- In this top row of panels, I really tried to stretch out the passage of time in this moment. I wanted the tension to build, with the reader fully knowing what's going on, but lingering until Dead Duck figured it out.
- Laxatives were a comedic device I discovered in middle school. My friends and I joked frequently about the hilarious possibilities of slipping Ex-Lax into our adversaries' food, but never quite went through with it. From what I understand, the potential effects aren't too far removed from what I've drawn here.
- In the 7th panel, where Dracula reveals his trick, I employed one of my oldest drawing devices. To show depth of field, I frequently draw objects and characters in the foreground using a much thicker pen line than objects in the background. This practice predated my use of Photoshop, when drawing with different pen sizes was my most effective way to show perspective (outside of drawing in perspective, obviously). These days I still use the thick-to-thin pen lines for this purpose, but I combine it with Photoshop tricks, where I'll digitally fade out background characters or darken foreground characters, depending on what I most want to focus on in the panel.
- I really struggled with the eighth panel, because I knew I wanted it to be this big, dramatic moment when Dead Duck realized the horror of what he'd unknowingly done. Part of me worried that having a long panel that was mostly a big, black splotch would be a cheat, or a waste of the panel. But I eventually saw it as an effective visual. It kinda shows that there's all this atmosphere where Dead Duck's little tragedy is unfolding within, but it's all collapsing in on Dead Duck in the first great loss of his young life. Though I don't use it as much these days, the lumpy black mass that surrounds Dead Duck is an old trick I picked up in my college newspaper cartooning days. I liked to use it to suggest a creepy, ominous presence, particularly when drawing a small, cramped panel that left little room for much other detail. I may use it again one day, as it's still pretty effective.
- These last two panels show the artistic education I got from reading Bill Watterson's "Calvin and Hobbes". Though there were scores of great cartoonists in comic strips, comic books and animation before Watterson, I think I learned more about comedic timing and action from reading his old collections than from any other resource. The last panel with nothing but a puff of smoke to show Dead Duck's hasty exit is pure, undiluted Watterson influence.
See you on the next page!