A few days before the viva, I had been searching online for accounts of life with horses in the mines, curious as to what people had experienced. What I found was ‘Thirty years experience with pit ponies’, written by Councillor George Jelley. He talks about his experiences with the mining horses, and in particular his relationship with a horse called ‘Fido’. I knew immediately that this was going to serve as my narrative for the rest of my project, and I aimed to turn it into an illustrated book. The text was quite long, so I edited it down til it was a bit more concise then worked on combining the narrative with my sketches.
I’m not sure what I was trying to achieve here, by putting each section of the text on a page and then testing out some images that I wanted to accompany it. I couldn’t get it quite right, and I’m still not sure why. I think perhaps it was because up until this point I had been working in an A6-ish sketchbook, so to try and translate the drawings onto a bigger page just didn’t jam well with me.
It was around this point that I started running out of time, and I realised I may have been slightly ambitious with my plan to illustrate the entire text. I decided to revaluate my plan, and shortened the text down so that it became a smaller narrative focusing only on Jelley’s relationship with ‘Fido’. I think this works just as well as the full text would have. It gives it a more specific narrative. I worked out a plan for the text and a rough page layout, then began the illustrations.