Eleanor Meeson
BA (Hons) Illustration with Animation

Eleanor Meeson

Alexandre and the Magic of Books

This story is based on my experience as an au pair in the summer of 2022, when I lived with Alexandre and his family for a month in the south of France.

During my stay, I taught Alexandre how to make a folded zine book and helped him to create the story - The World of Dinosaurs - just like this book.  It was a way to get him to relax and concentrate on something whilst his sister (and parents) had an afternoon nap. It also helped Alexandre to prove to his family and friends that he wasn’t strange, as they thought, and to show them what he could do.

I thought this an experience worth sharing as it could help to inspire younger kids to create story books. Secondly, I thought the book could provide reassurance, for others to understand that it is okay to be slightly odd and different, by having a chance to relate to the story.

Throughout the book, I have made sure to put in hidden meanings about either Alexandre and his personality, certain memories and experiences from our time together; and actual imagery from the book we created. I felt that this not only gave more passion and joy for me as I was working on it, but also gave more meaning and power to the story.

Each image was created by hand in watercolour, coloured pencil and graphite with some elements collaged on. They were then scanned in and edited digitally in Photoshop using a wacom tablet. I also used the university’s letterpress for parts of the text as I wanted to get the textural quality you gain with that process.