For a bit of context, the Brotherhood of St. Christopher was established in the fourteenth century to shelter and assist travelers who were crossing the Alps using the Arlberg pass between Italy and Austria. For hundreds of years, they recorded the identities of armigerous travelers (and donors to the brotherhood) by painting the arms in a series of manuscript guest books.
Commentary in OSCAR is a valuable and necessary part of the Society’s submission and registration process, but because it all takes place online and is done privately, it can feel slightly opaque for incoming heralds who aren’t sure how to participate or where to begin.
In my role as the East Kingdom heraldic education officer, I have run a number of online commentary sessions over the last year focused on beginner and intermediate heralds who were not yet comfortable commenting in OSCAR, with the goal of providing a bit of training and encouragement, as well helping them to make connections with other members of the community.
The concept of “charge groups” was developed within Society heraldry to facilitate analysis of armorial designs; although that phrase isn’t used in either period or modern heraldry, it is an effective way of understanding the actual designs that appear in period armory.
To start, find a group of one or more charges of a similar size and in a related arrangement, then consider their placement and relationship to other charges to categorize them as follows: Continue reading “Identifying Charge Groups”
Every year on the first of April, the heralds of the Society for Creative Anachronism post mock submissions of historical names and armory. You can browse an archive of these letters via the College of Heralds Imaginary.
We generally attempt to adhere to the conventions expected for normal letters of intent, including source citations and armorial rules, but our standards for documentation and style are somewhat relaxed for this humorous purpose.
Over the last forty days or so, I’ve added another two hundred and thirty illustrations to the Traceable Heraldic Art web site.
Thanks to Iago ab Adam and Vémundr Syvursson, both of An Tir, who contributed a number of items to the collection in recent weeks. Master Iago’s adaptations from the Wappenbuch Conrads von Grünenberg are particularly striking, capturing the idiosyncratic character of the original roll while adhering to the clean line-art requirements of our submissions format.
(If you have line-art images you’re willing to share with the community in this way, get in touch! I’d love to have both brand-new charges and new versions of existing charges in different artistic styles.) Continue reading “Traceable Art Quarantine Update”
DrawShield is a web service that allows rapid generation of armorial images by either entering a blazon or choosing elements in a point-and-click interface.
It’s an automated system, so the results often aren’t as polished as you can produce by assembling elements yourself, or as unique as the custom work of a talented heraldic artist, but it’s fast and easy, and doesn’t require any tools other than a web browser, so it’s a great option for casual users to try out different possibilities and quickly mock up options for discussion.
Hundreds of charges from the Book of Traceable Heraldic Art have been converted to DrawShield elements, so users of the Traceable collection may recognize some images they encounter there, and DrawShield users can find additional variations of charges here if they wish to further embellish a design they started in that system.
Jehanette de Provins, Her Majesty the Queen of Northshield, teaches classes on how to create armorial images using GIMP and images from the Book of Traceable Heraldic Art, and recently recorded a session for viewers at home.
GIMP is an open-source software package for pixel-based illustration, in the same vein as Paint and Photoshop. As a Mac user, I find the interface to be a bit clunky, but it’s free, it includes a lot of features, and it runs on a wide variety of operating systems, which makes it a useful tool.
Make sure to turn your volume up to follow the presentation!