duhdraw: For the Van Gogh of the vc

duhdraw, as I understand from the home page, has been around for almost 20 years in one form or another, and has its beginnings as an offshoot of a DOS program called TheDRAW. And so if you’re familiar with accents among native English speakers, you may better understand that name.πŸ˜‰

Having a near 20-year history may make it look weak when compared to tools like aewan or cavewall, or even cadubi, but duhdraw might still have a few tricks up its sleeve.

2014-11-07-2sjx281-duhdraw

That is not the world’s strongest screenshot, and for that I apologize. That was my passive-aggressive way of pointing out that duhdraw, regardless of your terminal dimensions, is going to confine itself to that small window.

Your canvas will actually stretch down to about 1000 lines, if the README file is to be believed, but width-wise, 80 appears to be its limit.

And the unreadable characters there in the screenshot are supposed to be “high ASCII” characters — pipe symbols and others, I believe — but were not properly rendered by my framebuffer …. or by rxvt-unicode, which was more disappointing. It may be a sign of its age, but apparently duhdraw had trouble reaching that high.

Most of duhdraw’s features are accessible through ALT keys, so the help screen, for example, is ALT+H. Erasing the canvas and starting over is ALT+E. Saving is ALT+S and loading is … well, you get the picture.

I found a copy-and-paste feature, such as was in cavewall or aewan, but it seemed quite primitive (or perhaps was incomplete) to me and hard to control. No transparent stamp effects or editable polygons, sorry.

duhdraw is not without its own interesting gimmicks though. ALT+D enters a line drawing mode, where just moving the cursor begins a continuous line you can control.

And I like the pickup commands of ALT+P and ALT+U, where you can instantly adopt the character and the color scheme of any character on the screen, and use it elsewhere. It’s quicker than running back and forth to the ALT+F keys for the color palette. And attribute mode is even easier, turning your cursor into a sopping wet paint roller, wherever you go on the screen.

And to be honest, trapping commands against the ALT keys is a good way to do business, since it frees up virtually every other key as a stamp, without losing out to shifted characters or special sequences. I like the way duhdraw does that.

It’s unfortunate that I couldn’t see all the characters duhdraw offered, because I have a feeling that duhdraw had more interesting approaches to ASCII art than just what the bigshots like aewan or cavewall could offer.

But duhdraw is not the do-all, be-all end of the line for ASCII art tools. In fact, if anything, it may be just the beginning, or as close as Linux users could get in 1996.😎