Planning Creates Proper Placement


Part of the challenge fun of creating Heraldic Art is choosing where all the parts of the design should be placed. Each visual element needs to be identifiable. This submission features an oak tree, two ravens, and a chief with three Mjollners. (Mjollner is the name of the Norse god Thor’s hammer. It has been affectionately dubbed “meow-meow” by a minor character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.) In this original submission, it is hard to distinguish the ravens, which are about the same size as the tree’s leaves. As Pallet Herald, my job is literally redrawing submissions like this one.PDFprint


My first step is to print the original art to copy it. I was sent this image of a raven to incorporate into the final design, so I used Paint to place the raven on the shield shape. The image appears to have two shields because I needed to scale the original slightly down so I would be able to trace the oak tree at roughly the correct size. (Smaller tree + larger ravens = everything is easier to see!)



Once I had the print-out, I placed it under a shield template of the correct size on my light box. I have a template of my Mjollner badge, but it has some small irregularities. I measured 1/4″ margins around the edge of the shield, and made sure there was 1/4″ between each Mjollner. I also elongated the roots of the tree so it would fill the space better. Finally, I made a point of drawing extra lines around each leaf. This creates outlines of white space between the solid black shapes, allowing the final image to be more than a black shadow.Redraw-Dyrfinna-Sigurdsdottir-device


The final image is precisely aligned, with easily distinguished ravens, oak tree, and a chief of Mjollners.


Heraldic Heartwarmers and Hangups

Many of the fine folks who work to register Heraldic Names and Devices are history nerds. The Society for Creative Anachronisms is full of history nerds, but Heralds tend to take our devotion to exponentially higher levels.

I love being an Art Herald, but I often find myself face-palming when I hear horror stories from people who dislike or even despise their Heraldry. When I ask why, the responses tend to be some form of, “My Herald made me do it this way.”

This does not bother me. “Bother” is too simple of a word to describe my anger and frustration with any heraldic consultant who forces their clients into a “proper” decision. Sometimes we heralds have to adjust the client’s design to fit within our rules, or to clear conflict. Adjustments are fine, but no client should ever hate their heraldry!!

The whole purpose of Heraldry is a visual display, declaring who you are to the world. Heraldry is the oldest form of Identify Friend or Foe. If a client does not love their Heraldry, then I feel I have failed as a Herald.

My rules for Heraldry are simple:

  1. Does the client like it?
  2. Does it fit within our rules? (Does it have color-on-metal and metal-on color for high contrast? Does it conflict with any other registered devices?)
  3. Is it registerable? (Some charges, such as testicles and swastikas, are forbidden.)

As long as the client’s design is covered by all three of these rules, I consider my work as a Herald well done. Not everyone agrees with me.

I have met Heralds who encourage clients to create period designs and will deliberately withhold information. All in the name of ensuring the  heraldry with their name as consultant is Properly Period and Will Not Make Them Look Bad.

I am not one of those Heralds.

I am the Herald of Helheim Yeah, Let’s Register That!


When Guardians of the Galaxy came out in 2014, (A.S. XLVIII) there was a comparison meme floating around the interwebs. It shows a stark contrast between DC Comics being “edgy” and Marvel Comics being written for character depth and humor. Box office sales have shown well-written, witty movies are more well-liked than dark, boring brooding ones.

So when a friend asked for a green squid on a gold background, I went the extra mile. He has more Cthulhu memorabilia than I have Captain America paraphernalia.

Not only did I give him a color-on-metal completely registerable piece of Heraldry, I slapped wings on the squid, and then made them look like demonic horns. I also suggested he align the design Facing to Sinister,  because Cthulhu is the most sinister thing out there. The first design was my original submission, but I learned that both wings needed to be fully displayed and the tentacles could not overlap.


On the note of Marvel geekery, I have a lot of Captain America collectibles, most notably my shield backpack. This is me a few Pennsics ago, punching a Hydra street sign. Not shown are my Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. jackets, my Captain America shield cell phone case, wallet, keychain, cufflinks…well, you get the idea!

Do you want a tree and a raccoon wielding a gun on your Heraldry? Because I’m the Herald who will help you register it!