Conversion Programs
First of all, I do not guarantee any of these conversion programs. I have never used any of them. I do my ASCII artwork entirely by hand (and keyboard).
However, some people do use the programs-- I have no idea as to the quality of the outcome. This list wascompiled by one of the <alt.ascii-art> regulars, Jon Melusky. Questions can be forwarded to him. He's a very helpful person (and has more ASCII artwork on his Geocities/SoHo website!)
Two sites have been recommended on the alt.ascii-art FAQ... 
These conversion programs can be found at:
The following is copied directly from a USENET posting.
(non-existing links/URLs removed) 2/99
Subject:        Re: Is there an Ascii prog.
From:   "J. Melusky" <whatfer@u.washington.edu>

> Is there a program I can get which will automate the conversion process
> from bmp/gif/jpg/user supplied image to ascii? If you know, can u reply
Conversion programs List:
(Available Feb 22 1997)
For: Dos, PC, MAC, VAX,    (45-58K)
Host: ftp.wwa.com
Path: pub/Scarecrow/Gifscii
URL: ftp://ftp.wwa.com/pub/Scarecrow/Gifscii
(Available Feb 22 1996)
Search http://www.shareware.com's Macintosh directory for
"emaileffects.sit.hqx  (458K)
for an ascii program.
'sig95_2g.zip' 'sigpro2d.zip' (Win3.1) for signature alphabet programs.
'pixch020.zip' or 'emailasc.zip'for Bitmap to Ascii conversion programs.
(Available Feb 15 1997)
Search http://www.shareware.com's Amiga directory for
"AsciiArtP_F.lha"  (152K)
Ascii Painting Program V2.1

(Worked Feb 22 1997)
http://www.webserve.com/gateways/figletgateway.pl  FIGLET DIY
(Available Feb 15 1997)
  82     5/15/95    BinHex4.0,StuffIt3.50
  (Nifty paint program draws ascii pictures useful for
  online chat, sig files, etc.; free!)

  88     8/6/95    BinHex4.0,StuffIt3.5
  (Converts picture data into ASCII art; requires some use of
  ResEdit 2.1 or later to create the art)
The Draw Fonts
(Feb 6 1997)

Take care, Jon Melusky
     _   _ __   __                       Wagner Codes:
   _| \_) |_ (_/ _|                      a+--f--e--d-b++g+w+v
  (_   _   _) _ (_    Puzzle
    |_( )_|__( >__|   By Jon and Randy R.
    |_   _|       |_  <http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/7889> Ascii
     _) |_         _( mailto:whatfer@u.washington.edu
    /_   _|_  ___ |   Windows 95, Micron 133mhz, Seattle USA
      (_<   (_)  ^  ~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~
The entry point is:
http://www.webserve.com/gateways/figletgateway.pl  FIGLET program.
(Available Nov 21 1996)
ftp://ftp.cdrom.com/pub/os2/incoming  OS/2 FIGLET program.

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