Drawing a Dozen Different Dragons

Much of this blog is dedicated to the Heraldry I draw for specific clients. Aside from the Pennsic Reference Boards, I haven’t talked about the hours I spend at Pennsic and at home, consulting on heraldic art via Oscar and the Baby Heralds FaceBook group.

In addition to that, I am the Herald who envisioned the newest version of the Traceable Heraldic Art Project. Not long after I began working on it, Mathghamhain Ua Ruadháin stepped in to help. He has software that can convert line art into vector art, and the server space to host HeraldicArt.org.

Vector art is different from scans of line drawings because it is scaleable. If you take a photograph to a copy shop and make it twice as large, some of the details will blur due to the limitations of the DPI (Dots Per Inch) of the photo. Vector art is different because it can be enlarged and shrunk on a computer and not become blurry.

Making the new Traceable Art in vector format allows the artwork to be reproduced at any size or scale, from combat shields to banners and tabbards or list tree shields. Vector art allows people to have artwork that is more complicated than they can draw.

This project is enormous. It incorporates most of the Pennsic Traceable Art, as well as all the backgrounds for heraldic shields (called Field Divisions). Additionally, we are including heraldic artwork created by artists around the world.

One set of artistic compilations was created in 1994 by Herald Torric inn Bjarni. His work is incredibly detailed, but his use of shading and hatching are difficult to translate into vector art. One of my tasks as an artist is to take his artwork and turn it into drawings that are easily converted to vectors. This is a huge task, because he compiled his drawings in a way to save space and paper, often using dashed lines and small notes to indicate how alternate versions of a creature would be drawn. These are scans from a few of his drawings.

Dragons

I have scanned these versions of dragons, and the other pieces that allow different variants to be drawn. The dragon has four legs, while the wyvern has only two. Additionally, Torric made notes on basilisks and cockatrices, which I also drew. These combinations resulted in drawing a baker’s dozen different variations of the same dratted dragon.

DragonsSittingHere are the first two dragons. The dragon on the left is Sejant, or in a seated pose.

The dragon on the right is Sejant Erect, or sitting with a raised limb.

WyvernsSitting

In contrast, these two wyverns have only two legs. They are also displayed as Sejant and Sejant Erect.

CockatricesSitting

With Torric’s note of the cockatrice head and the beginning of wings in the thumbnail drawing, I was able to piece together drawings. A cockatrice is a wyvern with the head of a cock.

BaskilisksSitting

A basilisk  is only different from a cockatrice because it has a dragon’s head at the end of its tail.

After drawing eight pictures of similar creatures, I was delighted to draw these dragons Couchant, or crouching. The right dragon is Coucant Erect, or crouching with one limb raised.

DragonsWingup

And here are another two versions of the Couchant dragons, with their wings folded. Having many variations of heraldic animals can be helpful when artists are placing images within limited space.

DragonsWingdown

Finally, here is the dragon Dormant, or sleeping. The Hogwarts motto “Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus” seems appropriate here, since you should never tickle a sleeping dragon.DragonDormant

I enjoy ending posts with a bit of humor, but a recent change to heraldic registration laws has removed sleeping animals from the list of registerable charges. Sleeping animals are hard to distinguish from one another, breaking the First Rule of Heraldry: Can I Identify That Shield in Combat/ The Barony of l’Ile du Dragon Dormant of Montreal, Canada features a sleeping dragon. Since its’ heraldry is already registered, the Sleeping Dragon stays.

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