Apr 102017
Tiger and Dragon Coat of Arms Header Image 03

From the get-go, I knew this was going to make an interesting project. I love hearing the background stories to why these designs are so important so reading the reasons behind making their own new, and unique Hand-drawn & Vector Coat of Arms was truly inspiring.   Our customers’ story went all the way back to the 1800’s, so the challenge was on!

Hand-drawn & Vector Coat of Arms

Many customers visit Dark Design Graphics and ask for a custom design without fully knowing what format would be suited for their idea. So, for this particular project, a digital Coat of Arms (vector), as well as a traditional hand-drawn design, was the way to go.  I will explain the benefits and differences between a vector design and a hand-drawn design…

Hand-drawn Coat of Arms Concept

Vector Designs & Their Uses

The benefit of having a vector version of your artwork is the ability to then use it anywhere, they are the industry standard for branding projects and graphic design. They can be easily adjusted and resized and are great for a variety of printing methods. They have the benefit of being able to be resized to fit any size really, for example a small design can then be resized to fit a whole wall without losing any quality! Changing the colours of these Vector designs is as simple as a couple of clicks on the computer, once it has been fully made of course.  Many people nowadays are asking for modern takes on a coat of arms with the wish to pass it down from generation to generation, what better way to do that than with a digital piece of artwork as well as a traditional one-off hand-drawn illustration.

Vector Coat of Arms Design one colour

When it comes to hand-drawn designs you face a whole new set of limitations and a hand-drawn design even when professionally edited in digital format is not best for branding or the different uses a vector can be put to. We do of course send our customers High-Resolution digital image of their hand-drawn designs which can be expanded to quite a large size, but frankly making a drawing larger than the original is meant to be just means you would be able to see all the tiny imperfections and texture of the paper much more clearly than you would like.

Hand-drawn Coat of Arms featuring a Vietnamese Dragon

Family Crest Symbols

It was warming to know the reason behind my customer creating this particular Hand-drawn & Vector Coat of Arms was so they could pass it down to their son. Therefore making sure to adopt all elements of both families’ cultures and heritage as well as making sure it had enough depth and history was going to be the most challenging.  This is always a recurring feeling whenever I work on a custom coat of arms, they all differ in unique ways but the importance remains the same whenever I hear the background stories.

Owl's in Hand-drawn Coat of Arms from Dark Design Graphics

My customer and his wife were both very well educated in their history and heritage, this raised the pressure bar to a new level when putting together their Hand-drawn & Vector Coat of Arms.  My customer was very good at collecting his research and gave some perfect reference materials so the issue I thought I would encounter was a breeze…

Banner from a Hand-drawn Coat of Arms

The Dragon and the Tiger were very important elements of the Coat of Arms as it significantly reflects on his families Vietnamese heritage.  The supporters along with the grand owl at the top of the design really make this piece pop on a whole and make you want to know the history behind it.

What Sets A Hand-drawn & Vector Design Apart

The biggest challenge of having a project that has a hand-drawn design and a vector version is making sure they reflect each other in every way possible. The quality and atmosphere can sometimes be hard to produce on vector work. When I work on my hand-drawn artwork I add layer upon layer of detail and texture, and often, depending on its use you do not want to much detail in a vector design,  but when it works, it really works.

Herald serpent - Hand-drawn Coat of Arms

The main issue when creating any vector design is that it is hard to reflect the same amount of depth and richness you would find in the hand-drawn artwork. Unlike a digital design the original hand-drawn coat of arms, you can continue to keep adding more and more to it. It usually gets to a point where you have to tell yourself to stop!

A heraldic style Eagle and Phoenix

The range from rich to very light colours when layering a hand-drawn design adds depth that can often be hard to capture in any vector design…

Owl Coat of Arms Hand-drawn by Dark Design Graphics

A Traditional & Digital Coat of Arms

I tend to go into the design with coloured pencils to add in fine colour detail.  Lastly, going over the entire design and add in stipple shading with coloured pens and black fine liners, finishing off the piece with another go over the entire outline. Creating a full traditional, hand-drawn design with the perfectly matching vector Coat of Arms gives our customers almost endless options for further uses. Whether it is to hang and display their traditional artwork or create a family brand with the vector illustration. We love these projects because our customer gets the full package.

Final Full Image of a Hand-drawn Coat of Arms from Dark Design Graphics

Vector Coat of Arms Design Full colour

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