At Dark Design Graphics, our Coat of Arms designs are most often used for custom tattoos and business brands. So when I was asked to do my first Coat of Arms artwork that would be created specifically for a wall display I was instantly delighted to be given such an opportunity and accepted without hesitation. After a discussion with my customer about his brief I found that I particularly liked his unique and personal ideas, reflecting his own interest in family heritage. This helped give me a better understanding of the importance of the features required in his Coat of Arms Artwork. My customer knew exactly what he wanted which made it easy to picture. I could not wait to see his ideas come to life.
“A personal hobby of mine is family history. I very much enjoy delving into the past, specifically within my own ancestral tree. That being said, I thought it would be great to create a more personal Coat of Arms for my family….and Dark Design Graphics certainly delivered!”
Creating A Coat of Arms
The initial artwork was generously proportioned making it is easier to see most of the detail. There were aspects of the design that I was apprehensive about such as the tree; my client wanted the tree itself to divide into quarters, signifying all 4 seasons; spring, summer, autumn, winter. I was unsure at the time about how to pull this off without making it look naive. After much thought I decided this could be achieved by means of deliberate subtlety.
I wanted to make the seasons very delicate, almost hidden so as to entice the observer to look more intently. I began carrying out research on seasonal changes in deciduous trees to see how I could implement this into the design. After completing a few test images and sketches, I was satisfied and confident that we could portray this feature very effectively in the Coat of Arms Artwork.
This was accomplished by gradual transformation from a blossoming green tree heading toward a more discolored appearance then ultimately the snow on the winter quarter of the tree.
“I wanted this crest to depict strength, wisdom, and longevity, as I feel these characteristics truly represent my family. The shield had to appear strong and metallic. Within it, I imagined a four-season tree that would give the perception of time and history. Most importantly, I wanted a great owl on top of the shield. Owls are a symbol of wisdom and are truly magnificent creatures. I knew it was going to be a tough task to create, but I had faith in the process.”
Strong imagery such as this adds an authentic element to the design. I feel that, the owl and the banner, which includes my client’s family name, really catches the eye. The owl works brilliantly giving that strong protective impression to the Coat of Arms artwork along with the family name adding that last, personal touch.
I have discovered that there is no such thing as enough preparation when doing these custom Coat of Arms illustrations. A great deal of this project involved detailed researching and continuous testing of different ideas and methods which helped me learn new techniques I could employ in the final artwork.
My customer was wonderful to work with. Although based abroad he still managed to reply with feedback within a few hours, making the whole project smooth and enjoyable.
My artist, Jenn, was new to the Dark Design Graphics team. She was eager to expand her portfolio and was available to start almost immediately. I sent her my thoughts about the piece, as well as, a few reference images. Within just a few short days she sent me a first draft…and it was stunning! She continually updated me on her progress while she completed it, and made sure I was satisfied each step of the way. I cannot thank her and Dark Design Graphics enough!!!
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