A Survey Of Online Armorial Clip Art Sources

[Editor’s Note: This post draws heavily on an FAQ document produced over the course of several years by multiple users in the SCA Heraldry Unofficial Chat Facebook Group. Unfortunately this document was deleted by an unauthorized user in late 2020, but I was able to locate an archived copy from 2019 and combined portions of it with my own notes in order to produce the below post. My thanks to the many people who helped create this resource. — Mathghamhain]

The SCA College of Arms does not have a master list of all registrable charges — we add new ones all the time, and we remove others that are determined to be not something found in period heraldry — but these resources can give you a good idea what’s out there, and provide ready-to-use art for those who can draw original illustrations on their own.

You can incorporate these images directly in your armorial illustrations or use them as references when drawing new original art.

Society-Oriented Collections

  • Pictorial Dictionary of Heraldry: Often called “the PicDic.” Line art in JPEG format. Copyright; free for Society use. Authoritative commentary by Bruce Draconarius, former Laurel Herald of the Society. Originally distributed thirty years ago as a self-published book, the third edition is entirely online.
  • Book of Traceable Heraldic Art: Large collection with nearly 4,000 images. Line art in SVG, PNG, and print-and-trace PDF formats for offline use. Creative Commons license with no attribution required for Society use. Includes material drawn from the Pennsic Traceable Art Project (now defunct), Viking Answer Lady, Edwardian-era texts like Fox-Davies, and period armorials.
  • Viking Answer Lady’s SVG Graphics for Heralds: Images in SVG format. Creative Commons license with no attribution required for Society use.
  • SVG Heraldry Components Wikia: Images in SVG format. Creative Commons license.
  • Colblaith’s Armory Blanks: Period mantling and doodle sheets. Images in JPEG format. Copyright.

Non-SCA Collections

  • WikiMedia Commons: Many images are available, in SVG or JPEG format. Use with caution, as many of the images are post-period, and some can not be registered in the SCA. Contains a mix of Creative Commons and public-domain works. 
  • WappenWiki Elements: Images in SVG format. Creative Commons license.
  • Free Heraldry Clipart: Many images, but very low resolution. As noted by the Brickbat Herald: “Compiled by James Wolf. Many of the pieces come from Fox-Davies and Pimbley, both Victorian-era heraldic artists, and some depictions aren’t quite accurate for our heraldic scope (for example, the “wavy” seen here is hardly wavy at all), but there are a lot of images, arranged alphabetically.”

Commercial Collections

  • Armorial Gold: Commercial package with many thousands of images in vector formats for $78. Copyright; license allows artist to create files for clients in raster formats only.

Victorian Texts

A resurgence of interest in Victorian and Edwardian texts produced a large number of books with lovely heraldic engravings which are no longer covered by copyright, including some which are standard references for Society armorialists.

Period Armorials and Treatises

A vast number of medieval and rennaissance-era manuscripts have been scanned and made available online. Depending on the style of the art and the quality of the reproduction, they may be traced or run through vectorization software to produce reusable outlines.

 

 

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