Online c64 drawing tool

Wasn’t it Einstein who said: “That’s not me! That looks like Gerard Depardieu playing me!”?

I know it’s not a great drawing, but that’s what you get when you draw with a mouse on a rectangular canvas while looking at a square picture of Einstein (and not being a great artist).

It was made using a new online C64 drawing tool I’m developing. The pictures below are a screenshot of the website and beneath that the result on a Commodore 64.

A bad drawing of Einstein using 4000 pixels
A perfect conversion of a bad drawing of Einstein using a 1000 characters.

If you want to see the generated program, you can download it here:

Or the file to import into the drawing program:

The tool has a maximum resolution of 80×50 pixels and uses a custom multicolor font on the C64 side.
I read a post on the site that reminded me of a similar drawing tool my brother and I made in the 80s. Just like the one on defiance studios it uses some characters of the standard PETSCII character set in two colors. You get pixels that are a half-a-character size.

I had the idea for a long time that you could make the same tool with four colors if you used a modified multicolor character set. With 4 colors per pixel and four pixels per character you have to use 4x4x4x4 = 256 characters which fits perfectly!
Reading the post mentioned above made me decide to realise my idea. I thought it would be easy to use my simple online Gameboy graphics editor because that’s four colors too, and it’s nice to have a tool in the browser.

I’m now at the point where I think it’s good enough to work with. The tool works basically, you can save, load, draw, fill, undo and export to a.prg file. There are probably bugs (erasing is broken EDIT) and I’m not sure about browser compatiblity, but I will work on it more.

You can draw in two layers, and that’s because I want to be able to make animations with it.
Also at the moment it will generate a set program. There is a option to generate assembly text which you can use in your own assembler, but one of my goals is to make it possible to use your own code using an (very bare bone) assembler that’s included in the tool (so an online 6502 assembler). You can then automatically insert the picture-data into the asssembly and export to a C64 executable.
The assembler is coming along fine and will be released when it’s stable enough and the editor not too annoying.

Here’s the (updated) link:

The tool is automatically generated when I push the code to gitlab, so it’s not stable. The repository also contains other tools, so it’s not public yet.
I will probably move it to it’s own repository, therfore the link will probably change as well at some point. I’ll update this blog then.

By the way: this is what you get when you let Gimp convert the original:

A pretty decent conversion of a picture of Einstein by an uncaring program.


I updated the program that makes drawing with pens or fingers possible.

It makes drawing a lot easier:

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