December 6th is known as the feast day for St. Nicholas. When we speak of Santa Claus, or ‘old St. Nick’, it’s derived from that saint.
Right now we’ll focus on the Barvian/German version of St. Nicholas. In traditional folklore, he’s the companion to Krampus. On December 5th, Krampus comes by and takes away all those pesky little brats. The next day, St. Nicholas comes around bearing gifts for all the good children. Krampus was fazed out around World War II, but in recent years he’s made a comeback in pop culture. He’s been revised both Germany and Austria. In part of the U.S. they now have Krampus celebrations. So while this St. Nick illustration won’t be on a greeting card, my Krampus items continue to be best sellers. In fact, I just designed a new Krampus card. You bunch of sickos.
Regardless, St. Nicholas has quite an interesting history himself. According to Wikipedia, ‘Because of the many miracles attributed to his intercession, he is also known as Nicholas the Wonderworker.[c] Saint Nicholas is the patron saint of sailors, merchants, archers, repentant thieves, prostitutes, children, brewers, pawnbrokers, and students in various cities and countries around Europe. His reputation evolved among the faithful, as was common for early Christian saints, and his legendary habit of secret gift-giving gave rise to the traditional model of Santa Claus (“Saint Nick”) through Sinterklaas.’
Without further ado, here’s the quick Saint Nicholas sketch, completed last night. His buddy Krampus is lurking in the background.