sruble.cow and boy

About Stephanie Ruble (a.k.a. sruble):
(Click Here for a press kit.)
Ever since I was little, I've loved to make art and tell stories. In first grade, I was an artist, because I was the kid who could draw Snoopy. A lot of kids are artists when they're in grade school. Many kids stop thinking they're artists as they grow up, but I never stopped thinking I was an artist (or I never grew up, or maybe a little of both). I started telling stories to go with my drawings in grade school too. Not much has changed since then. If you look hard, you can see many of my early creative influences (listed below) poking through the layers of my writing and art.

My Creative Influences:
* Animals (espeically cows): The very first episode of Sesame Street (that I watched when I was a baby, according to my Mom) had a segment about a trip to a dairy farm. I saw this episode again a few years ago at the Museum of TV and Radio, and it's filled with cows! After seeing the episode again, it makes sense that I like drawing cows so much, although it wasn't until high school that I started drawing them (and I never stopped). One year I drew a cow a day, every day. That's 366 cows! (It was leap year.) This image was inspired by one of the cows I drew that year. When I started drawing animals, it didn't actually start with cows though. First came Kitty (my stuffed animal friend), and then came Snoopy (more on Kitty and Snoopy later). I like drawing other animals too, including elephants, dogs, cats, bunnies, chickens, and lots of others. I draw people as well, but my first love is drawing animals.

* Kitty: When I was young, I had a stuffed animal named Kitty (seen in the drawing on the left, from first or second grade). I made up stories and adventures for Kitty and treated her like she was a person, even though she was a stuffed cat. Kitty went through the hole in her hollow tree to have adventures in a different land. These days I'd call her hollow tree a portal to another world, but back then, I didn't know that. I just thought of it as an escape route to someplace more exciting than real life. Unfortunately, I don't remember the details of the world inside her hollow tree.

Kitty was also my first attempt at creating a character's voice that wasn't my own. She liked to talk to my family and say things that I wouldn't (or couldn't) say. She said what she was thinking, without thinking about the consequences (and since she was a stuffed cat, there weren't any consequences for her - though there were sometimes for me). A few years ago I created a zombie cheerleader character with a really strong voice. After a while, I realized that she was Kitty, all grown up, and transformed into a zombie girl! And now Kitty has come back as a mischievous cat! (Seen on the left under my kitty drawing from when I was little.)

* Comic Strips: A lot of kids grew up reading comic books, but I was more into newspaper comic strips. I loved reading The Peanuts comic and drawing Snoopy when I was a kid. Charles Schultz was a genius! After that came Calvin and Hobbes, Garfield, Bloom County, The Far Side, and For Better or For Worse. These days, my favorites are Pearls Before Swine, Get Fuzzy, and Zits. I even tried my hand at creating comics, hoping to one day have a syndicated strip. I drew a comic for the newsletter at one of my jobs and drew a zombie mini comic that I took to MOCCA one year (two panels are shown on the left). I'd love to do more comics, or even a graphic novel in the future.

* Halloween: It's my favorite holiday, which probably isn't a surprise, given that I like to write about zombies and other things that go bump in the night. Also, I was born two days after Halloween, on Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). So for me, Halloween seems like part of my birthday, and lasts for three days. Through the years, I've enjoyed creating Halloween art, like the painting of a haunted house and graveyard shown here, which I made when I was about nine years old with a technique called crayon resist. (To make your own crayon resist painting, draw on paper with crayon first, then paint over it with watercolor. The wax resists the paint so the picture shows through.)

* Winter: Even though I grew up in Minnesota, I'm not a huge fan of snow or freezing cold winter weather. It makes driving impossible and slipping inevitable. In first grade I wrote a poem about how much I hated winter and ended by calling it a pig, which was the biggest insult that Kitty and I could think of. Despite this, I like drawing winter scenes. Maybe it's because I liked to go sledding and make snowmen and snow angels when I was little. There's a little bit of me in both of the little girls in this image of the first snow of the season. Mostly I'm the girl on the left, hating snow and cold. Other times, I'm the girl on the right, the one that sees the wonder and beauty of the snow falling. She's the one that loves the quiet after it snows, when all she hears is the soft crunch of her footsteps across the frozen tundra. She knows that there's a blanket and a cup of hot chocolate waiting when she gets home, and that almost makes up for the cold and the snow.