Painting Arms

How do I paint Coats of Arms?

In this article I’ll try do describe the process of painting a picture with a Coat of Arms…

Follow me while I paint the Arms of the Swedish Family Forsberg.

Every heraldic project starts with a conceptual or general study. The process of making the general study requires much time… and a certain level of inspiration, every time I continue with the work. First when I am pleased with the concept, I send the study to the Armiger in order to inform him/her about the future form of the Arms, as well as to keep him/her informed about the process of painting.

The general study has to stay in ”incubator” for a few days. After a few days, when I see the study again, but this time with ”new eyes”, I am able to discover small details which need to be improved. When I finally approve the general study, is time to make a detailed study that is ready for the line drawing in ink…

As usually, except the axis of symmetry, there are no straight lines in the composition, on which the spectator’s eye could stumble…

The detailed study is a base for the line drawing in ink. When the line drawing is completed, the composition is now ready for painting.

The rest of the work is just like playing with a colouring page. Well, almost…


After several hours of pedantic work, the colours and the shadows are on the place. Normally, it is not possible to do any corrections in the paintings made in hard pastel.

But wait, there is still much to do…

The living colours and the dynamic shadows of heraldic paintings show their full expression only together with lines and curves…


Et voilà le travail! 😉

As all real handiworks, even artistic painting gives rather dirty products. But I would never exchange the handicraft for any computer program.

Copyright © Davor Zovko

All rights reserved


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