If you simply specify a number of charges then these will be arranged automatically across the field of the shield. They will all be the same size and be evenly spaced out. The precise layout depends on a number of factors, (all of which DrawShield takes into account automatically - or will do eventually!) These factors include:

  • Whether the shield has a chief present
  • What shape area is available for the charges (e.g. for quartered or dimidiated shields)
  • For certain numbers of charges, whether the field is divided (e.g. two charges on a field per bend

Arrangements in Relation to Other Charges

It is possible to arrange one charge between two or more other charges; this makes most sense with two or four charges and there are special arrangements for four charges around one of the four armed crosses.

Charges may also be placed in front of each other, using any of the following constructions:

  • on ChargeA ChargeB
  • ChargeB on ChargeA
  • ChargeA charged with ChargeB [charged with ChargeC...etc]

In all of these cases, ChargeB is shown in front of ChargeA but reduced in size so ChargeA will still be visible. Where the number of charges is greater than one it is best to think of on as meaning on each of (and indeed, this is allowed). Similarly, charged with is shorthand for each charged with. Thus 3 golpes on 3 pellets begets 3 pellets each with 3 smaller golpes shown in front of it.

The third construction above is special in that it can be repeated indefinetly, with each new charge being placed in front of the previous but shown smaller.

A charge, or groups of charges can also be placed next to each other, using any of the following, hopefully self explanatory constructions:

  1. ChargeA above ChargeB
  2. above ChargeA ChargeB
  3. ChargeA below ChargeB
  4. below ChargeA ChargeB
  5. ChargeA beside ChargeB
  6. beside ChargeA ChargeB

Items 1 & 4 are equivalent, as are 2 & 3. Various synonyms like standing on and alongside are also supported.

Each of the ChargeA, ChargeB etc. above can be modified by having their orientation changed (e.g. bendwise), their layout (e.g. in fess) or adjustments applied (e.g. shown larger). The important rule is that modifiers all go between the charge in question, and the arrangements specifier above. For example, a circus act can be drawn as a lion cadent or above a golpe shown larger, in which case the lion is cadent, and the golpe is larger.

To avoid confusion, a semi-colon ';' can be used to mark the end of a sequence of relatated charges.

Some charges also have modifiers such as holding in it's hand a. DrawShield will recognise many of these modifiers but does not yet have the ability to draw many of them properly.

In Specific Arrangements

It is also possible to specify a specific arrangement. Obviously there must be more one than one charge present, but in some cases only certain numbers of charges make sense. Warnings are displayed if this situation occurs. The following arrangements are supported:

In pale, in pale throughout, in pall, in fess, in fess throughout, in bend, in bend sinister, in chevron, in pile, in orle, in saltire, in cross, counter-passant, pilewise, in bar, in chief throughout, in a quadrangle, chevronwise, in a triangle, respecting each other, counter rampant, confronty, addorsed, in annulo

With some arrangements it is also possible to say that the charges should be touching by using the term conjoined. Note that this is implemented by calculating the size of the enclosing "box" leaving no gaps, but if the charge does not extend to all sides of the box then the charges may not actually touch. Arrangements that are conjoined work best with the simple geometric shapes.


Some blazons use the terms above, below, with and these terms are recognised but their use is discouraged as it is not always obvious exactly what is meant. Use specific locations in preference.

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