Targon's ASCII Art Tutorials

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Note: some of the directions apply only to the GEnie computer service.

Punch Art is not as hard as you would think if you prepare your canvas first. Here are some tips that might help.

  1. I start my canvas by selecting this topic from Aladdin's j screen and selecting R to reply.
  2. When the reply screen is open, I draw a line from the left border to one space from the right border.
  3. Then I hit return 20 times and draw another line at the bottom of the screen.
                       (like so)
(Press return)     (Use the space bar to move the cursor to here!)
(Press return)
(Repeat above 20 times)        (You are doing this because the cursor 
                               cannot be moved where it has never been before.)
  1. Then I return the cursor to the first line and use the space bar to move the cursor to one space from the end of the line.
  2. I use the arrow key to move the cursor down to the next line. It will automatically go to the beginning of the line. I then use the space bar to move it to one space from the end of the line.
  3. I repeat this until I reach the line I drew at the bottom of the canvas. Once this is done, your canvas is ready. You can now use the arrow keys to move your cursor anywhere you want and you are ready to begin your drawing.
  4. To draw on the canvas, I press the insert key to go into type-over mode. This is important so that when you enter characters, your cursor does not insert spaces.
  5. If you make a mistake and want to erase a character just use the arrow key to move the cursor back to the character and use your space bar to erase it. (Do not use the backspace key or the delete key to correct mistakes. They will change the spacing)


If you are drawing an animal or a person, start with the eyes then the nose and the mouth. Then draw the head. You will be able to judge the size the body needs to be from the head.

Get familiar with the position of the following keys on the screen.
        [ ] ( ) . ` , ' ; : \ / | " ^ < >   - _ = ! ~
Notice that they have all been typed on the same line. However, they are positioned at different heights. You can use combinations of these keys to draw angles, slants, and sometimes circles.
           \             /        \_     `-._      (increasing the
            \           /           \_       `-._   amount of the underscores (_)
             \         /              \             can change the angle.)
                            ,"      ",
                            "        "
                            "        "
                            `.      ,'
The following keys make good eyes, fingers, or toes.
                         o O  0 ( ) c C
        Eyes ---->    0 0   or (0) (0)    or   o o or (o) (o)
        Toes ----->    Oooo    or  Cooo
If you get to the bottom line of your canvas and your picture is not finished, you can expand the canvas by hitting enter as many times as you need and using the space bar to prepare the canvas as you did when setting it up.

If you cannot complete your drawing in one setting press "ctrl-k" and then "w" to save it. A window will open and ask you for a file name. Name the file, then press "ctrl-a" to abort the reply.

When you are ready to resume the drawing, open the reply window from the j screen, then type control k and then r. When prompted for a file name, enter the name of your picture. It will be loaded back into the reply screen and you can continue.

You can also use the above method to save a blank canvas after you prepare one. Then you do not have to make a new canvas for every drawing.

Remember that every key on the key board can be used. Some of them make good shading keys.
Such as @@@@@@@@@  or  ######
        @@@@@@@@@      #####
         @@@@@@@        #####
Do not be afraid to try different key combinations. If they do not work, experiment.

Do not worry about pictures that do not work. I have many failures. It does not take long to realize you cannot make a drawing work. I just give up on them.

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