About Stephanie Ruble (a.k.a. sruble)
(Click Here for a press kit.)

In first grade, I decided 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, but stop thinking that as they grow up. I never stopped thinking I was an artist, so I kept drawing. 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. Here's a self portrait I did in first grade (my mom wrote, "grade 1, age 7" on the back, and weirdly, it's cut out of the middle of a page of paper - the lines and marks in the drawing show through from the other side of the paper):

One of the first pieces of art and text that I created together, and was really proud of, was called The Fish With A Smile Like A Crocodile. And then the teacher stapled the text on top of the art! ACK! I was not happy that she ruined my art with staples! Still not happy, but I was able to remove the poem and save the art! I did keep the poem too, just not stapled onto the art. I used crayon resist for this painting (shown below). It was one of my favorite techniques growing up. (In case you don't know what crayon resist is, it's a process of painting watercolor over crayon. The crayon resists the water and shows through.)

On the back, the teacher wrote, "A. An excellent picture. Good article." Yay! There's no age or date on the back, but I'm guessing it was third grade (the fourth grade stories I have are text only, no pictures).

My Creative Influences:
* Animals (espeically cows): I watched the very first episode of Sesame Street (according to my Mom - I was a baby and don't remember). The show had a segment about a trip to a dairy farm, and there are tons of cows! After seeing the episode again, at the Museum of TV and Radio, it makes sense that I like drawing cows so much. I didn't start my love of drawing cows until high school, but since then, I've never stopped. One year I drew a cow a day, every day. That's 366 cows! (It was leap year.) Here is a more recent cow image, called Mooey Poppins, with apologies to Mary Poppins:

I'm still drawing cows, and I doubt I'll ever stop!

* Kitty: When I was little, I had a stuffed animal named Kitty. I made up stories and adventures for her. Kitty went through the hole in her hollow tree to have adventures in a different land. It was an escape route to a place 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 character with a really strong voice (Sheila The Zombie Cheerleader). After a while, I realized that she was Kitty, all grown up, and transformed into a zombie girl! Recently, Kitty came back in my art as a mischievous cat! Here's a side by side view of Kitty, then and now:

* Comic Strips: A lot of kids grew up reading comic books, but I was more into newspaper comic strips. I loved reading The Peanuts (and drawing Snoopy). 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, a zombie mini comic that I took to MOCCA one year (featuring Sheila The Zombie Cheerleader, who was really Kitty in disguise), and even a few cow comics! Here's a panel from one of my Sheila (a.k.a. Kitty) comics (Sheila is afraid of chickens):

* 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, so for me, Halloween seems like part of my birthday. Here is one of my Halloween paintings from first grade (done with crayon resist, of course):

You can see some of my more recent Halloween art in my short story, Glide and EEK!

* 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 liked drawing winter scenes (still do). Maybe it's because I liked to go skating and sledding, and liked making snowmen and snow angels when I was little. Here's a winter picture I made in third grade:

BTW, there were no snowboards then, so even though it looks like the kid on the left is riding a snowboard, I believe they're being pulled on a sled by the kid at the top of the page. I also liked animals in winter. Here's a picture I drew in third grade of animals in winter (I think that's me over on the left looking at the animals):

Those are some of my early creative influences, which still influence my art today.