All of a sudden I’ve been drawing krampuskarten for four years. It still feels like a new tradition (my drawing them, that is). I’m clearly in the time-flying-by faze of life.
Anyway, here’s last year’s model. Maia and Robby got to star in the inaugural 2015 card, Beth and Lisa took 2016, so that left Todd and me. And here we are. Pretty obvious “plot,” really, given that this whole nonsense started over the annual pouring of Southern Tier’s Krampus Helles Lager.
Unfortunately, we’re near the end of that component of Krampusnacht. We noticed a sharp decline in the availability of liquid Krampus last year, to the point where Todd called Southern Tier and learned that they will no longer be brewing it. (In my mind’s eye I see a frantic, tearful Todd making this call, but I doubt that’s how it went down and I’m certain he wouldn’t appreciate that.). I managed to get my hands on a couple of bottles of Krampus (deeply discounted in Total Wine’s annual post-Krampusnacht sale)(no, not really), so we’ll be able to toast Krampus this year (and maybe in 2019).
As for this drawing, I once again employed what is perhaps my favorite computer-aided cartooning trick: blowing up an area where fine detail is needed, then shrinking it back into the original drawing. Unfortunately, as is so often the case, it’s too hard to see the fine detail once the drawing has been shrunk.
Here’s my Krampuskarten from last year. As always, nobody comes out looking especially like themselves, though I think my version of Krampus himself is pretty consistent from Krampuskarten 2015.
Taking Krampus in a bit of a different direction here. As I understand it, he’s really about punishing the bad kids. Here he’s just lech-ing out on the womens. But that seems like something he’d do. If and when Krampusnacht catches on in the US—I still can’t believe it hasn’t—you can bet that this will be added to Krampus’s MO.
Quick housekeeping note: I’m going to start tagging people by first name only, and I may even go back and change the tags of my previous posts. I got some unwanted attention/feedback when tagees from previous posts came up in Google searches (but I’ll admit to being pleased that my blog posts showed up in the search results!).
Another actual strip is coming, hopefully before I head off on vacation later this week, but I’ve been against oppressively tight deadlines at work…so my need for procrastination was extreme, and this drawing was closer to being done.
On one of my earlier “collect ’em all” posts, Beth rang in with a couple ideas for other parodies (at least one of which will definitely be done). She also noted that Robby suggested something working around a “boo” or “monster” theme. Not sure if he was looking for something that used those exact words, but I really liked the idea of working the spooky/scary side of the street, so I kept an eye out for product names that lended (loaned? lent? That’s one that I can never keep straight, and heaven forbid I waste precious time consulting a dictionary) themselves to that kind of treatment. And here we are (which tells you all you need to know about what aisles I spend most of my time in when I shop).
The skulls in this one are a departure from the way I usually draw skulls, which has always just been a variation on the poison label approach. I was also a bit stuck for what to do aside from skulls and the stock “dog bone” bone. Not sure my ribs and vertebrae cut it. Was also stuck for what to SAY on the package—”haunted bone fragments” is pretty “enh.”
On the plus side, I was able to exchange the bleedy Prismacolor markers I lamented in my last post for a 96-color set of Tombows, and having that range of colors available made it easy to bypass the whole computer-coloring approach I’d used to middling results in some of the earlier “collect ’em all” drawings.
Here’s the last of the drawings I did in my Wacky Packages drawing session from February, finally colored in.
I once again used the flood fill feature of my photo-management software, which I am losing my fondness for. The program offers a lot of color options, allows for more even coloring, and saves me marker ink. On the other hand, the flood fill never seems to know what to do with the black lines, and it can yield a too-cartoony look to the finished product (which I know is a weird thing to say about cartoons).
Also, I tend to leave gaps in the borders of shapes and “balloon letters” (that’s what Maia used to call block letters), so when I flood fill an area—for example, to make the letters yellow in this drawing—I invariably end up having a whole area overfilled with yellow until I can go in and use the clone feature to close the gaps in the outline. This is something I consciously corrected for as I inked in the lines of this drawing, which was distracting and took some of the fun out of the exercise.
As far as the product and the parody go…I love Violet Crumbles, but they are hard to find (Amazon aside, but I’ve been trying to get the Amazon monkey off my back). They’re from Australia, and they are divine. The parody practically writes itself.
OK, so 3 down, 27 to go for my own Wacky Packages series. I’ve been given a couple of ideas (thanks, Beth and Robby), so hopefully I can get a few more of these out there. I don’t have any ideas for proper comic strips, so I can keep my hand in the cartooning/blogging game that way.
Spurred largely by Todd Whann’s tradition of breaking out bottles of Southern Tier’s eponymous helles lager right about this time of year, there’s been interest in and amusement over the idea of Krampus (very loosely: the Christmas devil) among some of my friends. For the most part, the interest has manifested in nothing more than seasonal downing of liquid Krampus.
It mystifies me that Krampus hasn’t caught on in the US. Austria and Bavaria celebrate Krampusnacht (as near as I can tell, this is basically Christmas Mardi Gras) and Krampuslauf (described as an alcohol-fueled run of celebrants dressed as Krampus); all we in this country can come up with is Krampus: The Christmas Devil, a regrettable, plot-less, budget-less, badly acted “film” that didn’t even feature Krampus (note this is NOT the 2015 movie that got a theater release). (Though, to be fair, the writers of Venture Brothers—one of the funniest shows on TV, by the way—did drop Krampus in their Christmas special a couple of years ago).
Last year I took matters into my own hands and made a small effort toward establishing the proud tradition of Krampuskarten, the exchanging of (wait for it) Krampus-themed cards. How did Hallmark miss this?
Because my Krampus-mania was set into motion by Todd, and because most of my own “observances” of Krampusnacht have been at his and Beth’s house, it seemed only right that Krampuskarten should feature a Whann. So here, riffing on the tradition of Krampus hauling off wicked children, is Krampuskarten 2015.
Robby and Maia aren’t wicked, per se, and it’s rather easy to imagine that they would handle such treatment in the way depicted here.