Nicholson & Stevenson Family Crests | Skillshare Projects

Kristin Nicholson

I couldn't fit everything I wanted to into this s



Nicholson & Stevenson Family Crests

First off I’d like to thank Skillshare and Aaron Draplin for this amazing class. It was truly fascinating to see Aaron's process.



I wanted to create another family crest for my fathers side. I grew up seeing much more of them perhaps because there were much more of them. My fathers side is made up of many generations of Canadians, and very proud ones. It’s also made up of two young families that came together after two separate tragedies. My grandmother was widowed in 1954 after hurricane swept through SW Ontario. Years later she was remarried to her sons hockey coach (could it get any more Canadian?)


I already knew that Nicholson was derived from the British, like most other ‘son’ names. I did however find out that we have a motto: PER CASTRA AD ASTRA. This translates into: THROUGH THE CAMP TO THE STARS.

This was a great jumping off point for me.


Although I’m not too keen about it, a lot my relatives are hunters. Each year during hunting season they all travel ‘up north’ to camp for hunting. Unfortunately (or fortunately) my cousins and I in the younger generation haven’t taken to hunting and the group is beginning to thin out. I clearly don’t condone this activity, but it’s certainly a part of my life and heritage. I decided to represent this aspect of my family in both the antlers and the rifles.

I went through several different traditional crest shapes, but I instead choose to give a nod to my grandmother. The shape that I’ve chosen represents PEANUT BUTTER PIE! It sounds strange, but it’s glorious! Whenever we would visit my grandparents I would beeline for the deep freeze to make sure that grandma made a PB Pie, and I would give her hell if there wasn’t one!

Our family love for Peanut Butter goes far beyond the pie. We also make PB balls (like a truffle), PB fudge and PB cookies. This is one tradition that all of the cousins have been able to keep alive!





I decided to build my family crest around my maternal grandparents. They have both unfortunately passed, but both left behind beautiful memories. In 1964 they sailed across the atlantic and settled in Toronto ON Canada.




"Steven or Stephen". This name of ancient Greek origins, dates from the pre-Christian period, and translates as "The Crown".

As you can tell from my final output the crown chage slightly bc I wanted to incoporate it in with shape I choose.


I liked the laurel that Aaron added to his crest, but I really wanted to incorporate Scotland’s national animal...THE UNICORN! Not only are unicorns rad, but they’re also found on a lot of traditional Scottish crests, including their passport cover.

Again the final unicorn changed slightly from the above selection. When I pulled back the rings on the horn looked a bit muddy.


I had a very hard time filling in the crest. It’s not because I don’t have wonderful memories of my grandparents, but because the memories are hard to distil into an icon or a scene. My grandmother was kind, energetic, friendly, charming. She told wonderful stories and sang beautiful songs. My grandfather was also very special, but in a very different way. He had a routine from the minute he woke up, I’m assuming this comes from his time in the Navy. He had a rough exterior, but a sensitive artists soul. I would spend hours in his basement workshop with him. He would paint and I would colour while we both listened to the leafs on the radio.


I tested out a variety of of traditional shapes, but I ended up going with the hexagon.


A few other variations on the road to the final product.


I used the Scottish flag and the Stevenson family tartan to pull for the coloured versions, but I'm partial to B&W.



I had to add a little gold...

Thanks again!


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