About Stephanie Ruble (a.k.a. sruble):
My Creative Influences:
* Kitty: When I was young, I had a stuffed animal named Kitty (seen in the drawing here, 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!
* 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 here). 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.