A few days ago I needed to send over a large number of images and I turned to WeTransfer for that. Great service. When returning to the screen several times during that day (slow internet), my eyes were drawn to an article blurb on the right of the screen. It was an interesting article about the Art side of Teletext.
Teletext was something I, and I assume most people, took for granted. We just used the service and never thought about how it’s made or what the limitations of our TV were at the time we were kids.
Only when I was a teenager and got my first Commodore VIC-20 and started my first steps into programming sprites and blocks onto our old Sony TV, I got a sense of the square building blocks and how limiting it was. I think we all know the old Pong game on the Atari—talking about rudimentary.
Anyway, the article talks about the history of Teletext and its main purpose of sharing information, but soon goes on about how artists had to devise a way to make use of the limitations of the TV systems at that time.
Only 64 mosaic characters!
It reminded me of the first paint program on the Amiga, back at my Art School. But the Teletext system was even more limiting because you had to allocate codes for color change and they take up one space on each line of the 24 lines.
The article provides a link to an online editor that is used by many artists and former Teletext employees today (as BBC terminated its popular use in 2012). So we can all have a go at it. But if you are not electronic tech-savvy, you—or your kids—might be interested in a good old analog version. (download a PDF Teletext Worksheet here)
Of course I had to try it!
I had so much fun, just letting my hair down, forget about deadlines and editing thousands of images still waiting to be send to publishers (Dear editors, if you are reading this, don’t worry, your deadlines will be met accordingly 😉 as always!).
Just some really cool old skool Synth music playing in the background on YouTube. Think Kraftwerk, Giorgio, and APP.
I spent the entire Sunday working on it. First learning the system, then setting up a design and finally fine-tuning it. Follow my build in the gallery below.
How cool is that?
In the span of a few hours I had the whole thing done and ready. Why didn’t I know of this before? I remember trying to replicate a cool idea I sketched some time ago using Tetris building blocks and I had a hard time figuring out how to turn my idea into a bitmap. Now with this online tool, it became a lot easier.
Okay, now what?
Can we turn it into cool stuff?
What about socks? Can we do socks?
Please tell me we can have socks!
Yes… Yes… Relax…
You can have socks…
I have uploaded the final artwork to our Redbubble shop with many different products to choose from. New stuff includes – take a deep breath:
(Note: When you get to the Redbubble page: scroll down a bit, you see ‘Available on +50 products’ that will take you to the full overview of Teletext Revival designs).
How about all those goodies… Aren’t they lovely?
Sharing my final design on Patreon
As a bonus to all our patrons, I shared my final design in the online editor so you can tinker with it, test it, hash it, tinker some more with it, modify it. Just have fun.
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