Learning to draw heraldry

The depictions of coats of arms
Jonathan Webster
Posts: 279
Joined: 11 Jul 2012, 21:47
Location: United Kingdom

Re: Learning to draw heraldry

Postby Jonathan Webster » 20 Jan 2013, 10:08

In my eyes, as long as something is depicted on a shield or on a helmet as a crest (or as a badge), and as long as it can be blazoned, then it counts as heraldry. It might not be very good heraldry, but it's still heraldry.

Nonetheless, if I were a policeman, I wouldn't use a policeman's hat in my arms, not because it doesn't represent me (it undoubtably would had I chosen this profession) but because it just wouldn't look right, it wouldn't be aesthetically pleasing. Arms were born in medieval times, and it only seems right that arms should reflect this, not for reactionary reasons, but because modern objects and themes detract somewhat from the mystical, mythical nature of arms. A wyvern shouldn't wear a baseball cap precisely because its er, a Wyvern. It's a mythical creature that would terrorise villages in the stories of times long gone by. It should look scary and intimidating, not like its a reject from a children's TV show on a Saturday morning. To have it depicted in the way suggested by you, whilst it undoubtably would represent you (but not in the right way heraldically), would; and I apologise for saying so, but it would just look ridiculous. Not to say we can't use other, less vulgar means of representing yourself, like for example a pun or a rebus. Heraldry is much more subtle than the immediately obvious, and rightly so.

Ryan Shuflin
Posts: 515
Joined: 26 Jul 2012, 13:00
Location: Germany

Re: Learning to draw heraldry

Postby Ryan Shuflin » 21 Jan 2013, 22:14

I agree most attempts to incorporate modern elements in heraldry end up looking awkward, bad or ridiculous. Also, I think too much deviation from the blazon kinda ruins the whole point of the blazon. Sure, maybe a Wyvrn with a ball cap might make a fun caricature of a coat of arms, but it would be out of place in serious heraldry. Interestingly, one can get away with odd shaped shields and distorted medieval helms, but once you start placing non-conventional head gear on top of shields it seem in-congruent. I could see in someone using a riot shield and police helmet together, but then I would recommend depicting the crest as a helmet decal. Even then, you may be asking the viewer too much. A better way to indicate one's profession would perhaps be an external ornament, although this may be viewed as pretentious, as they are traditionally used to indicate high offices.

Andy Jamieson

Re: Learning to draw heraldry

Postby Andy Jamieson » 16 Mar 2013, 22:16

Practice still life drawing then take your drawing skills and apply them to heraldry. For example if you want to draw a helm find photos of a helmet taken at different angles and study it. Learn about its shape and form. Study how it reflects light. To understand mantling fold a piece of cloth and study how its folds form. Draw it. Draw everything. My advice is not to copy other heraldic artists but to simply apply yourself to learning how to draw. Excellent drawing skills is the foundation of all good heraldic art. I recently taught my wife how to paint a coat of arms. It was a simple process as she already knew how to draw / paint and simply needed to apply what she knew to heraldry. I was lucky to have spent 4 years drawing under a Royal Acadamician. Obviously, not everyone gets that chance but if you can't afford drawing lessons simply draw things around your home. Draw cylinder shapes, copy photos of animals to see how their muscles work and practice so you can apply what you see to a coat of arms in a stylised form. Hope this helps.

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