New Member to Begin Designing

 
j.carrasco
 
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j.carrasco
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28 April 2011 14:30
 

Yay!  I finally became a member yesterday and am ready to begin designing my arms.  Thanks to those of you that replied to my previous thread in the other discussion forum and thanks to those that have sent me private messages about how to get started.  I’m hoping that with the help and guidance of all the experts here I can design my own coat of arms that I can use.

As I mentioned previously, I have been interested in heraldry since I was in high school (I’m 36 now) and feel that I’ve finally come up with symbols that can define me no matter what point of my life I’m in.  I do not know how to describe everything in the correct terminology yet so I’m hoping to learn that as I go along.

 

Here are the symbols that I would like to see on my shield (and why I believe they have meaning to me):

 

1)  a brown bear - I was born and raised in small mountain town in CA and the brown bear is on our state flag.  Additionally, a bear was my college mascot.

 

2)  an open book - I’m an avid reader (always have been) and was an English major in college.  In addition, the open book can allude to the continual acquisition of knowledge and education.  I also have a Master’s in Education and education is my career field.

 

3)  2 stars - the stars can, again, allude to the CA flag but they will represent my 2 degrees.  I was the first person in my family to go college so I’m proud my accomplishment.

 

4)  I’m possibly considering adding a 3rd star to the mix (if so, then it would be a different color) to represent myself and my two siblings (I’m the oldest of the 3).

 

5)  My motto would be "Carpe Noctum" (Seize the Night) - I’m most definitely a night owl (my favorite time of the day is 1am-4am).  Carpe Noctum is also a direct reference to my job.

 

As I stated earlier, I do not know the terminology of how to describe the shield correctly but this is an initial idea.  After looking at many different arms on this site (and a few others) I am open to any ideas you may because there are some amazing arms out there (and I’d love to steal design ideas from them if that’s possible).

 

So what I was thinking was having a gold chevron on the shield.  The chevron represents the mountains that I grew up in and the gold is another allusion to CA (the Golden State).  Above the chevron is blue, under the chevron is green (every school I’ve ever attended has at least Blue, Gold, or Green as one of the school colors).  In the middle of the shield (lying over the chevron) is the bear.  The book is underneath the bear in the green section and the stars are in the top corners of the shield in the blue section.

 

So that’s all I’ve got.  Sorry this is so long.  Like I said, I’m completely open to trying different things since there are so many great designs on this site.  Thoughts?  Ideas?  Am I even heading in the right direction?

 
Jeffrey Boyd Garrison
 
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Jeffrey Boyd Garrison
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28 April 2011 15:26
 

My thought at first glance is possibly too many different charges.

I would stick with 3 tinctures or less, especially if using more than one charge.

 

I like the symbolism of your charges though, and I think if you want to keep them, consider moving the more personal ones (the bear & book) to the crest (helm) above the shield and maybe just have the chevron between 2 or 3 mullets (stars) on your shield.

 

How does party per chevron Azure and Vert, overall a chevron Or sound? (if my blazon is in error, someone please fix, ty). :(  How to fix… hmmm…

 

How about Vert a chevron Or voided Azure and two mullets in chief of the first.  Then stick the bear and book on your crest helm… perhaps a demi bear maintaining a book charged with the third star?

 
Jay Bohn
 
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Jay Bohn
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28 April 2011 17:56
 

I would suggest that you read through the other threads in this design section. Much of the same general advice is given each time.

 
Kathy McClurg
 
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Kathy McClurg
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28 April 2011 21:01
 

Yes, less is more in heraldry.  Although some others would have to chime in as to any previous use of the arms…

How about:

Shield: Per chevron Azure and Vert between three mullets a chevron Or (I don’t think this is a tincture problem because of the chevron separating the blue above green portions of the fields.)

 

Crest: A demi-bear proper holding a book bound (color?) (I’m thinking the book is open as though the bear is holding it for reading. I’m not sure if I’d go with from a torse on this - there have been some very nice arms omiting the torse)

 

Mantle: Azure and Vert Doubled Or (Unsure about that one)

 

Many armigers also use a scroll to denote degrees or education.  Instead of the book, you could go with a Bear holding in dexter paw two scrolls…  If each college had a specific color you could have the ribbon on each represent (by color) the college you recieved it from.

 

Using two scrolls, you could remove the mullets representing the number of degrees and go with the shield minus the mullets or put a mullet in the upper left hand corner (alluding again to the California flag).

 

Shield:  Per chevron Azure and Vert, a chevron Or in dexter chief a mullet Or

 

Crest: A demi bear holding in dexter paw two scrolls ribboned (?) <color> and <color>

 

There are infinite possibilities.  This is not a super fast process (about a year until I was happy and that was about 6 months of personal thoughts and 6 months of help).

 
werewolves
 
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werewolves
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28 April 2011 22:45
 

JBGarrison;82245 wrote:

EDIT: thinking about it, party per chevron Azure and Vert does actually break the tincture rule (or guideline rather) which states no color should occur next to color and not metal next to metal (on the same layer).

Actually, this isn’t the case.  A color can be placed next to a color, just not on a color.  So, for example, per fes Vert and Azure is fine, but Azure a fess Vert is not.


Quote:

metal should not be put on metal, nor colour on colour

Quote:

Simple divisions of the field are considered to be beside each other, not one on top of the other; so the rule of tincture does not apply.


Obviously, I’m a bit biased on this issue wink

 
J. Stolarz
 
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J. Stolarz
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28 April 2011 22:50
 

It’s a rough idea, and roughly done, but I thought it might add a little direction.

http://i127.photobucket.com/albums/p122/BrokenChainsX/Leafh.png

 
werewolves
 
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werewolves
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28 April 2011 22:54
 

JBGarrison;82245 wrote:

My thought at first glance is possibly too many different charges.

I would stick with 3 tinctures or less, especially if using more than one charge.

 

...consider moving the more personal ones (the bear & book) to the crest…


Couldn’t agree more.  There is a common tendency to throw everything that means something at the shield and hope it sticks.  Step back, simplify, listen to JBGarrison and stick to three colors if possible.

 

This will be a slow process, and you might be surprised at how different your final product is to where you start.

 
J. Stolarz
 
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J. Stolarz
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29 April 2011 01:51
 

I like some of the ideas that you have, and think that a couple of them may stick.  Simple is definitely the key in all of this.  For the most part, the less on a shield, the more it will stand out.

Another thing to take into consideration when designing an arms is, are you hoping your children (If you’re planning on having any) and other descendents, would also want to adopt your arms down the line?  It is important for it to mean something to you personally, but I think it should mean something to people generationally as well.  Say you were really into playing guitar, and you wanted that included in your arms.  That’s all well and good, but chances are your son wouldn’t want it on his own arms.  This is another reason why simple is better haha.  What I personally ended up doing was that I picked some symbolism that meant something to me, but also was simple, looked unique, and could be adopted by somebody else easily…then I customized my crest a little further to me personally.  Generally to my understanding it was the shield that passed down paternally, while the descendent would keep the shield, they would make their own unique crest.

 

Food for thought.

 
Kenneth Mansfield
 
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Kenneth Mansfield
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29 April 2011 11:18
 

Jesse,

There are a few points I’d like to make before offering any design ideas or making any specific comments on your suggestions or those of others.

 

First, you need to think long and hard about why you want a coat of arms. It varies from person to person and there is no right or wrong reason. Some do it to highlight accomplishments in their own lives. Others do it to forge a connection to their ancestors or a particular ancestor and as a means of sharing that connection with the other descendants of those ancestors/that ancestor. Your reasons will (or at least should) greatly affect how you go about designing your arms and what will be included on them.

 

Secondly, you should try to avoid traps and clich├ęs (like the book) and you should strive for both simplicity and originality. To do these things well requires some study of the art of heraldry. Some people are interested in heraldry in a more general sense and others simply want a coat of arms to have and (usually) to pass down. There is nothing wrong with the latter approach, though if you have strong opinions about what you’d like included on your shield, an understanding of heraldry will go a long way towards a good final product. That can be your understanding or ours. Either way works. smile

 
 
j.carrasco
 
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j.carrasco
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29 April 2011 13:57
 

Hey everyone.  Thanks for your thoughts and input thus far.  Your thoughts have already got me thinking and moving things around in my head.

Jeffrey - I hadn’t really thought about moving the bear/book to the crest.  I was so sure that I wanted it in my arms that it was just always on the shield.  But as soon as you mentioned I was immediately drawn to having a demi-bear holding a sword so I think that has a good chance of becoming the crest.

 

Joshua - I was thinking the same thing about descendants.  After Jeffrey’s comment about moving the more personal things up into the crest I suddenly realized that the shield needs to be a little more "general" in nature if it was to be passed down.  Now, trying to figure that out is the difficult (fun) part.

 

Kathy - thanks for giving some initial ideas.  I like what you’ve started and am going to try to create some different blazons this weekend (I have never actually written a blazon before so I’m sure I’ll make some mistakes).

 

Kenneth - thanks for the advice.  I have thought about it in the past and have decided that I really want it to highlight me as a person and my accomplishments (not so much to highlight or honor my past ancestors).  My surname is indeed Spanish and my parents were born and raised in Mexico.  However, I have almost no ties to the culture and traditions (i can’t even speak spanish, haha).  I’ve never felt like I was a part of that, or that it was a part of me.  All of my life, I’ve felt a stronger pull and connection to more british things than to spanish (or other european).  While I wasn’t making a conscious effort to create a more british design, that definitely feels more me.  So, in a way, I want to use my arms as a way to "start over" and really focus on where I’m at now (i.e. my accomplishments, my values and beliefs, etc.) and hope that if the time comes it can be passed down to descendants.  But if not, then it can be a statement of who I am.  I hope that makes sense.  That being said, I am going to look at the link you provided.  You never know, perhaps I will find something that I connect with.

 
Mark Olivo
 
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Mark Olivo
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29 April 2011 14:20
 

Hello Jesse, and welcome.

Whatever you do, I hope you choose to keep at least passing reference to your hispanic origins, or perhaps an oak tree someplace for canting.

 
kkb-ia
 
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kkb-ia
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29 April 2011 21:34
 

Shield: Ermine between three stars gules an open book proper.

Crest: A demi bear gaurdant holding a book in both claws proper.

 
J. Stolarz
 
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J. Stolarz
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29 April 2011 22:10
 

http://i127.photobucket.com/albums/p122/BrokenChainsX/Shield-3.png

Trying to combine some of the things you’ve mentioned before.

 
j.carrasco
 
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j.carrasco
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29 April 2011 22:34
 

Oooh!  I kinda like that!  Thanks Joshua.

I’m working on a few designs myself and am hoping to share them later this weekend.

 
Michael F. McCartney
 
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Michael F. McCartney
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29 April 2011 22:50
 

Joshua’s design (image above) is a really nice coat of arms, but so wonderfully simple that it’s highly unlikely to be unique.  Having said which, it’s the sort of thing we strive for—but as the wise man (well, some wise man) is said to have said, "Man’s reach should exceed his grasp, else what’s a heaven for?"

That’s one of the biggest challenges—simple yet original—not impossible, or we wouldn’t bother doing this!—but a definite consideration.

 

To emphasize what Ken and others have said earlier, think long & seriously about who your hoped-for arms should pertain to.  You mentioned two siblings—would you like them to take ownership, at least as far as the arms (shield) itself, even if they modified it a bit or changed the crest?  What about your parents, if still living (or if you would like to memorialize them), or any Carrasco cousins, at least those descended from your first American immigrant of the name?  If you have or may at one point have kids, how about them?  or grandkids? etc.

 

I obviously have a strong personal bias towards more family-oriented arms, which you may not share—as is your perfect right!—but a little thought about the future may avoid regrets later down the line.  If you still prefer the heavily personal approach, at least you will have thought out the options & consequences and can stick to your guns in good conscience.

 

This doesn’t necessarily mean depersonalizing the arms to the point that they no longer mean anything to you—if that were the rule, why bother?

 

One conceptual approach, though by no means the only way to go, might be to think "as if" you were designing arms for great-grandpa (as many "greats" as you have or choose to honor) that would be meaningful to all his descendants, and simple enough that various branches or individuals could add a bit (or fuss with the crest) to tailor them to their individual or collective identities.  You obviously wouldn’t settle on something that left you cold!—but work towards a design or theme that would hopefully warm other hearts as well.

 

One aspect of this—more work but potentially rewarding—is to consider sharing parts of the design process with others in your extended family.  Not all will care, but hopefully a few will.  The greatest reward is the sharing, both of the doing (working together towards a common goal) and the having (the shared final result).  That’s part of the kick we get from this exercise; but God willing your family will with you long after the Internet has gone the way of the 8-Track.

 

This is all of course easy to say but a challenge to do—but then that’s much of the fun of it!

 

Sorry to go all philosophical when you’d likely much rather start splashing bright colors on paper!

 
kkb-ia
 
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kkb-ia
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29 April 2011 22:57
 

What you think.

Not keen on blazoning but something like

Ermine per chevron sable two stars of different metals a chevron Or

http://www.customgiftsandarts.com/other/jcar_coa1.jpg

My thought on Ermine is its a fur which would bring something of the bear in the sheild and it would open up the color and metal tincture rules just a tad.

 

A brown bear with a paw resting on a open book or a stack of books would be a nice and unique crest.  If you want it similar to the bear in the California flag is would be a Bear in the statant or passant position. So your crest could be A Brown Bear passant (add scientific name here) proper under dexter or sinister paw an open book covered gold or other color.