Heraldry for Scribes

-- -- Mistress Eowyn Amberdrake

(Adapted with the author's permission for Western usage,

by Master Khaalid al Jaraad with the assistance of Mistress Alison von Markheim.)

In this article, I will assume that the reader is a scribe who does not read fluent heraldese, but who has just been given an abstruse verbal description of a set of arms and a poor-quality black and white copy of a picture drawn by a non-artist. The scribe's goal is to redraw that picture in a manner consistent with heraldic practice, and to color it properly. This is not an introduction to heraldry, so I am also assuming that the reader has either a reference book or two or a tame herald available.

When SCA practice differs from mundane heraldic references, it is best to consult an experienced SCA herald about the difference, or to assume that the SCA practice is correct and is in keeping with our interpretation of heraldry.

I will specifically address the basics of heraldic drafting style (size and shape), heraldic conventions (what the blazon doesn't say), SCA specific rules, and enough heraldic terminology to understand what goes where and how it is painted. Since animals occur frequently and have their own peculiarities of color and position, they are in a section of their own. The reader should refer to nearly any heraldic reference book for illustrations of crosses and their variations: there are too many to cover here. There are some crosses that are SCA inventions: if they aren't in a mundane reference ask a knowledgeable SCA herald. Heraldic terms are printed in bold type the first time they are used, and the reader may wish to refer to an heraldic dictionary for a more complete definition. I particularly recommend An Heraldic Alphabet by J.R. Brooke-Little.

Some of the statements here are based on rulings gathered into the Laurel precedents documents. There are not exact quotes, but many interpretations. Nearly all are based directly upon mundane heraldry and heraldic illustrations and practices.

What goes on a shield?

The duty of heraldic design is to be distinct, simple and impressive. To this end, good heraldic style is typified by the following qualities:

Drawing a Shield

Figure 1 shows a basic shield shape. Draw the top of the shield and the center line. Draw straight sides 1/5 to the width of the shield. 1/3 is a common length. Next, draw the sides curving to the center line. Either by starting at the bottom of the sides for a pointed base, or from the center for a round base.

Figure 1: How to Draw a Shield

1. Draw top line.
2. Draw centerline.
3. Draw sidelines

(Those drawn here are 1/3 the length of this top line.)

4. Draw the sides curving to the centerline.
Either by starting at the center for a round base,
or from the bottom of the sides - for a pointed base.

The Blazon

The emblazon is the picture, the blazon is the description of the arms in formal heraldic wording. A blazon first describes the field, or background, then the color of the objects placed on the field. After that it describes charges place on top of charges, and so on, building up from the surface of the shield. If a bordure or chief is present, it and its charges are blazoned last. The order that charges are given (depending on how they are arranged) is: from chief (top) to base (bottom), from dexter (shield's right, observer's left) to sinister (shield's left, observer's right), and from center outwards. When describing the charges, their number and arrangement on the shield are mentioned first, followed by their positions, positional details, color and color details. Several charges of the same color would all be described before mentioning the next color. Roundels (disks) and gouttes (drops) are sometimes blazoned by other names that imply their color (see table 1).

Table 1 Roundels Gouttes
Color Name Meaning Name Meaning
Argent - White Plate Silver (plata) de l'eau Water
Azure - Blue Hurt Hurtleberry des larms Tears
Gules - Red Torteau Cake de sang Blood
Or - Gold Bezant Byzantine coin d'Or Gold
Purpure - Purple Golpe Wine    
Sable - Black Pellet
Ogress
Cannon shot
Cannon shot
de poix Pitch
Vert - Green Pomme Apple d'huile
d'olive
Oil
Olive oil
White and Blue Fountain Water    
Black and White Tai-Ch'i Yin-yang    

The Field

The field is the background of the device, and is blazoned first, followed by the charges. A divided or parti-colored field is one divided into several pieces. It is partitioned into an even number of pieces when only two (which is by far the most common) tinctures (colors) are used. Otherwise, the field is said to be charged with the pieces. For instance, if a field consists of eight horizontal pieces alternately green and yellow, it is "Barry of eight vert and Or ..." If, on the other hand, it consists of several green and yellow pieces, with a green on the top, it is "Vert, three bars Or ..." Exceptions are chequey and lozengy, where it doesn't matter. Chequey and lozengy do not have to be of a specified number of pieces and can have either odd or even numbers along their longest division. Sometimes a blazon does specify "chequey of nine ..." or the like. St. John Hope notes that the longest bar of chequey is generally divided into six or eight pieces, but seven has "some artistic advantage as well."

The first named color is the one closest to the chief of the shield. If more than one part of a divided field shares the chief, then the color on the dexter side is mentioned first. Parti-colored fields normally have six pieces, otherwise the number is blazoned. Figure 2 shows the common divisions of the field, and the order that colors are given in the blazon. For arms without a chief, determine the tincture that belongs in the dexter chief corner, then color the rest of the arms from that starting point. When a charge such as a bend or saltire covers that corer, sketch in the field as if the charge were not present to determine tinctures. For arms with a chief, treat the dexter corner just below the chief as the top of the shield and proceed as above.

Figure 2: Field Divisions

Per Fess

Per Pale

Quarterly

Per Bend

Per Bend Sinister

Per Saltire

Barry

Paly

Checky

Bendy

Bendy Sinister

Lozengy

Per Chevron

Chapé

Chevronny

Chaussé

Per Pall

Per Pall Inverted

Gyronny

Gyronny of 6

Tierced in Pale

The lines of partition need not be just straight lines: if they are not, they should be bold enough to be identifiable from a distance. Thus, three to five copies of the basic unit of the design placed across the width of the shield is about right. Figure 3 gives their names and pictures. Lines of partition not only apply to divisions of the field, but they can be applied to the ordinaries and subordinaries.

Since a line of partition cannot face "outward" the rule is that it faces in the more "honorable" position: chief over base, dexter over sinister. Thus, a field per pale invected would have points to dexter, the arches to sinister. This appears to be the mundane practice, though precedent is somewhat muddled. Society practice is exactly the same. "Per pale" is the same in both but "per fess engrailed" mundanely would probably have the points to base (because the chief position "owns" the partition line), and Society practice places the points to chief so they look like the cups the partition line is named for.

Figure 3: Lines of Partition

Urdy

Invected

Engrailed

Indented

Raguly

Emmbattled

Dovetailed

Potenty

Nebuly

Wavy

Rayonny

Diapering

Diapering means to fill the blank spaces on a shield with a pattern of lines in a slightly darker or lighter hue of the same tincture. It is not mentioned in the blazon and is purely at the artists' discretion. Uncharged otherwise empty fields or ordinaries were commonly diapered in period scrolls.

Diapering of
the Arms of
De Warrenne
An example of diapering
both field and charge. In
this case a fess.

Tinctures

Tinctures are divided into color, metal, fur, and proper, and are used according to the Rule of Tincture:

Thou shalt not place metal upon metal nor color upon color.

Tables 2 and 3 list colors and metals with recommended paints. Furs and proper are nominally neutral with respect to this rule, as long as contrast is maintained.

Note: On period scrolls, silver metal as pigment is not often used, due to tarnishing and chemical reaction, its use is not in general recommended. -- Ed.

Table 2: Colors
Name:Sable
Color: Black
Shade: Greyish Black
Paint: Ivory black & dab white or india ink
Name:Azure
Color: Blue
Shade: Bright aquarmarine
Paint: Ultramarine & Cerulean
Name:Gules
Color: Red
Shade: Vermilion
Paint: Vermilion or cadmium red light
Name:Vert
Color: Green
Shade: Emerald green
Paint: Emerald; or azure & cadmium yellow light.
Name:Purpure
Color: Purple
Shade: Mauve
Paint: Purple lake, or azure & cadmium red light.

Table 3: Metals

Name:Or
Color: Gold
Paint: Grumbacher designer color cake; gold ink;
decoupage "gold" foil; genuine gold leaf; genuine shell gold
OR
Color: Yellow
Paint: Pale yellow ochre; cadmium yellow light.
Name:Argent
Color: White
Paint: Chinese white
OR
Color: Silver
Paint: Silver ink; decoupage 'silver' foil.

Table 4 lists the furs and their patterns. Varieties of ermine fur can be created by blazoning color (field) ermined metal (ermine spots), or vice versa. A variety of vair or potent fur can be created by blazoning vairy or potenty color and metal or vice versa.

Table 4: Furs
Name Field Tinctures Charge Tinctures Pattern

Ermine
White Black Ermine Tails

Erminois
Gold Black Ermine Tails

Counter-ermine
Black White Ermine Tails

Pean
Black Gold Ermine Tails

Vair
White Blue Vair Bells

Counter-Vair
White Blue Vair Bells

Vair en Point
White Blue Vair Bells

Vair in Pale
White Blue Vair Bells

Potent
White Blue Crutch-like

Counter-potent
White Blue Crutch-like

Potent-Counter-Potent
White Blue Crutch-like
(No image)
Potent-en-point
White Blue Crutch-like

Papelonny
Blazoned Blazoned Crescent

Plumetty
Blazoned Blazoned Feathers

Scaly
Blazoned Blazoned Crescent

Field Treatments

Treatments are certain recognized patterns of contrasting tinctures. They may be applied to the field as Field Treatments, or to charges on the field as Treatments.

Table 5: Field Treatments
Name Meaning

Fretty
Interlaced diagonal lines.

Grillage
Like Fretty but set cross-wise.

Honeycombed
Hexagon lattice pattern.

Maily
Interlaced rings in a chain-mail pattern.

Masoned
A regular brick-like pattern.

Scaly
The SCA equivalent for the most common depiction of the Papellony field.

Semy

Semy or semee refers to a regular pattern of charges in staggered rows. The drawing style of semy varied in period from the sans nombre version to the cut from cloth version. The former shows only full charges that stop short of the edges. The latter looks as if the shield were cut from a piece of patterned cloth with partial charges at the edges of the shield. Brooke-Little states that it is a matter for the artist whether partial charges are left at the edge or not. There is no difference between seven charges arranged to fill the shield and semy of those charges. Use of good sense: geometric charges like mullets are quite legible in pieces. Complicated charges like animals are best identified and most easily drawn when only entire beasts are shown. The individual items in the semy need not be identically drawn; in fact in period there was generally no attempt to do so.


Annuletty

Billetty

Seme of Crescents

Crusilly

Estoilly

Fleury or
Seme-de-Lys

Fretty

Goutty

Mullety

Ordinaries

Ordinaries and subordinaries are standard heraldic geometric shapes placed in standard positions on the shield. Following are ordinaries and other charges that occupy a substantial portion of the field, with some notes on drawing them. The central ordinaries (fess, pale, bend, bend sinister, cross, salitre, pile and pall) are considered primary charges, and are named first in a blazon. The ordinaries around the rim (chief, base, bordure, and flaunches) are named after all of the central charges have been described. The other geometrical charges shown (dexter tierce, sinister tierce, gore, and gore sinister) are sometimes called ordinaries and sometimes blazoned first, but precedents, both mundane and Society are mixed.

The most common error in drawing ordinaries is to make them too small. They should be bold. The sizes listed under the shields provide a feel for what is reasonable - they are not hard and fast rules. An ordinary is drawn larger when it is itself charged with objects, to give them more room. It is drawn smaller if the field is charged and the ordinary is not, to give room to the charges on the field. An ancient convention for drawing bends showed them as an arc: a straight line drawn on an outward curving shield would actually look something like that, so it can be interpreted as an early form of perspective drawing.


Base

Bend

Bend Cotised

Bend Sinister

Bordure

Chevron

Chevron Cotised

Chevron Inverted

Chevron Throughout

Chief

Chief Triangular

Cross

Cross Cotised

Flaunches

Fess

Fess Cotised

Gore

Gore Sinister

Pale

Pale Cotised

Pall

Pile

Pile Cotised

Saltire

A charge may surmount another, or be blazoned as overall. Overlying charges should be drawn boldly. An overall charge drawn to just barely overlap onto the field is poorly designed and should be redrawing. In general, underlying charges are drawn smaller to promote ready identification of the overall charge. Exceptions are overall central ordinaries: they are generally the ones drawn skinny, so the charge beneath can be identified.

The edges of an ordinary can also be specified with any of the partition lines. About a third of the ordinary's width on each side is used for drawing the partition line. Thus, there will generally be more copies of the basic unit of the design on the edge of an ordinary than there are when it is used as a field partition. A fess or chevron embattled displays embattlements solely upon the upper edge. Further, there are two additional terms: Counter-embattled (or embattled-counter-embattled) indicates offset embattlements on both sides of the ordinary; while brettessé indicates aligned embattlements on both sides of the ordinary.

The term fimbriated means that the charge mentioned in the blazon has a band of color or metal around its outside edge to separate it from the field where it would otherwise be indistinguishable. It is used presently to allow simple charges to be placed on the field color on color, or metal on metal, which is otherwise against the rules. There are some older devices which have very complex fimbriation (birds, animal heads) but this is no longer allowed. An ordinary that is cotised has an extra line, sometimes two around it. The cotise is typically one-fourth the width of the ordinary, see the examples on both this and the previous page.

When more than one copy of an ordinary is used, the blazon will specify how many, and will call that ordinary by a diminutive of its name. In the SCA "no diminutive of an ordinary can be borne singly." this means that if the blazon says something like "Azure, a saltorel argent ..." or "Sable, on a bar Or ...", the ordinary in question is drawn as a regular saltire or fess, larger or smaller as the rest of the design dictates. The scribe should remember that a field charged with several copies of an ordinary will have an odd number of pieces, and the first color mentioned is that of the two outside pieces.

Proper

Proper is used two ways for a charge colored as in nature, and for one with understood conventional tinctures. For proper colored as in nature, SCA blazons specify the exact genus and species, and if needed the variety or breed. Mundane blazons do not specify this. For conventional proper, entire charges so termed obey the Rule of Tincture, though details might not. Some charges even change their proper coloration when placed on different fields, to force compliance. Table 6 defines some conventional proper tinctures.

Table 6: SCA Conventional Proper
Charge Tinctures
Barbed and seeded Green sepals, gold seeds
Flame On metal: red outside, gold inside
On color: gold outside, red inside
Ford On metal: barry wavy blue and white
On color: barry wavy white and blue
Humans Caucasian (pink) unless otherwise specified
Leather items Brown
Rainbow Heraldic: yellow, red, green, white; white clouds
Natural: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo; white clouds
Rose Red
Slipped and leaved Green leaves, green or brown stem
Stone items Grey
Sword Silver blade, gold hilt and quillions
Thistle Purple flower; green sepals, stem and leaves
Tree Green leaves, brown trunk
Wooden items Brown

ANIMALS

The heraldic positions for animals are given
on the next few pages.

Whenever a leg is off the ground, the scribe should draw the far leg as the one farthest from the ground: this shows the limbs to best advantage, without obscuring far limbs with near ones. In theory, any animal with four limbs can be blazoned with in these positions: for instance, a duck can be rampant, with wings out in front.

A griffin described "segreant" is drawn as rampant. This term is used only for griffins (for reasons unknown).

The continental herald-painters of all periods and the later English ones were quite concerned that a male animal not be emasculated. The very early English and late Victorian painters generally ignored the problem. Continental painters often painted the relevant parts red.

The details on animals can be done in contrasting color, particularly if the beast is the only or main charge. However, it is not wrong to use the tincture of the beast for the details. If particular details are to be painted a specific color that is not the default color, then the parts of the body that are to be this color are named. The default or most commonly used colors are listed at the end of each entry. The parts of which a scribe is likely to encounter are:

Animal Heads

Parts of animals may be used as charges. A head couped has the neck cut off straight, couped closed if
the head ends in a straight line before the neck, erased if the neck is cut off with three ragged tufts for
the edge, and cabossed (or caboshed) when the head is facing the viewer with no neck visible.


Head Couped

Head Erased

Head Cabossed
also Caboshed

Rampant

rampaging
ca. 1100-1400
Vertical back, down to leg; hind legs at right angles, forelegs towards chief, tall bent towards back, mouth closed.
Rampant

rampaging
ca. 1450-1600
Back bendwise, legs maximally spread out; far leg is usually parallel to the ground, but both hind legs may be on the ground.
Salient

leaping
1562
Back slanted, forelegs at right angles, hind legs parallel, tail bend towards back.
Salient

leaping
SCA and
Modern form
Back slanted, forelegs together towards chief; hind legs together on ground; tail fills space.
Passant

walking traditional
Body fesswise, far foreleg up, near hind leg vertical, others parallel to the ground, tail bend away from body.
Passant

walking
modern
Similar to above, but three legs are firmly on the ground.
Statant

standing
All four legs on ground, tail usually not quote the same as passant.
Sejant

sitting
Back bendwise, all four legs on ground.

Sejant erect

sitting up
Couchant

lying down
Dormant

sleeping
Combattant
for predators

Respectant
for others

Addorsed

back to back
Passant Counter-Passant Affronte

front view
Gardant
for predators and
most other animals

At Gaze
for deer
Regardant
Volant

for insects
Tergiant

back view

Position Attitude of
Body
Position of
Wings and Tail
Position of
Head
Position of
Legs
Comments
Displayed
wings spread,
tips up

British default
Displayed Inverted

wings spread, tips up

Continental default
Migrant
migrating
SCA creation
Close
standing,
wings closed
Note: Owls close are
gardant
Volant
flying

Birds can also
fly horizontally;
wings can be
addorsed
Rising
taking off
See below for
wing positions
Wing Positions
for Rising

Elevated
and
addorsed

Inverted and addorsed

Displayed and elevated

Displayed and inverted
Medievally, no distinction made

Position Name Orientation Fish Dolphin Comments
Naiant
swimming
Haurient
rising to draw in
air
British version
Urinant
diving
Belly to sinister
Embowed
curved
French haurient;
fish can also be
embowed fesswise.

Summary

of Heraldic Conventions and Drafting Style

The language of blazon does not specify some things that should be understood by the herald-painter. Some of these "unwritten laws" are written below. Many of the details of a charge are left to the imagination of the scribe or specific instructions from the armiger.

The Field

Treat the bottom edge of a chief as the top of the shield when emblazoning the body of the shield.

Partition lines should be large enough to be distinguished from a distance.

A line of partition faces the more "honorable" position: the chief portion of the field "owns" the partition (refer to "The Field" for more information).

Placement of Charges

A single charge is placed in the center of its area of the shield, large enough to fill it comfortably, covering about half of the total area allotted.

If there is an ordinary dividing the field, two charges are placed one on either side: otherwise, their placement must be specified.

Unless blazoned otherwise three charges are arranged two in chief, one in base. The one in base may be drawn somewhat larger. The recipient of the scroll may want all the charges to be the same size: ask that person if possible.

Without an ordinary, six charges are arranged three, two, and one: otherwise, they are evenly distributed on either side of the ordinary.

When there are several of the same charge, old carvings and manuscripts showed no two exactly alike. Renaissance and modern style has them close to identical.

Orientation of Charges

Charges on an ordinary follow the orientation of that ordinary. For example, a charge on a pale is vertical, while a charge on a bend is bendwise (315°).

Charges oriented as if they were on an ordinary are termed "Ordinary-wise". For example, a charge oriented vertically is "pale-wise".

Charges arranged on the shield in the place of an ordinary are in their normal aspect. Three trees in bend are each palewise, three dragons passant in bend are each fesswise.

All charges face dexter, unless stated otherwise.

Inanimate objects default to business end up. Exceptions are those that are generally used with the business end down: arrows, pheons, quills, spoons, Mjollnir hammers, anchors, plows, and so on.

The default orientation for all geometric figures (mullet, lozenge, hexagon, and so on) is with a point to chief. The exception is charges based on rectangles.

When two charges are in salitre, the first one mentioned is the one in bend, and then the other is the one in bend sinister.

Drawing Style for Charges

All charges are drawn in their most recognizable aspect, either front-on or in profile, almost never trian aspect or three-quarter view. Dice are among the few charges normally drawn in perspective.

Objects that have medieval forms and modern forms should be represented in the medieval form (SCA ruling).

In pre-Tudor heraldry, charges were generally shown flat, without shading or modeling. It is a good model for modern style, as well. As Balfour-Paul puts it, "All confusing shadows, all dim and doubtful lines should be rejected."

Charges have a distinctive silhouette. This means they are often highly stylized, and conventionalized in outline. Thus, a lion is large-maned and narrow-waisted, with paws spread to show the claws to best advantage.

A tree or plant should display its characteristics in a conventional form. A few oak leaves and acorns drawn boldly within the outline of the tree is more clearly "oak" than a naturalistic tree.

Coloring Charges

One of the most common conventions is calling a roundel or goutte by a special name denoting its color. Table 1 lists these conventions.

Minor details of animals and inanimate objects may be done in a more "lifelike" tincture. Details are more likely to be done in contrasting colors if the charges are few in number (generally three or less). The more charges, the less detail.

In British heraldry, a lion (and by extension, any animal) is langued and armed gules, even when this violates the Rule of Tincture. If either the lion or the field is gules, he is armed and langued azure. In Continental heraldry, tongue and claws are generally the same color as the beast.

Details in charges may be delineated in a contrasting tincture. Commonly the contrasting tincture used is either black or the tincture of the field. Period arms rolls seem about evenly divided in style. Some scrolls show everything outlined in ink, others have only the underside of the charges inked, and still others use only the field color for delineation. This outlining should not be confused with fimbriation, which is a much wider line of contrasting tincture around the edge of a simple charge when otherwise that charge would violate the Rule of Tincture. Fimbriation is always mentioned in the blazon if it is to be done.

Conventions for the Achievement

Heraldic painters showed the shield helm and crest proportioned with the shield just over 2/5 of the total height. Proportions can also be done such that the bearer of the shield could reasonably wear the helm and crest depicted.

When doing a scroll for a peerage or Royal peerage make every effort to consult with the recipient. There are many elements that may be used or left out, at the discretion of the recipient. For example, does the person want supporters or not? Do they want a helm, and if they do, what kind? The achievements associated with particular ranks are outlined elsewhere in this manual, but they are an upper limit. The recipient may choose to leave some out. Please ask.

The Shield

Use a heater shaped shield for most SCA achievements. The exact proportions can be varied to best display the arms. In the SCA, women have the option of using a lozenge shaped shield, but this is not required and medievally they were not restricted to such. St. John Hope notes that "the form of a shield is in itself entirely arbitrary and void of meaning."

Franklyn advises against displaying the shield couche, that is, tilted to dexter, when the arms have any ordinary in them. This style distorts the design: a pale looks like a fess, a cross looks like a saltire, and so on. Arms in the British style tend to have ordinaries, and are normally shown straight up and down. Continental style tends not to use ordinaries and arms are often shown couche without bad effect.

Crowns and Coronets

The crown should rest firmly on the shield, not float above it.

A crown alone was generally drawn in period as if it were as wide as the shield. A crown sized in proportion to the shield would be about a third of its width.

A crown on a lozenge may be large, and balanced on the top of the lozenge, or smaller and rest around the top.

A crown of four points has only three showing.

A classic ducal coronet is chased as jeweled (that is, raised metal work in the shape of jewels), but not colored as if it were jeweled. It also does not imply ducal rank in mundane achievements, as it does in the SCA. SCA ducal coronets tend to look like the coronets people actually wear, and thus are not chased as jeweled.

Crowns can be done in a flat style, which does not show the back of the crown, or a rounded style, which has pieces of the back part showing through. Flat style often shows the bottom of the crown curved up.

Some people prefer that their own coronets be used.

Helm and Mantling

Keep the size of the helm reasonable with respect to that of the shield. Look at actual shields and helms for reasonable proportions. Artistic style in period ranged from tiny to reasonable to enormous helms.

A pot helm or quest helm was used on period achievements, current mundane practice is to use an armet or bascinet. Most SCA people wanting helms used on their scrolls prefer either their own helms or an idealized version of their helms. Ask.

Draw the mantling in a style in keeping with the rest of the scroll.

Mantling should enhance the visibility of the shield, not obscure it. A good rule of thumb is to twist the mantling so that dark mantling is against light edges of the shield, and light mantling is against dark edges of the shield.

When drawing mantling, keep the proportions of metal (lining) and color (outer surfaces) approximately equal.

Mantling goes over the top of the helm: it does not hang from the torse.

Mantling is used on scrolls for Grants, Peerages and Royal Peerages only.

Renaissance (and later) convention is that the torse is six twists of cloth alternately metal and color. The first twist on the dexter side is metal. Anciently it varied from four to as many as eleven twists.

The torse is generally the same tinctures as the mantling. However, if the arms have a strong secondary color and metal, they could be used for the torse colors.

The torse holds the mantling on, or hides the joining of the crest to the helm. Thus, it should show a gentle curve, not a rigid bar. This is more of a mundane herald painter problem than an SCA one.

If the coronet is being drawn on a helm leave off the torse.

Crests and Supporters

Animal crests face the same direction the person in the helm is facing. Move the helm to best display the crest.

Supporters should have something solid and appropriate to stand upon. For example, the sea is appropriate for a dolphin, but not for a lion: a strip of twisted paper or a banner edge is not solid enough for either.

Human supporters generally face the spectator, beasts are generally upright and respectant.

Supporters should be vigorous and forcibly occupy the space allotted, actively upholding the shield with their limbs, not leaning or sprawling.

Supporters should not dwarf the shield, but should be large enough to see each other across the top without standing on tip-toe.

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