goes to Rowan Crawford who spent time revising an
 earlier draft of this document and who provided many useful
 suggestions to improve its contents.

 The pictures I post are at their best when printed with a
 'Line Printer 16.67 cpi' font or equivalent.

     ___        _______
   ,88888,    ,d88888888a
  ,88" `Y8,  ,88"'   `"Y8i     ,ggggg,   ,ggggg,   ,ggg,,ggg,,ggg,
  I8b,  `8b ,88'       d8I    dP"  "Y8ggg8""""8I  ,8" "8P" "8P" "8,
  `Y8P   88.88'       ,88'   i8'    ,8I       8I  I8   8I   8I   8I
         (8V8'        d8P    I8,   ,d8'       Y8,,dP   8I   8I   Yb,
         (88P        ,8P     `Y8888P"         `Y88P'   8I   8I   `Y8ba
         d88         d8'
        ,88'        ,8P                 _,,ggdd888bbgg,,_
        d8P         I8I            _,gd8888P"""""""""Y8888bg,_
       ,88          I8b       _,gd88P"""'               `"""Y88bg,_
       88'          `Y8b,__,gd8P""'      Normand Veilleux     `""Y8bg,_
      d8P            `Y88888P"'        nveilleu@emr1.emr.ca       `"Y88ba


ASCII art collection Animated ASCII art collection

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