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  • Writer's pictureKaren Ruffles

Scary is as scary does

One thing that I find very interesting when dealing with other peoples perception of the monsters is how they think it must work for me. If they are alarmed by something, normally poor old Stephen, they express concern for me and worry about the amount of time I spend with him. Often, when I explain that actually I'm quite happy, that this is where I want to be and that I actually feel rather privileged to be allowed to share their days, the response is generally one of bafflement. Yes, he's kind of intense in a quiet way and when I'm working with him for days on end, I make sure I build in time to balance up and come out of it at the end but I wouldn't swap my job for the world. A good portion of the fun is being able to share my own experiences with them too and the daft stuff we get up to together.

Take this terrifying Barghest for example, made for one of the stop motion videos I do, using the desk models I have to help me with perspective and composition when creating a new picture. The animation started out as a bit of nonsense, a way of describing to people what it's actually like living with this mob and presumably, what it's like for them living with me. The films are deliberately basic and the props whatever I have lying around - if something does need to be made, like the black dog above it is done with scraps, scissors and glue and a deliberate lack of planning. These aren't art in the sense that the finished drawings are, where my goal is to show you as near as I can what I see, they are daft stories I tell you, anecdotes that reveal a little of their personalities.

Recently I teamed up with my friend Sean to produce a book and when we took it on tour, we used little stop motion films with the models acting out sequences from some of the stories. These have been great fun as it gave me the opportunity to cast the monsters in roles that suited their personalities and the nature of the animation allowed me to take liberties with the story as of course, it's the boys doing it and not me. For your viewing pleasure this week, here's our interpretation of the story 'Rust and Dust' in which Stephen takes on the role of the main character and Scarecrow (who I made a few years ago and lives on the bookcase) playing- well, a scarecrow as it happens. Also apparently effective against monsters because it gives Stephen the heebies. This is also another opportunity to appreciate my fine set building skills...

I'm going to continue making little clips like this as we approach autumn and a return to serious, in depth monster business as I tackle some drawings of old friends and new. As they have formed a disorderly queue, things are even more anarchic than usual here but that gives plenty of adventures to share with you. As you will probably have noticed, posts pop up on whichever day happens to be the best for sitting and typing this up with a cuppa but we will endeavour to make sure there is one every week.

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