Calligraphic Guide Sheet for Charter Hand

For calligraphic practice I use a pad of marker or layout paper (a close cousin to tracing paper, very smooth and firm and translucent) and put a guide sheet underneath to keep everything lined up.

I normally use the amazing (and free!) Calidraw website to create my guide sheets and it works really well.

I’ve discovered, though, that if you want a guide sheet that has only x-height (where you write) and interlinear space (the bit between where you write) with no ascender or descender space (above and below the x-height for stuff like p and b) Calidraw gets a bit confused and don’t really produce a useful guide sheet.

Almost all calligraphic hands need ascender/descender space, but weird historical hands like the 13th Century charter hand I’ve been practicing recently don’t really have or need ascender/descender space, just x-height/interlinear and done.

After using a malformed and confusing guide sheet for a while I got tired of it and sat down with Inkscape to produce my own, clean charter hand guidesheet. One of the nice things about Inkscape is that it’s easy to work in real-world units (as opposed to pixels) so laying something like this out is relatively straightforward. This one has 1.5mm x-height and 4.5mm interlinear space.

Here’s the resulting PDF: Charter Hand 1.5mm (Landscape Letter)

It’s set up for landscape (horizontal) printing on North American standard Letter-size paper. Free to reproduce for any non-commercial purpose – personal use, teaching a class, whatever. Just don’t sell it, please.

If there’s interest in a vertical/portrait oriented guide sheet or some other paper size (A4?) I could do that, just let me know in the comments below!


SCA Scribal Resources: Dates on Awards and Such…

A semi-random collection of stuff I’m finding useful as I continue to explore calligraphy, illumination, charter painting, and other aspects of the scribe’s art in the Society for Creative Anachronism. Possibly first of an irregular series.

Toward a More Period Text – lots of good thoughts on award wording in the SCA. Lots and lots of good stuff on the Kingdom of Lochac’s College of Scribes website, in fact, especially their Model Book page.

There’s a useful little Ecclesiastical Date Calculator with some additional explanation of saint’s days, moveable and fixed feasts, and that sort of thing if you want more reference for the period-style date and calendar advice from the More Period Text article. has a calendar of saints c.1500 CE, and the Medieval Combat Society has a 14th C. calendar of saints & feasts that also has 14th C English kings for reign-dating.


SCA Officer Badges

UPDATED 25 SEPT 2018 – see below!

I’ve seen several requests for good quality vector images of the (semi) standard Society for Creative Anachronism officer badges go past on various Facebook groups with no answers.

I was bored and looking for something sedentary to do this weekend so I sat down with some really low-resolution badge images off my local barony’s website and cranked out a set of officer badges on Inkscape.

The badges in this current set include:

  • *NEW in v1.2* Generic SCA badge (green laurel on gold)
  • Coronet/Baron/Baroness
  • Seneschal
  • Exchequer
  • Herald
  • Chatelain/Castellan
  • Arts & Science
  • Gold Key
  • Lists
  • Heavy Marshal
  • Fencing Marshal
  • Archery Marshal
  • Thrown Weapons Marshal
  • *NEW in v1.2* Equestrian Marshal
  • *NEW in v1.2* Youth (Boffer) Marshal
  • Scribal (An Tir Scribe’s Guild)
  • YAFA (Youth & Family Achievement)
  • Chronicler
  • Web
  • *NEW in v1.2* TUTR Liason (The University of Tir Righ)

Note that these are based on the badges in use at this time on the Barony of Seagirt, Principality of Tir Righ, Kingdom of An Tir, and SCA, Inc site; any errors or omissions are entirely on my head! Several of them are probably specific to An Tir (the Scribal badge, for example) but if there’s something different in use in your kingdom that you’d like me to do up a version of and include please let me know!

The ZIP file has three sizes of each badge in PNG format for immediate use, SVG versions of each badge, and a short text README file.

SCA Officers Badges v1.2 – 25 Sept 2018

Original copyright of these badge designs is unknown, probably SCA, Inc but released for SCA-related uses.

Various elements in them are from Mathghamhain Ua Ruadháin’s or Christie L. Ward’s Both sources use various Creative Commons licenses and/or releases for SCA-related uses. I’ve also taken bitmap art from Bruce Miller’s fantastic Mistholme Pictorial Dictionary of Heraldry and converted it into vector SVG for this project, and his site reads, in part, “All rights reserved. Content may be reproduced without prior permission for the purposes of heraldic submission in the SCA.”

Accordingly, I’m releasing these as “available for any SCA-related uses” without specifying a CC license or suggesting I have any real license over the designs.

Feedback or suggestions always appreciated. Leave a comment below or email me at

Yours In Service,
Vémundr Syvursson
mka Brian Burger


SCA Field Only Armoury Project: The Whole Thing

It’s finished! (at least for now…)

After doing the badges, I caught up on the five or so new devices that had been registered since early October 2017 when I’d done my data pull of devices and badges for this crazy project, as well as a couple of errors that awesome readers had found for me.

While sorting those into their proper places I decided to integrate the badges and then republish the entire PDF.

The sort is alphabetically by blazon starting with “Argent masoned azure” and ending 203 devices and badges later with “Vert scaly Or.”. This is every Field Only device and badge registered to an SCA member or territory as of the end of December 2017 (AS 52). It does not include the real-world devices that the SCA’s College of Heralds protects from conflict as being noteworthy.

The entire collection fits on 8 pages, sized to print at 11″ wide by 17″ long – ledger sized paper, by North American paper standards. It’ll also scale down legibly onto legal or even letter/A4 size paper.

Field Only Armoury – April 2018 Final – PDF – 8 pages – ~850KB)

As with my two primary sources (see below) I am releasing this document under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0) License.


I have been remiss in not mentioning the sources of most of the graphics I’ve used throughout this project.

Traceable Heraldic Art is Mathghamhain Ua Ruadháin’s spectacular and ever-expanding project, filled with heraldic art assets in a variety of formats including SVG.

The Viking Answer Lady SVG Graphics for Heralds collection is also incredibly useful, and due to the generous licensing on the collection, it’s increasingly being incorporated into the Traceable Heraldic Art collection as well.

The main text at the bottom of each page is from the IM Fell font family via Dafont, a modern re-creation of a 17th C English font family by Igino Marini.

Over on Facebook the Baby Heralds of the SCA group has been a huge help, and I have to thank Mathghamhain for taking a close and encouraging interest in this project right from the start. Some of the work I’ve done on this project might start appearing at his Traceable Heraldic Art pages to fill a few of the gaps in his collection.

My Source SVG

If you just want to look at or print this project’s emblazoned devices and badges, grab the PDF linked to above.

If you want to use my work for further heraldic projects, however, I’m finally making the source SVG available. It’s been developed entirely in Inkscape on both Windows and Ubuntu Linux PCs.

Field Only Armory Project – Everything – 11×17 Poster – April 2018 – SVG file inside a ZIP archive. The SVG is 2.9Mb when unzipped.

Send Me Feedback!

If you use anything of this project at a Herald’s Point or heraldic consulting table, or even just for some heraldic decoration on your walls, send me a photo.

Corrections, suggestions, and such also appreciated. The plan going forward, now that this project is “finished”, is to update it maybe once a year as new Field Only registrations appear in the SCA O&A, or as errors are discovered.

Yours in Service,
Vémundr Syvursson
An Tir
2 April A.S. 52/2018
mka Brian Burger