Twas’ the eve before St. Nicholas Day,
When all through Germanic land,
Not a creature was stirring,
Except for the wild goat man.
His name is Krampus and he’s a devil of sorts. With his long snakey tongue and horns atop his skull. He is half goat, half man. He looks as a Satyr and walks on two cloven hooves. He is the demon of Christmas. Leave your coal at home St. Nick. You won’t need it now that Krampus is at your side. He carries his chains all covered in bells and he clashes and clanks them to torment the wicked ones. Krampus is not inherently evil, no, no….but if you have a reputation of being on the naughty list then you might see him as so. He carries his birch sticks to swat your behind and if your really unruly he will drag you underground; stuffed in a barrel and rolled to the Underworld. He will further your suffering until you have learned your lesson, then he may just let you go.
His legend is centuries old in Germany. His day is the fifth of December, Krampusnacht (Krampus Night). The german children would hang a boot outside their door. When St. Nicholas Day came, Dec. 6, they would check their boots and see if anything was left for them. Good behavior was rewarded with sweets. Bad behavior would be left with a rod. A sign that Krampus may need to pay you a visit!
His name comes from the German word Krampen, meaning claws. He is believed to be the son of Hel, Norse goddess of the Underworld. His animalistic presence was suppressed for many years.
Nowadays, he is making quite a comeback. European countries honor him by dressing in devil costumes and parading down the street playfully terrorizing the on-lookers. He is becoming quite popular in America as well. Children are no longer afraid of Santa’s lump of coal but a switch from Krampus on the other hand!
I am quite inspired by Krampus and decided to do a sketch of him. This one is a concept drawing. I would like to do another one, full body image, that way you can see his cloven hooves and sinister claws. Some claim that Krampus only has one cloven hoof and his other foot more man-like with claws. This is my first attempt though. It was a lot of fun. I didn’t use any reference pictures. I drew it from my head which is difficult for me to do sometimes so I am quite happy with the turn out. I had a few different influences on the Krampus I drew. The minotaur was my inspiration for the size and shape of Krampus. I incorporated a bit of Beast from “Beauty and the Beast” as far as facial features. This helped me figure out how to draw a “beast” that was still human-like. The character Venom, from Spider-man, came to vision when I was drawing the mouth and tongue. Put the three of them together and I think you have a pretty decent Krampus portrait. I can’t wait to do another one that can incorporate even more detail!
I hope you’ve been nice this holiday season. If not, Krampus may be coming to see you! What do you think about Krampus? Too much or just what we need? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Until next time,
Have a Holly Jolly Christmas!