Concerning the Use of Markers on Heraldry Submission Forms

Marker Myth #1

The main reason the SCA College of Arms requires the standardized, color-fast medium of Crayola Classic Markers to be used when emblazoning (coloring in) heraldry forms is based on the system used by Laurel and some Kingdoms for conflict checking. The new submitted item is often simply held up along side the item it potentially conflicts with and people look at it from a distance and see if they can be told apart.

This is incorrect. First, the College of Arms does not require that Crayola Classic Markers be used on forms...but does recommend the use of some sort of watercolor markers as they are stable color-wise. Crayola Classic Markers are very accessible and inexpensive and meet the needs of being color-fast, which is why many folks recommend them. But that specific brand is not required to be used. The reason a color-fast medium is desired is that usually some ten or more people will handle every single submission before it's registered. It'll be mailed three times, minimum, across several climate zones and often into amazingly different weather patterns. (Then it'll be filed forever.) The colors used have to stay identifiable so the heralds can verify that the blazon (written description) matches the emblazon (colored picture) and is correct. If you mail purple and the receiver gets blue because your ink faded in less than a week, that's a major problem. (And yes, the College of Arms has seen many examples like this.)  All but the most expensive markers will alter some, but as long as change is minute and the colors are still identifiable as a hue of their original color, that's perfectly fine. Watercolor markers are pretty darned stable, and why they are highly recommended.

Regular wax crayons and metallic markers can cause problems with forms sticking together, colors changing, color flaking or rubbing off, and so on. Thus crayons and metallics are NOT recommended and the use of such could cause a return of a submission for a re-draw.  To help your submission have the best chance...when selecting the shade to use on the forms, make sure the red does not have an orange tinge to it.  Use a bright (but not pale) yellow for gold (even if you plan to use a metallic shade when you make banners, etc). Make sure the purple is not too blue or too red in appearance. Never use a pastel shade on the form...utilize a rich shade of the colors.

Second, the College of Arms rarely utilizes conflict-checking by visual means. The primary means of conflict checking is via comparison of the designs utilizing the blazons (written descriptions) and applying the Rules for Submission (RfS) to determine if there is a conflict. Usually the only time a visual test is applied is when you've got identical or very, VERY nearly identical tinctures AND very nearly identical outline in the designs. It's extremely rare. Laurel visually checks everything the CoA asks for, but most of the time it is not an issue and the check proves that. Additionally, when a visual check is done, it is usually done from a relatively short distance (ranging from 1' to 6').

Marker Myth #2
You cannot use washable markers on submission forms.

Untrue. The requirements for colored submission forms are clarity of color and durability. The Administrative Handbook section IV.C.1. states that, "The preferred medium for colored armory sets is watercolor markers such as Crayola Classic Markers." These are given as an example, and are a good one, but many brands of markers are acceptable, and 'classic' is the color set (primaries), not a designator of washability.

So long as your purple is truly purple, your red is red and neither pink nor orange, your yellow not orange, and your blue true blue and not teal or any other shade that blurs the line between the heraldic tincture intended and another color, the colors are fine. Durability is important; forms are not archived, they are handled quite a bit during the submission process. Markers, indented for the use of active children, survive well the sort of handling the forms will get.

Washable ink does not come off paper, it's supposed to come off skin and out of some clothing. If your markers provide color which is is strong and true, they should be fine.

Do not use paint, pastels or wax crayons. Paint flakes off, pastels and crayons melt and stick the pages together, possibly ruining the forms in the process. Do not use highlighter as forms are scanned and highlighter color will not scan, leaving all such colored areas white on the scan. Do not use metallics, they do not scan and might flake off the paper and do not show true on the form with gold turning bronze or brown and silver going gray, pink, blue or black depending on what the particles were suspended in.

To see more myths concerning SCA Heraldry and the correct information on
the topics they cover, check out the article HERE.


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