Charge Adjustments

In an ideal world your expert Herald would consider your blazon and use their skill and judgement to size and place charges for the best clarity, impact and overall balance. Sadly, you don't have an expert Herald, just 15,000 lines of PHP code!

For those occasions when DrawShield just doesn't get it right I have created a small extension introduced by the keyword shown (or, if you prefer your language more archaic, shewn somewhat). Any charge may be described by this keyword (which must come after the charge), followed by any number of the phrases shown below.

Please note that none of these phrases are heraldic in any sense, you will not find them in any manual of blazonry. I tend to think of them more as "instructions to the artist" - I believe is a perfectly reasonable scenario in which your heraldic artist brings you the first sketch of your proposed arms and you say "That's lovely, but can you make the lion a bit larger?". This set of charge adjustments lets you do that when DrawShield is your artist!

The list of possible adjustments is as follows:

To make charges smaller:

  • slightly smaller - the charge will be shown about 90% of the normal size
  • smaller - the charge will be shown about 80% of the normal size
  • much smaller - the charge will be shown about 60% of the normal size
  • very much smaller - the charge will be shown about 40% of the normal size

To make charges larger:

  • slightly larger - the charge will be shown about 10% larger than usual
  • larger - the charge will be shown about 20% larger than usual
  • much larger - the charge will be shown about 40% larger than usual
  • very much larger - the charge will be shown about 60% larger than usual

To rotate charges:

  • rotated to the dexter - The charge will be rotated anti-clockwise (i.e. towards the top left).
  • slightly rotated to the dexter - The charge will be rotated anti-clockwise, but not quite as much .
  • much rotated to the dexter - The charge will be rotated anti-clockwise, but a bit further round.
  • very much rotated to the dexter - The charge will be rotated anti-clockwise, but a quite a bit further round.

Obviously you can also use sinister in place of dexter to rotate in the opposite direction. You can also use constructions like turned towards the sinister if that reads better.

The rotations are in steps of 9 degrees, so slightly rotated is 9 degrees, and very much rotated is 36 degrees. do NOT use multiple rotations when you really mean bendwise or bendwise sinister.

To move the charge upwards:

  • slightly raised - the charge will be moved about 1/40th of the shield height upwards
  • raised - the charge will be moved about 1/20th of the shield height upwards
  • much raised - the charge will be moved about 1/10th of the shield height upwards
  • very much raised - the charge will be moved about 1/5th of the shield height upwards

To move the charge downwards:

  • slightly lowered - the charge will be moved about 1/40th of the shield height downwards
  • lowered - the charge will be moved about 1/20th of the shield height downwards
  • much lowered - the charge will be moved about 1/10th of the shield height downwards
  • very much lowered - the charge will be moved about 1/5th of the shield height downwards

To move the charge sideways:

  • slightly to the sinister - the charge will be moved about 1/40th of the shield weight to the sinister side of the shield
  • to the sinister - the charge will be moved about 1/20th of the shield weight to the sinister side of the shield
  • much to the sinister - the charge will be moved about 1/10th of the shield weight to the sinister side of the shield
  • very much to the sinister - the charge will be moved about 1/5th of the shield weight to the sinister side of the shield
  • slightly to the dexter - the charge will be moved about 1/40th of the shield width to the dexter side of the shield
  • to the dexter - the charge will be moved about 1/20th of the shield width to the dexter side of the shield
  • much to the dexter - the charge will be moved about 1/10th of the shield width to the dexter side of the shield
  • very much to the dexter - the charge will be moved about 1/5th of the shield width to the dexter side of the shield

Repitition:

  • shown likewise - the same set of adjustments that were applied most recently will also be applied to this charge

The word slightly can be replaced by a little if you prefer.

To adjust spacing between multiple charges you can use the largely self-explanatory terms:

  • closer together
  • much closer together
  • very much closer together - In some cases charges may overlap
  • further apart
  • much further apart
  • very much further apart - In some cases charges may extend beyond the edge of the shield

Note you should avoid using closer together when you really mean conjoined, which is a true heraldic term.

You may also use additional words and phrases like than the usual or than is normal, which don't have any effect but might make your blazon clearer.

Examples

Argent a mullet vert shown somewhat larger than the normal (or, more concisely) Argent a mullet vert shown larger

Argent a crescent gules shown much smaller and raised from the usual

You can also do non-heraldic but interesting things like stacking multiple charges neatly: Argent a mullet vert shown somewhat larger than the normal a mullet or a mullet gules shown smaller a mullet azure shown much smaller

Fine control

It is possible to repeat these adjustments and each will applied in turn, however it is strongly recommended to use the much modifiers rather than repeating the adjustment. Not only does this look grammatically nicer, the "effect" of a much is actually greater than repeating the "basic" modifier. Consider the following examples:

A roundel or smaller smaller smaller
size multiplier = 0.8 * 0.8 * 0.8 = 0.512
A roundel or very much smaller
size multiplier = 0.4
A roundel or to the sinister to the sinister to the sinister
Movement = 1/20th + 1/20th + 1/20th = 3/20th (0.15)
A roundel or very much to the sinister
Movement = 1/5th (0.2)

However, if you want absolutely fine control and don't mind how ugly your blazon you can do things like: a roundel or very much smaller larger, which will use a size multiplier of 0.4 * 1.2 = 0.48, a value not achievable directly.

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