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Jess Henry

Jess is wearing a patterned black and white long sleeved shirt under black dungarees. Her arms are bent at the elbow and are behind her back.

Jessica Henry

BA (Hons) Illustration 2021

1. Tell us about yourself.

I am a 21 year old animal-lover, plant-obsessed, illustrator. I graduated with an Illustration degree from ARU in October 2021 and I am currently living in Norwich where I work as a Studio Assistant for Nu Image, a family grown business in Graphic Design and Marketing. When I first started university, I would have never expected to be working in a company that I love within just a few months of graduating.

I have always been inspired by art. When I was younger, there was never a question for me about what I wanted to do when I was older. I knew that I wanted to work in design. In school, the art subjects were always the ones that I looked forward to the most and led me to study two art related subjects in my A Levels. I was apprehensive of studying an art related course at university as I have heard of the stereotypical ideas of the ‘artist life’, however I finally decided to do something that I knew I would enjoy and learn a lot from so I applied to study at ARU as it was in a city that I love and had beautiful art studios.

Three years later, I graduated in October with tremendous experience and new skills that I developed while studying. Only a few months after this date, I found my dream position at Nu Image which I cannot be more grateful for. My career is still in its early stages, but Nu Image has supported me in my learning development and I cannot wait for what the future may hold. 

2. What is your fondest memory of Anglia Ruskin University?

There have been so many joys studying at ARU, but I have to say that the best part is the friends that I made there. In my second year, I found a group of amazing creative people that I then moved in with, and we created some great memories of staying up late together to watch the fireworks and having barbecues in our garden.

3. What has been your favourite job?

It is definitely the one that I am in at the moment, as I have met some amazing people that are so inspiring to work with and it feels so uplifting to be a part of their team. I have also had the great opportunity to use my illustrations in some of our current work projects. I am hoping to be able to grow in confidence and skill in bringing more of these designs to help in any way I can in my current role. Outside of Nu Image, I have been growing my Etsy shop and Instagram (Creative_dragon01), creating and experimenting with more of my freelance illustrations.

4. In one word, how would you describe Anglia Ruskin University?


5. How did your time at ARU help you?

My time at ARU taught me valuable skills in both my chosen course and daily life. I built so much confidence in myself and learnt how to put myself out there instead of hiding away. The range of lectures and group talks were so inspiring, and I found it really helpful to learn from the guest speaker’s real life experiences.

6. What did you love about your chosen course?

I loved the creativity and inclusivity of my Illustration course. We had an open studio where we would discuss everyone’s work each week and offer advice on how we could achieve even greater. I loved that we could always rely on each other and knew that there was someone there to talk to if we were struggling.

7. What advice would you give to current students as they're preparing to graduate?

Take a moment to realise what you have achieved and congratulate yourself on getting where you are today. Being able to graduate is an incredible achievement that you should never overlook. No matter the struggles and hardships that you have gone through, you have managed to get to the end of your course and have your graduation in sight. Well done! The future may be scary but do not let that control you and make sure that you celebrate your graduation in style.

8. What do you now know that you wish you had known whilst studying?

Not to stress over the small things. I know that is easier said than done, but you will soon be able to look back at your old self and will wonder why you wasted all that time worrying! I would always advise to focus on the good and remember that there will always be a light at the end of the tunnel. 

9. Who was the biggest influence on your career?

I would say the graduates in the Illustration course in the year above me. I was always inspired by their work in our classes when I was in my first year, and that admiration only grew stronger. When they graduated in the heat of the pandemic, it was so inspiring to see what they were able to achieve and who they were able to become. They were definitely they biggest influence in my current career, as I wanted to be able to achieve the same greatness.

10. What advice would you give your younger self?

I would say to enjoy the ‘now’ moments. As I was growing up, I would always be stressed about the future, what might come and what I was supposed to achieve. But I know that I wasted too much time and sleep over this worry. I now make sure that, even in the hard times, I always focus and remember the good moments. 

11. Tell us something about yourself that most people don't know.

I have three tortoises! Most people don’t know that I can be very anxious at times, so I need to make sure that I take time away from the daily stress and spend time with something I enjoy. Therefore, I often spend my time with animals; three rescued tortoises, two cats, three dogs and many more.

12. What's next?

I have no idea! For once, I am very happy that I don’t know what my future will hold. I just know that it will be filled with creativity and making new memories with my friends. I am definitely planning on progressing my love of design further, so I am excited to see what I might be able to achieve. I may need to expand my home for some new animals too.