You don't have to be skilled with a paintbrush or pencil to create works of art on a computer. Using only the simple American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII) characters located on your keyboard, you can make nearly any type of image, from humorous cartoon characters to re-creations of famous paintings or even photographs.
Open a text editing program such as Notepad, Open Office, TextEdit or Microsoft Word. Scroll down a few lines and then use the space bar or tab key to navigate toward the centre of the editing program so that there is plenty of room available on the right and left sides as you build your picture.
Decide if you want to draw a picture using your keyboard in the solid style, which is completely filled in with large characters, or in the line style, which uses only smaller characters to create the outline of an image.
Use the opening parentheses "(" character along the left side of the image to create a rounded appearance for fluffy or large images, such as a bunny rabbit or cartoon character. Use the closing parentheses ")" on the other side. Use brackets such as "[" and "]" or thin lines such as "|" for a flat appearance.
Use quotation marks or the equals sign "=" to give characteristics to the drawing, such as feet or eyes. Use flat characters such as the hyphen "-" and underline "_" to create limbs, bottom edges and frames for the image.
Use different characters for eyes to signify expressions. Place an "X" character in the eyes for a dead or passed-out person, flat lines for a sleeping person, or ">" and "<" signs for an angry person.
Fill in the image with "#" and "%" characters to make a solid and full image instead of an outline.
Condense the characters down to a single line if you want to use a keyboard-drawn image in chat room or instant message, such as "(_8^(I)" for a sideways view of Homer Simpson's head.
Keep in mind the amount of characters available where your final image will be viewed. The text-only program called Telnet allows for only 100 characters per line, for example.
Advanced text editing programs like Microsoft Word allow for different colour and formatting options, but the images may not appear correctly when you paste them into a different program such as a website or Notepad document.