Traceable Art Update

As I mentioned recently an effort is underway, led by Lady Þórý Veðardóttir, to update and expand upon the Pennsic Traceable Art collection in order to facilitate emblazoning of armory submissions at Pennsic and other SCA events.

I’ve been working on a draft document that combines field divisions and ordinaries were from a collection of heraldic elements I had been assembling, along with a number of charges picked up from other sources, including the original Pennsic Traceable Art book, illustrations by the volunteers of the Pennsic Heralds’ Point Art Tent, and several publicly-available sources, including the Viking Answer Lady‘s collection of SVG elements.

Field divisions and ordinaries are drawn at precisely the scale used for SCA armory submissions, while mobile charges are included in a range of sizes so they can be used as primary, secondary, or tertiary charges.

The collection numbers over five hundred pages, but is far from complete; I expect it to wind up somewhere over a thousand pages.

There are PNG and SVG versions of some of the items; eventually these should be available for every field and charge.

There is a alphabetical index for the full collection as well as a table of contents, both of which allow you to download individual pages in PDF format, as well as the PNG and SVG images where available.

You can also find separate tables of contents for each “volume,” which are organized by category:

  • Volume 1: Fields, including furs, field treatments, and semys.
  • Volume 2: Complex lines.
  • Volume 3: Field divisions.
  • Volume 4: Ordinaries and their diminutives.
  • Volume 5: Geometric shapes, heavily bodies, features of the earth, and assorted symbols.
  • Volume 6: Tools and man-made objects.
  • Volume 7: Plants, including fruits, seeds, and leaves, as well as mushrooms.
  • Volume 8: People and animals.

Additionally there are a few odds and ends that are related but not part of the core traceable art collection:

  • Visual Reference: Contains a number of pages of small side-by-side images of field divisions and charges, for use on a consultation desk to help show clients some of the choices and explain specialized terminology.
  • Reference Posters for Consultation Sites: These are posters containing examples of field divisions, ordinaries, complex lines, charges and arrangements designed to be hung at a consultation site for easy reference by clients. Designed to be printed on tabloid-sized sheets (17″ x 22″), but may also be printed on regular 8.5″ x 11″ paper for desktop use.
  • Consultation Worksheets: includes items that may be useful for on-site armory consultation, including doodle sheets, alternate display outlines like the lozenge, and drawing grids to assist with spacing charges.

If you have a recent version of the drawing application OmniGraffle (Mac only, $99) you can download the original working documents for each volume to use the elements to assemble armory electronically.

A Traceable Resource for Armory Illustration

While I’m happy to do most of my armory design on a computer, there are times when you need to be able to put together a device or badge submission entirely offline, most notably at Pennsic and other large multi-day events.

Some folks have both an encyclopedic knowledge of heraldic art and the freehand illustration skills necessary to produce quality designs unassisted, but many people with less experience or weaker drawing abilities — and those who, like me, have both of those challenges — depend on references like the PicDic and the Pennsic Traceable Art collection.

I recently heard about an effort led by Lady Þórý Veðardóttir to update the Pennsic Traceable Art book to clean up some of the rough scans, include additional material, and otherwise upgrade this useful tool, and have thrown myself into the effort.

I’m terrible at freehand drawing, but am able to tackle the digital illustration and page layout side of things, so I’ve jumped in and drafted a bunch of printable heraldic elements, scaled so that they’re ready to be traced over (perhaps using a lightbox) to help speed the process of creating devices and badges.

I’m pleased to share a rough draft of the first set of illustrations resulting from this work: a set of common field treatments, divisions, and ordinaries, all drawn at the exact scale used for SCA heraldry submissions.

None of the material here is particularly complicated or unique, and any experienced herald painter could reproduce most of this in minutes with just a pen and a straightedge, but hopefully this will help make things a little easier and save a bit of time for folks dealing with the crush of hundreds of submissions processed at Pennsic every year.