Here is my personal Christmas card for the year 2006. This idea spawned from the drawings I was doing for the family Christmas card at the time. The primary concept that my mom suggested for the card for that year was Santa with all of our family in his bag, just our heads poking out.
Family card sketch 01
Now, with my being in a typically morbid mood I took things too literally and decided to portray Santa as a serial killer with all of our severed heads in his bag.
Family card sketch 02
This led me to do another drawing of the family as zombies about to devour Santa with the tag line “season’s eatings”, my personal favorite spoof on season’s greetings, if I do say so myself.
Naturally my mom rejected both concepts for our Christmas card (though my dad liked the season’s eatings idea despite the fact that he knew it would be a poor choice for the family card). So I changed everyone in the piece from my family to my best friend Pat and myself. I thought it was a fitting part two to the piece where he turned me into a zombie.
I essentially knew what I wanted from the get go with this sketch. There are a couple of versions of it, but they are all the same, just refinements on the caricatures of Pat and me, so I didn't feel any need to post them.
Photo Shop Out Lines
my favorite part of coloring this was clearly the blood, which came in several phases. I started by coloring the blood that was in the sketch which is blood on pat and
I think this was the first photo shop illustration where I shaded in this fashion and decided to add a layer and start painting the shadows solid black with the paint brush then decrease the opacity. This makes it easier to find any areas I’ve missed and results in a more complete shade for the piece overall. Plus it makes it simple, clean, and gives it a more cartoonish style, which was what I was going for. I then added a few highlights on Santa’s cheeks, the intestines, my hair, and the eyes to make them more round.
On a side note, in many of my works the lighting comes from the same direction (the right); I recall hearing that this is a tendency artists develop due to their dominant hand.
Though it makes sense to me, I could be totally wrong, but it’s certainly true in my works.
Emily Loen’s Calligraphy
I was unable find any typefaces that achieved the aesthetic I wanted for this card. I wanted the text to look like it belonged on a fancier Christmas card, you know, the kind of Christmas card where zombies aren’t eviscerating Santa Claus. So I asked my friend Emily who happens to practice calligraphy to help me and create the lettering. These are the ideas that she gave me. I imported all of them into the picture and played with all of them but the one on the lower left worked the best for my purposes.
Final VersionHere I added a couple of layers to the background to make the text pop. I added a layer of shading, a layer of a radial gradient of white coming from the center of the “season’s eatings”, and a gradient of yellow coming from the top of the piece. This all helped to draw attention to the text as well as push the background father from the characters and give the whole picture more depth, which I ended being very pleased with.