I spent three amazing years at Cambridge School of Art living and working with incredibly talented and like-minded creative people.
Not only did I complete my BA Illustration degree course feeling more confident about the work I was making and with a good visual foundation, but I also left with friends for life.
Since leaving in 2014, I have worked in a multitude of places and positions, including in-house Illustrator at a toy and stationery company and Screen Print Technician and Art-Technician in a high school and sixth form college. All the while I kept up my own Illustration practise, and slowly built up a portfolio of work and clients. I am now self-employed as an Illustrator, not only working on commissions, but working as a printmaker and creative workshop facilitator too. I have been incredibly lucky to have worked for a broad range of clients and projects including Google, The Los Angeles Times, the Barbican and The High Line Park, NYC.
During the course at Cambridge School of Art I was always inspired by the guest speakers, working Illustrators who were ‘living the dream’. It made me realise that what I wanted for myself was achievable, turning my creativity into a career!
Having great tutors who were also honest and open about their own careers and experiences, and were trying to prepare us for all aspects of the industry - including the pitfalls - was also invaluable. That honesty (though sometimes brutal) was actually a very welcome thing. Everyone’s creative journey is different, and it’s good to know what you are getting yourself into.
I absolutely fell in love with the studios when I visited as a student still in high school, and it made me work incredibly hard to earn a place at Cambridge School of Art. I was thrilled when I was accepted! The fact that I was able to have my own little work space surrounded by my course mates and a beautiful print room in close reach is something I really miss now.
For anyone starting the BA Illustration course - enjoy it, make the most of it and your tutors!
If you know that you want to be an Illustrator, stick to making work that you really love - work attracts work. Don’t put anything out there that you wouldn’t like to make again, and be kind to everyone. You never know when that project will come through - it could be tomorrow, or in a year’s time.
Aleesha Nandhra BA (Hons) Illustration. Images on this page show details of her work - see more on her website: aleeshanandhra.com
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