Gruss vom Krampus
This month’s illustration prompt from the SCBWI was “Sleigh Ride from Hell”. That’s right up my alley which only made the project harder. There were so many ways I could take this.

Sleigh Ride from Hell

Detail from first attempt.

My first attempt was in the vein of Hieronymus Bosch, a sleigh loaded up with monsters. It was shaping up to look pretty cool, but I could see that it was in no way a children’s book illustration. There wasn’t a snowball’s chance in Hell that it going to win the contest. I wondered if it even might get rejected for being too creepy.

By way of the Grinch, I came around to Krampus. In German-speaking Alpine folklore, Krampus is a horned, long-tongued figure who looks much like the Devil. He’s the anti-Santa Claus, punishing bad children during the Christmas season, while Saint Nicholas rewards the good ones. It’s still sinister, but it is a children’s story.KrampusCard

I found an old postcard image of Krampus pulling a little girl’s hair. That’s one of the milder punishments. In some stories, Krampus would cart off evil children for drowning, eating, or transport to Hell.

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