Summer Project – Biography  

Inspiring me this summer is a lady called Mabel Stark. She was the first female lion tamer during the 1920s. Although there was a limited amount of information I was able to piece together a few rough pin points and events that occurred through out her life.
Her real name was… Mary Haynie aka Mable Stark aka Cat Woman 


Early Years 

  • Raised on a farm 
  • Orphaned at 17
  • Lived with relatives 

20s to 40s

  • Joined the circus in 1911
  • Adopted a tiger 
  • Liked to tell stories
  • She married a man known as ‘cat man’
  • She worked at jungle land 
  • The biggest point in the careers was facing 18 lions in the ring 
  • She was unfortunately mauled by a lion whilst returning her act. Thankfully her husband fired blank bullets and scared the lion 
  • Became a nurse
  • Friends think she was a dancer 
  • There were also a few years where Mable was off the radar and her friends and family didn’t know what she was doing or where she was
  • She travelled to Louisville 
  • Wrote a book called “Hold that tiger”
  • Lived and performed in Japan 

Idea No.1



My first idea consisted of a two meter high, interactive circus tent shaped book. To represent the pages, the tent would have sections, of which would have showcased individual points during Mabel’s life. Although I thoroughly enjoyed planning this project, my summer holiday wouldn’t have been a holiday. So I downgraded or simplified my idea and created a book. The picture below is also planning and thoughts about the construction of the tent. Maybe one day I will carry out this project. 

Idea No.2

My second idea was a narrowed down timeline of main events and points in her life. I picked 11 bits of information and illustrated what I thought what represent them. 

Order of my book 

  1. Raised on the farm 
  2. Lived with relatives and orphaned at 17
  3. Travelled to Louisville
  4. Became a nurse 
  5. Unknown years 
  6. Joined circus 
  7. 18 cats 
  8. Married cat man 
  9. Mauled by a lion 
  10. Adopted a big cat 
  11. Committed suicide   

Below is an example of an illustration 

Background texture – thick grainy paper, washed with water, ink sprayed with a pippette. 



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