Finding the Fixed Sys Font

Once upon a time when I made ASCII Art, I was a great fan of the FixedSys font. It is a monospace font which works very well for illustrating with text. However, in my Windows Vista computer the FixedSys font is missing. I looked for it, tried other options, but was not happy. So I went online to see what people were writing about it.

I now know that FixedSys has been given an upgrade of sorts and is now known as Consolas. I found Consolas and gave it a try. It is nicer, maybe nicer and smoother than the old FixedSys.

While searching for information I found the font called FixedSys Excelsior. It is like the old fashioned FixedSys but it is less smooth than the new Consolas font. You can see a pretty drastic difference in the two fonts when I show them in an ASCII art illustration of the Canadian flag.

You Don’t Need an Image with Each Blog Post

Why are you adding an image/ graphic/ photo to your blog post? Because someone said to do it that way? Because people are visual and need the extra stimulus? Because the print magazines (or some popular blog you read) does it that way?

Rethink that plan. The images added to blog posts for the sake of adding images to blog posts are over done. Unless they really add something, like instructions, or some other practical purpose, they just add to the general clutter. Blog readers are becoming both ad blind and image blind due to the overload of useless stuff thrown at them.

  • Your words can (should be able to) stand on their own. If not, rewrite, rather than illustrating something that isn’t there.
  • Your blog does not need an image just for the sake of having an image.  Is adding an image worth a slower load time, a cluttered layout? How many times do you read a blog and see images that fail to load?
  • What does the image really add to your post? What does a random image stuck into your post say about you? Does it say you are creative, crafting a well thought out post, or just another blogger following the pack mentality?
  • If you are not creating your own images you are giving a lot of time and space to promoting the work of someone else. You also risk having the original artist objecting to the use of the image, or the way it has been used.

So, what do you do to keep your blog visually orientated and appealing? Don’t be afraid to get creative, it doesn’t have to be a great work of art, it just needs to be something meaningful, interesting and relevant to the post you are making.

  • Use your own work. Make your photos, graphics or images a feature, worthy of having their own post.
  • Start your own weekly/ monthly web comic. Stick to a schedule that suits you.
  • Doodle something. Use your own hand drawn illustration, it will always be uniquely you.
  • Take a look at text art. Use your keywords in a new way. Just don’t go crazy with it. Moderation in all things.
  • ASCII art is a retro text art and takes time to work on. Don’t steal the ASCII art you find online any more than you would another image.
  • Add an image of yourself, the real person behing the blog to illustrate the posts you write. This is, at least, sincere content and gives readers a real connection to you.
  • Go back to basics, give the odd post it’s own unique background. Don’t over use this either. Think of it as a highlighter pen for your best post of the week/ month.
  • Use subheaders to break up the text. Bold a sentence that sums up your post. You don’t have to stick to basic black.
  • If your blog looks bland to you and you want to add colour change your font colours, try out some jewel tones in blue, green, or red.
  • Add a graphic file with your signature to the bottom of your posts instead of using an image at the top of the post.
  • Skip images. Christmas is special because it comes once a year. Why not use that theory for images you add as well. Make them something unusual by not using them everyday.

Serendipity

From Wikipedia: Serendipity is a propensity for making fortuitous discoveries while looking for something unrelated.

Now and then you find a really good word for something you never thought had a good word for it. I like the way this word sounds, like the slippery curved back of a sea serpent snaking up and down along the waves.

Think about looking for something online, reading a few blogs, sites and forums then finding something else that just takes over your full attention, something you never would have found otherwise. This happens to me quite a bit. I find new art forms, new ideas and names for things I had an interest in but never would have guessed others are actually involved in enough to give it a name, like urban exploration, ASCII art.

Write a scene where your character has a chance discovery, a case of serendipity.

Text Art on Twitter

The biggest struggle with posting ASCII art anywhere was always the formatting. Trying to get your work to use a fixed width font so it doesn’t come out all warped looking. Also, making sure you added carriage returns at the end of each line of text. If you missed one you would soon find out if you posted it somewhere outside of the Notepad file you created the art in.

I don’t know how the Twitter art is posted. That may be as complicated as making the art itself. A lot of the Twitter art seems to be design versus a picture/ image. The designs are nice. But, as an ASCII artist from the olden days, I am biased to love artists who use text to make images and manage to get them to post.

For a quick look at the most recent text art on Twitter search for the hash tags:

  • #140Art
  • #TwitterArt
  • #SymbolArt

140 Artist on Twitter and the site 140 Art.com

tw1tt3rart on Twitter

T_witterArt on Twitter

twart1st on Twitter and Twitter Artist’s blog

Newmoticons on Twitter and a tumblog.

ASCII_Art on Twitter – Not really ASCII Art but Twitter art and text art.

Daniel Rehn has a Twitter Art list.

TwingDings for Twitter

TwitClipArt – Twitter Drawings Library

Squidoo: One Line Art for Twitter – A good start to practice with. Try other ASCII art sites to find more one line art or begin creating your own.

Weird/ Odd Art Forms I Like

I’m taking part in the ProBlogger 31 Day Challenge to a Better Blog. On the second day, the assignment is to create a list post. Among the reasons for making a list post are readers who skim rather than read. I know about this type of reader as I do it a lot myself. So here is my list post:

Weird/ Odd Art Forms I Like

I found an article about this same idea on Web Urbanist. Do you know of any weird and/ or odd forms of art?

Playing With Text

Writing isn’t the only way to play with words. Take them down a peg, look at them as just letters, forms on a page and you can make a different art with them. This isn’t writing, its a whole new creation.

ASCII art is my personal favourite. But, there are other ways to get into the game of playing with your words. Typography is playing with fonts. What others have you found? Email me, I’d like to hear about them.

There is the whole riddle, puzzle, Scrabble issue. But, I’m looking at making plain ordinary everyday text into art.

Does anyone make ASCII art or am I the only retro geek? Someday, that ever illusive day, I want to make a whole website in just ASCII and ASCII art as illustrations/ graphics. I’ve seen one done in this way. It was very unique looking now. Back in the old days of dinosaur computers it would have been normal, if not cutting edge.

Anyway, this week take a break from fiddling with words and try something new. Play around and look at them in a whole new way. You and your keyboard will never be the same again.

Writing your Bio/ Profile

Now and then you’ll have to write a biography to go along wth an article, book, or something else you publish. It’s tough to figure out what you want to say about yourself in just a few lines. Of course, you consider what you want to share with the faceless masses as well as what information will show you in the best light. You want to make yourself look like an authority on the subject of your article.

The following is something I almost deleted without re-reading tonight. It’s in the stacks of ancient webmail from the years I wrote a newsletter about ASCII art for a website called WZ.com. The site is long gone and I don’t think anyone will mind sharing the information which was once shared with me. Thanks to Sissi Haner, wherever you are. Hope you’re writing and doing great.

Not only do we want to know who you are, your visitors do, too. They’ll be looking for the person behind their interests. A bio that’s interesting and catchy will help you to develop loyalty and a personal touch with your subscribers.

To help you develop your bio, I’ve included a short list of questions, in interview format, below. Answer the ones you think are appropriate, and make sure you include some info on the different Realms you cover.

Oh, and be sure to compile all of the answers to the questions into one flowing bio rather than submitting nine separate answers to me.

Pay special attention to question #9 —

1. You’re about to be interviewed by Charlie Rose. In ten seconds or less, how does he introduce you?

2. When did you get interested in your topic? How long ago, how old were you?

3. Was there something going on that led you to it, or were you naturally attracted to it for some reason?

4. What about it grabbed you? What do you find most interesting or appealing about it?

5. What’s your favorite story about your hobby or interest?

6. What unusual things have you done in pursuit of it?

7. How have these things led to your becoming an expert in your area of interest?

8. How has it affected your life, or the lives of others?

9. How will being a WZ-ard help you share this with others? How do you hope to affect the lives of your subscribers?

Sissi concluded by telling everyone not to forget to add links to their newsletters. You should do the same, include any relevant URLs you’d like to promote to your readers.

eListas

eListas, The Most Complete Mailing Lists, Groups and Newsletters System on the Net

I’m not seeing the magic word… free. But, I need to be up early tomorrow so I can’t stay to continue looking.

I’d like to see what lists are here. Any ASCII art, road trippers, day trippers, ex candy stripers, pixel art types, writers even? There are always writers. We come in packages of 50.