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I've been taking an art course recently, and I met someone who was proficient with grid ASCII art paintings. However, the teacher of the class always seemed to think there was something wrong with his artwork. Can you help him work out why the teacher doesn't like his work?

He said:

I took a long road trip to the country, going through every region to look for local expertise (though because of tolls, I could only go to each region once). I tried to keep the sun either straight ahead or behind me, or to my sides, so that I could frame my picture well.
I ended up flying into two other countries as well. Some places were pretty restrictive - you could only travel the exact distance specified by the letter or number marked on the map because of local bylaws. One country was pretty weird - 0 was another symbol for 5!
But still I can't work out what will give me the magic touch - what's happening in my painting that's not the same as in the others?!

The maps:

,333++1111
(3332++111
((3322222A
(333@$2?AA
((;@@???AA
(;;;!!?&AA
((1&&&?&44
(111A&&&44
241AAA4444
24444A1111

5EEEEEE111
5550000011
5551110015
2251160665
2222266655
222FF44452
22FF444442
FFF14"""42
F''11"A""2
FF'''AAAA:

<>222BBB[]
#{222BBB}%
#^^21AB**%
#+=11AA|\%
#+11~~AA\%
#+?11AA!\%
$+::;-//\&
$+.;;--,\&
$@44""44'&
444(`_)444

Thanks to TheGreatEscaper for helping to test-solve part of the puzzle!

This story is based on a fictional event and taken from there...

Part of an upcoming metapuzzle.

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  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Hey, you used , £, , , and ¥! This is fake ASCII art! $\endgroup$ – Deusovi Apr 18 '17 at 4:43
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    $\begingroup$ That was a joke, but sure. I fixed all but one, since your last grid ran out of ASCII characters (if you don't want to use letters or numbers, or repeat any punctuation). $\endgroup$ – Deusovi Apr 18 '17 at 5:49
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This is a grid logic puzzle. The rules, obtained from the quote, are:

  • Draw a loop going through the cell centers only in orthogonal directions.
  • The loop must go through every region once.
  • If a region has a letter or number, it must go through exactly that many spaces in that region. (Lettered regions have the natural A1Z26 correspondence to numbers.)

Here are some in-progress shots of the solutions, along with the final answers:

Grid 1

enter image description here
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enter image description here

enter image description here

Grid 2

enter image description here

enter image description here
enter image description here
enter image description here

Grid 3

enter image description here

enter image description here

enter image description here

enter image description here

Solution

The three grids' solutions look like this:
enter image description here
These make the shapes of B & W, which tells us the problem - your friend's paintings were all in black and white!

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  • $\begingroup$ I'm not sure if you know this, but this type of puzzle is also known as Country Road. $\endgroup$ – boboquack Apr 18 '17 at 7:28
  • $\begingroup$ @boboquack - Oh, alright! I'd heard of Country Road before, but never actually done one. $\endgroup$ – Deusovi Apr 18 '17 at 13:19
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    $\begingroup$ It's not quite Country Road; Country Road also has the restriction that no two cells on either side of a country border may be both unvisited. $\endgroup$ – edderiofer Apr 19 '17 at 14:25
  • $\begingroup$ @edderiofer Oh really? I didn't know that. Thanks for letting me know! $\endgroup$ – boboquack Apr 21 '17 at 19:53

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