How to Draw a Coat of Arms

By Robert Vaux ; Updated September 15, 2017

Things Needed

  • White paper or cardboard
  • Pencil
  • Crayons, colored pencils or paint

Coats of arms first developed in the Middle Ages. Knights who entered tournaments or fought in battles were hidden beneath their armor. The coat of arms became a way to identify them, while also proclaiming the noble lineage of their family. You can easily draw your own coat of arms. All it takes are basic art supplies and a general knowledge about how coats of arms are assembled.

Determine the exact shape of the shield you want. Standard shield design has a rectangular top, which becomes a pair of gentle curves on the lower third of the shield that taper down to a point. Other shield types are simple rectangles or circles, contain more ornate decorations or use beveled tops to suggest fortress battlements. Because you're creating your own, you pick your own design.

Using a pencil so you can erase any mistakes, draw your shield shape onto a white piece of paper or cardboard.

Consider how many divisions you want to make in your shield. You can give the shield a single section, divide it in two (lengthwise or crosswise), divide it in three (forming a "Y" centered in the middle of the shield and extending up to the edges) or even into four by drawing a cross or an "X" across the shield surface. Each section can then hold an image or illustration to define your particular values.

Select colors to define each section. Pick colors that you simply like or select those that symbolize values that matter to you (see Resources). Generally speaking, limit the number of colors you use to three or four at the most.

Add an illustration for each section of the shield. Each illustration should represent values you hold dear. For instance, an image of a lion represents strength and courage, while a lit candle represents spirituality. You can also decorate sections with a single color or lines of alternating colors (see Resources).

Decide on a pair of supporting animals to flank your shield. They stand on either side of the shield, facing it. They can be dragons, horses or any other form of animal you choose (Great Britain famously uses a lion and a unicorn as its supporters). Draw them on either side of your shield.

Pick a phrase or motto that defines you. It can be a Biblical quote, a short passage from a book or even a movie quote. Then draw a banner beneath the shield and write the phrase on it.

Write your name or family name in a large semicircle above the top of the shield.

Tip

Do some research into your personal name or your family name to come up with good illustration ideas.

Most people's names have some greater significance that they may not be aware of.

Check baby books or sites such as MeaningOfNames.com for the history and meaning of your name.