One day not too long ago, I thought I could remember when I was a lot younger that we kids liked to use the manual typewriter to type out pictures. Then I recalled when I was at school and learned “the art or skill of typewriting” and the course also introduced us to “typewriter art”.
To be honest, I was good at typewriting or typing – text or that is – letters and documents and such stuff. I quickly learned “touch typing” and boy did us girls give that carriage return a hefty whirl when we tried to be the most fastest and accurate touch typist! Today I can probably touch type approx. 50 ( fifty ) words per minute. If you want to learn how to touch type, there’s a free lesson on the internet HERE.
I was awarded the Honor Certificate in Year 11 for best student in typewriting. Soon after that, Dad got the family a golf-ball typewriter. Wow, the whole family was so impressed and I remember we all had to line up to try it out. I respected & loved that super-duper electronic golf-ball typewriter.
As for ye old ancient manual typewriters (before the PC) I was very proud of myself for having a beautiful Olivetti in a fashionable carry case. I used it to type out my own school assignments, and I even used it to type out my friend’s Biology Project 301 Report when we were at Uni – for a modest fee – that is.
Anyhow, last year I decided to turn my hand to typing out an orange cat, of course, using my PC. I have got a big old typewriter in the garage, but it has no ribbon, so I resorted to the modern method.
It took quite a bit of effort. I used small letter o and capital letter X, and below is a cat’s head. That is as far as I could get. It is a Microsoft Word document, which is of course what I used to type out my Cat.
Well, today I decided to finish off my tabby typed Cat and my Pardner came into my study and inquired “oh, are you doing ASCII art?”
I shook my head and replied “No, I’m trying to finish off my tabby typewriter cat.”
“It looks like Sergei” he said, scrutinizing my effort – link to my final creation below – at which this put me into a fit of the giggles. “Ha,” said Her Majesty Me, “it’s supposed to be a cat”.
“Well” pontificated Pardner, “Meerkats are – CATS”. Pardner loves the “Compare the Meerkat” ads. I felt happy that whatever I had created, it got compliments, as Pardner advised me that my Artwork was actually very good.
So I looked up ASCII art, to find to my astonishment, that it is about creating pictures made from text – letters, numbers, and special characters like # * and \ . The page below has info about it.
Keira Rathbone and Paul Smith are well known for their amazing Typewriter cum ASCII Art.
Well, I never, I thought, nobody told me that at school. I then found out that ASCII stands for American Standard Code for Information Interchange. Computers can only understand numbers, so ASCII code is a character encoding scheme or a numerical representation of a character such as ‘a’ or ‘@’ or an action of some sort.
Then I found an ASCII cat made on an Atari. How did they do that I wondered, and more to the point, how long did it take for someone to create it?
“Mine looks like an Owl and like a 12 year old created it” I wailed to Pardner.
“No” he said consolingly, “you just used big fonts, there are special characters and fonts to use”.
He is a Printer by trade and a computer buff too, someone whom when I met 20 years ago, had an Atari and a Commodore. “Try the special fonts to type out your name” he suggested.
Maybe one day I will.
P.S. It even works on WordPress – Num Lock key ON, press the Alt key and 3 numbers from an ASCII Table which you can find on Google.