When you get an opportunity to work with your favourite people, that brings a whole new level of joy to the job. So when my friend and colleague Chris Smith approached me about doing a pro bono job for a rock album, I kind of jumped at the chance to work with him on it, no questions asked. Chris (or, as I know him, ‘Felix’ or ‘Feelings’) is just about one of the coolest cats around – He’s exactly the kind of guy you want to work on creative projects. Equal parts laid-back and down to earth, and yet incredibly passionate and attentive to his work. It also doesn’t hurt he’s an an awesome designer. This project was for an acquaintance in a band called ‘Fluffer‘, and the album would be called ‘Santa Apocalypse.’
I love illustrating, and I definitely love when it’s something weird. Fluffer bills itself as a hard rock band. When we got to chat with Rob Trosino about what they were looking for, the direction was pretty open – ‘gore, guts and gross.’ I was particularly pleased by Rob’s enthusiasm for some of my suggestions when I started talking about Mrs. Claus and Frosty. I like a client that wants something… different. We talked about some different options, and I tried to pack as much as I could into the illustration. It pretty much had to be a bit messed up for an album entitled ‘Santa Apocalypse.’
The original idea I had in mind was going to be more Santa’s village centric, but then I recalled an unrealized idea I’d had when the ‘War on Christmas’ was a big deal. I’d had in my minds eye this image of Santa flying through the night, with mounted gun turrets, a bandolier of grenades and an AK-47 unleashing hell. He and the reindeer would have been geared up like SWAT soldiers. I never got around to drawing it (I might one day) – but that’s what led to this composition.
Chris took my illustration and revamped their wordmark, and put everything together in the kind of magical way he does. He knows exactly the right amount of oomph to add to something to take it from ‘that’s cool’ to ‘holy shit, that’s awesome.’
Fluffer CD Art Mockup
On a personal note – The band has shown a lot of gratitude for the work, and that’s what makes it worth it when you’re doing pro bono. I’m grateful for the opportunity to work on something like this, and it’s really nice to feel appreciated for it!