Devil in the Details

A horror-comedy series, Little Demon offered three TAG members unique—and irreverent—opportunities.

Cartoon mother and daughter arguing in front seat of car. All images courtesy of FXX.

Impregnated by Satan, a single mom tries to raise her 13-year-old Antichrist daughter in relative normalcy in Delaware, but Satan wants custody of his offspring’s soul. This is the premise of Little Demon, and if it sounds heretical, that’s because it most definitely is. But Background Painter Rachel Thompson points out that while the show certainly engages in off-color humor and grittiness, it has heart and invites the viewer into a range of emotions. 

“Watching the episode animatics with the crew, it was always funny to me how I could go from laughing at a very adult joke, to cringing at really gruesome horror, to then tearing up during an especially emotional scene—all in the same episode,” she says. 

Cartoon mom on one knee talking to her daughter.

Despite this depth, Little Demon won’t be a show for everyone, starting with Thompson’s parents. According to Rachel’s sister Robin Thompson, who worked on the show as a Background Designer: “[Our] parents both come from traditional Christian backgrounds, and so from the start they could never find out what exactly I was working on. When my sister later joined the crew this problem doubled.”

However, the dark subject matter of the show wasn’t reflected in the working environment.  “Every single person on this team was unbelievably kind, and the communication between us was so uplifting—it’s hilarious how [much] it contrasted to the dark content we were creating.”

She thinks the show’s brutality is one of the things that sets it apart. “Previously I’d only worked on children’s shows, and then suddenly I’m watching [Prop/EFX Artist] Bryan Bae draw gunshot wounds over groins and gallons of blood splatter.”

Bae confirms this, sharing how his work ranged from mundane everyday objects to gory flesh wounds. But his favorite thing was to design magical effects, inspired by Japanese manga and anime like Yūki Tabata’s Black Clover and Koyoharu Gotouge’s Demon Slayer. He also especially enjoyed the creative freedom he was given while working on creatures in a crowd scene. “I asked the team to describe their creature personas or whatever they’d like to be represented as, and then I drew it,” he says, thereby immortalizing the crew in the show. 

While Rachel Thompson had fun working on hellscapes and metaphysical realms, she appreciated an opportunity to depart, painting several background twilight beach scenes where Satan and Laura, the mother of his child, experience an emotional moment together. “It was so different from the other backgrounds of the show, with softer colors and lighting,” she says. “They wanted us to take a lot of cues from anime lighting and to make it look especially magical and Ghibli-esque, which was a fun challenge.”

Cartoon girl with magic red hands

For Robin Thompson, contributions she’s proud of include the ideas she came up with for Satan’s study and parts of his bedroom, “Namely his sick, wooden, four-poster bed inspired by the bed of Henry VIII at Hever Castle—with a few hellish modifications, of course,” she says. “I got to release my obsession with medieval art and furnishings on the team right from the get-go, and I could not have been happier.”