Non-Existent - An ASCII/ANSI contest

9 min read
diamondie's avatar
By diamondie
117 Favourites

I've held two ASCII art contests in the past and there have been plenty of interesting entries, but this time the contest will be bigger and also accept ANSI entries. Even if you have never made ASCII art before, I encourage you to participate. Take the contest as a challenge and don't think you don't stand a chance. The winners of my first ASCII contest hardly had any previous experience with ASCII art.

So what are these ASCII and ANSI things?

Basically, ASCII art is the kind of text art you could create in Notepad or in a typewriter. The characters are equally wide and spaced, as if they were placed in an invisible grid. ASCII can be colored, but it is usually in black and white.

Random_sunlight.png by BriteEyes :thumb38235222:

Wikipedia's explanation
ASCII art on DeviantART

ANSI art is a very specific artform, heavily relying on its restricted medium, the ANSI character set. ANSI was the standard way to display text output in the 80's, before the arrival of graphical environments (Windows, Mac OS). ANSI art is mostly made of colored blocks (which makes it similar to pixel art), but "normal" text can also be used.

hoth by argonEPIC ViiX2 R2 SPH Horse by ViiX2 Theoretically by enzo

Wikipedia's explanation
ANSI art on DeviantART

The contest</a>

Despite its long history the recognition that ASCII art has got in the art world has pretty much been non-existent. Thus the theme of this contest is Non-existent. That refers to any kind of things that don't really exist (or haven't existed), eg. fantasy, surreal art, sci-fi, anthro, imaginary characters and places and impossible scenes or combinations. However this is not a fanart contest, so pictures of Sonic, Pokemons, Harry Potter, Donald Duck and such will not be accepted, but we will accept pictures of classical characters such as Romeo and Juliet, Cinderella or the Sandman. For the purpose of the contest we'll consider all abstract themes to be "non-existent" (in the concrete world) and the same goes for subjects whose existence is controversial, so that we don't have to make judgements about whether God exists or whether Atlantis has really existed.

This contest is only for textmode art (ASCII and ANSI art). Both types of art have their own contest category. The contest is not open to any other kind of art, including other kinds of typographic art. If you want to participate in some other kind of contest, you can probably find a suitable one listed at Deviant-Contests.

Common rules for both categories

:bulletred: The entry must be an ASCII or ANSI picture, of at least 10x10 and at most 80x200 characters. The entry must be drawn in a fixed-width font.

:bulletred: The entry must be original and created by hand. Entries made with an image to ASCII/ANSI converter are not taken into account. If your image looks converted or ripped, you will need to present a proof that you made it (ie. so called "step files", save the picture into several different files while drawing it). It is a good idea to upload these pictures into your Scraps and link them from the description, as otherwise we may need to ask for them later and if you don't answer us in time we may have to disqualify your entry.

:bulletred: You are allowed to use the drawing tools (eg. brush and gradient tool) in JavE. The entry may contain parts made with FIGlet, JavE's fractal tool and similar tools, as long as it is not the only content.

:bulletred: The entry must be previously unreleased and it must be uploaded as a Deviation. Submit it to Deviation > Contests & Projects > Contests > Non-Existent > ASCII/ANSI. Preferably submit a preview image in PNG format and a text/ANS file to accompany it.

:bulletred: You can enter one picture in each of the two categories, but you may only win one prize. If you submit more entries, only the newest one in either category will be considered. If your entry is located in the wrong category, the jury can move it - but if this would mean you'd now have two entries in the same category, the older one will not be

:bulletred: Collaborations are allowed, as they're common in the ASCII and ANSI scene. However the prizes will not be increased for such entries, so it's up to the collaborators to decide who gets the prize. Of course collaborations also count towards your personal entry limit.

ASCII category

:bulletred: The picture must consist of plain text (as in, you must be able to open the image in Notepad or a similar text editor), using a fixed-with font (such as but not limited to Fixedsys, Courier or Lucida Console). The entry must not contain any non-ASCII characters. Only 7-bit ASCII is allowed (see the green part of this table for a list of the allowed characters). Colors or animations are not allowed. The picture can be intended for viewing on either white on black or black on white.

ANSI category

:bulletred: The entry must be made in the MS-DOS font. It can make use of ANSI colors and extended characters. ANSI animations are not allowed. The entry does not have to be colored or use raster blocks or other extender characters, but if it doesn't make any use of these techniques the judges can move it to the ASCII category. Submit a preview image in a reasonable size, as not everyone has an ANSI viewer installed on their computer.


The contest is open until the 25th of November 2006. The entries can be edited until the deadline.


There is a total of six prizes given out:

1st prize in both categories: a copy of the Dark Domain DVD from ACiD Productions and a one-year subscription to DeviantART

2nd prize in both categories: a six-month subscription to DeviantART

3rd prize in both categories: a three-month subscription to DeviantART

The prizes have been generously supplied by Moonbeam13 and Aeires.


The entries will be judged by diamondie, jSepia, roy-sac, Aeires, halfliquid and Moonbeam13. Besides the technical skill and style alone the judges will also take into account the creativity of the piece and how well it makes use of the theme.


:bulletblue: ASCII Art Tutorial by diamondie
:bulletblue: Solid ASCII Art Tutorial by jSepia
:bulletblue: Other ASCII tutorials

Unfortunately I wasn't able to locate any ANSI tutorials. has some, but they have been archived without the images, which makes them pretty useless. However most people have learned to draw ANSI by just looking at the works drawn by other people.


You can create ASCII art in any text editor (such as Notepad), but it's more convenient to use a dedicated ASCII editor, as they offer useful features like moving and copying of rectangular blocks and different viewing modes. JavE even has Photoshop-like tools such as brushes and PabloDraw lets multiple people work on the same picture simultaneously via the Internet. For ANSI art you're going to need an editor program.

:bulletblue: JavE an ASCII editor (Java, runs on most operating systems)
:bulletblue: PabloDraw an ASCII/ANSI editor (Windows)
:bulletblue: ACiDDraw an ASCII/ANSI editor (MS-DOS, runs on most Windows machines)

To capture ANSI pictures and ASCII pictures drawn to be viewed in MS-DOS, you can use either PabloView or ACiDView (both Windows).

Let the typing begin!
© 2006 - 2020 diamondie
anonymous's avatar
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kreelah's avatar
What was the outcome?
Who won? :)
lordhazzard's avatar
lordhazzard Interface Designer
this will take a while then.............
Jerelza's avatar
Sounds really cool, but I'm not patient enough. ^^
Zelga's avatar
i want to do thiis!
i only can do a rabit xD... hahaha!...
its very good!
Chrishankhah's avatar
ChrishankhahHobbyist General Artist
Haha.. shoot. I got addicted to a video game and forgot to put in my submission for this. Then I remembered today, a day after entries were due. *cry*
onilukos's avatar
According to 's journal, the contest's been extended for two weeks.
Chrishankhah's avatar
ChrishankhahHobbyist General Artist
Oh, really?

*throws a party* Thank God for small favours!

Thanks for letting me know. :-)
onilukos's avatar
You're welcome :)
crrimson's avatar
that's awesome, I was pretty young when the BBS days were coming to an end but I remember them fondly, I love ansi art.
mooyall's avatar
I draw a bat at you...
\ ( ) /
Where is the love?-Black Eyed Peas
I ate it. It was tasty:heartbreaker:-Me
Felfreak's avatar
ANSI gives me the creeps... but it's insanely cool!
Glamrous143G's avatar
I love you work
Please come and check out my site Glamrous143g Please Comment any of art work I would love to know
megawalrus's avatar
megawalrusStudent Digital Artist
mhmmm i may do this..
I do want a 1yr subscription
but i wont win :D
pafla's avatar
really..? good idea..
Lodovico's avatar

thats insanely cool
bunrymay's avatar
it looks pretty hard lol all i can do ish a bunny lol
bunrymay's avatar
it looks pretty hard lol all i can do ish a bunny lol
jSepia's avatar
Give the bunny a pair of wings and it will fit into the "non-existant" category. :D

Just kidding. :aww:
bunrymay's avatar
lol hehe
xCREATIVEx's avatar
ASCII Art? What's that???? Is that one of those arts where you use numbers or letters to create art on a computer?
xCREATIVEx's avatar
ASCII Art? What's that???? Is that one of those arts where you use numbers or letters to create art on a computer?
jSepia's avatar
Why do you ask instead of reading the article? It's explained there.
xCREATIVEx's avatar
Um... well, I guess I had no clue???
Keh, sorry/
SilkVices's avatar
i'm an old school aciddraw/ansi and ascii bbs,... wiseass ^_^;

(as in drawing with text and converting .gifs to ascii then fixing them up, usually to post on text only bbs's... (or to draw maps to my concerts i was playing))

it's interesting to see people still doing it :D

I would love to see how this all comes out~

(all my ansi/ascii art got killed in a harddrive crash in 1995 -.-; )
anonymous's avatar
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