Now that I have my arms design finalized, I have some questions pertaining to the various design elements found in heraldic art.
First thing, bend angle and overall dimensions; are these things strictly governed or are they pretty much left to the individual herald to determine?
Shield style, as is rouned or pointed etc. Can you define shield style in the blazon?
According to Parker’s Heraldic Glossary:
"Bend, (fr. bande): the bend dexter is perhaps one of the most frequently used of Ordinaries, q.v., being a straight piece extending from the dexter corner to the opposite edge of the shield. It is said to derive its origin from the belt, baudrick or baldrick(Baltheus, Cingulum militare), which was once a mark of knighthood; other heralds, however, have seen in it the idea of a scaling-ladder. According to Legh and other heraldic writers, the bend should occupy one-third of the field when charged, and one-fifth when plain. In English arms the bend is always placed straight athwart the shield, and never bowed as in foreign arms: at the same time, in some late MSS. it is fancifully drawn with a curve, in order to represent the convexity of the shield."
There is no specific angle that the bend be as long as it runs from the chief dexter corner to the opposite "corner" of the shield.
As far as shield shape is concerned, there are many you can choose from-including rounded and pointed-depending on your artistic style or preferance. Shield shape often follows helm and mantling styles. There are also certain national or regional styles that may determine shield shape. For example, a Scottish style may have a heater-style shield tilted at around a 30 degree angle with a great helm and simple lambrequin. A German style may be similar but with a more pointed shield and even simpler (?) lambrequin. A French, Spanish, or Portugese style might display a vertical shield with a barred helm and very fancy (almost floral) lambrequin. These styles are not set in stone, but you get the idea.
I would refrain from stating a specific shield shape in the blazon. I don’t think I have ever seen it done before and it also limits the artist’s freedom.
Much of the German arms are now taking on a rounded bottom with a shorter (‘squatty’) shield all together.
Ref the threads on German Heraldry, Nordic Heraldry, Italian Heraldry etc. to get a cultural feel for the differences in heraldic style.
It will come with time and reading and this is a great place to get the information.
Also know that the ‘rules’ on size of charge(s) are more guidelines that usually should be followed. However, there are times that the composition of the shield will not allow a strict adherence to them. This is when a good heraldic artist will be able to make it all come together just right.
We have to keep on mind that the rendering we associate with a Coat of Arms is the graphic interpretation of the blazon (description of the coat of arms). As Phillip says I’ve never seen the shape of the shield as part of the blazon.
I have a XIV century style shield with the Venetian non titled nobility crest
A targe in my parent’s alliance arms
And a horse head (testa di cavallo) in my ex-libris
Each one is the artist’s interpretation of my arms with different reasons behind them.
I think the freedom of artistic interpretation (under certain rules) makes heraldry such a rich and interesting art.
Just my opinion.
I note that the color/metal are reversed for your ex libris. How come?
Plain stupidity. Mine of course. I made the mistake at the time of commission and for different circumstances i didn’t chek before print them. I have to commission it again with the proper colors.