Little did Geri Coady realize that her experience at College of the North Atlantic (CNA) would lead to creating works of arts for clients all over the world.
Geri is a full-time freelance illustrator and designer and a three-time graduate of CNA. Her clients include Google, Microsoft, and the National Health Service to name a few.
In addition to her freelance work, Coady has also been operating a side business for the past five years called Geri Draws Japan.
“I connect with other lovers of Japanese culture. I create original art prints, pins, stationery, patches, greeting cards and more. I sell my products at in-person events and festivals, as well as online through my website. I have customers in 40 countries and counting, so I must be doing something right!”
Originally from St. John’s, NL, She has been living in Nottingham in the United Kingdom for the past seven years with her husband, Simon, and cat, Bearface. She says she has been fortunate to find work ever since she graduated from CNA.
“I felt very grateful to get a job working in my field immediately after graduation, but the best feeling was reaching the point where I could work for myself. I now have more freedom in choosing clients whose values align with my own, and I have even more freedom with my side business to make whatever illustrations and designs I like.”
Geri said it took her a few tries to find the program that was the best fit for her.
“I started in the Computer Support Specialist program in 2002, but a fellow classmate who used to be a graphic designer always insisted that I was ‘in the wrong course!’ Still, I loved anything to do with tech, which naturally led me to web design and back to the arts. I took my classmate’s advice and signed up for the Print Production and Technology program, with the bonus Graphic Design third year at the end. I graduated in 2007.”
She says she became interested in illustration from a young age and always had an interest in being creative.
“While my classmate encouraged me to go into graphic design, the truth is that the seed was planted long before that and I just needed a push,” she said. “I started learning digital illustration in 1999 at the age of 15 or 16, and I was making art and being creative long before that.”
For Geri, life in the UK is not that different from life in Canada.
“Honestly, there isn’t really that much difference between Canada and the UK when it comes to culture and daily life. I must admit I certainly have better access to events that interest me that I couldn’t access growing up in Newfoundland — bands and shows, art galleries, and well-connected transportation are just a few that come to mind. Simply living in the UK has opened up my travel opportunities tenfold! I’ve been very fortunate to do a lot of travel for both work and pleasure since moving here.”
When asked what she would tell others who choose this career path, she says a person needs to spend time working for other people.
“There’s a huge trend of young people wanting to immediately skip agency life and jump to working for themselves. But working in a company will bring you a lot of interpersonal skills that you make you an even better professional later on,” she said. “There’s no rush to be your own boss — everyone’s career path will be different, and that’s what makes us unique as designers.”
Her work is on display at: https://www.geridrawsjapan.com/
For more information visit https://www.cna.nl.ca.