Diary of a CA Intern: Q&A with illustrator Nandi Elewa-Gidado

Posted on May 27, 2024

Today’s interns are tomorrow’s future! In Diary of a CA Intern, we get to hear from the next generation of creatives to watch, who have been placed in an internship via Creative Access. Read on as we dive into their incredible career journeys so far, shedding light on the invaluable insights and lessons learned along the way…

Meet Nandi, a visual artist based in South London who loves to dabble with different art mediums, from clay and illustrative work to creative campaigns. She completed her 15-week internship as ‘creative IGNITE intern’ at award-winning communications agency McCann Health in April 2024 via Creative Access. For those who aren’t familiar, McCann Health is a multi-service comms agency combining science, creativity and strategy, serving clients across the therapeutic space. Passionate about digital marketing and content creation, Nandi’s now well on her way to forging an incredible career in the creative industries. Let’s get to know her!

CA: Hi Nandi, it’s great to connect! Let’s start with something fun: How would you describe your internship in three words?

Nandi: Fun, insightful and challenging.

CA: What were your initial thoughts going into the role? 

Nandi: I was excited to be part of a set team for a long period of time! Although, I was a bit unsure of what to expect coming into a health agency. However, this just sparked up more curiosity – I was excited to gain industry experience regardless of the work being in the pharmaceutical industry. 

“One thing about me is, if I don’t know what’s going on or I’m unfamiliar with something – expect me to ask multiple times… That’s [one of the ways] I overcome hurdles.”

CA: Could you tell us about the projects you worked on during your creative internship? What sort of work does a Creative IGNITE intern get up to?

Nandi: The projects I worked on were categorised as either being billable or non-billable (non-billable hours are the work hours you spend which are not going to be directly charged to the client). One of my billable favourites was coming up with cool activations people can engage with when they are out and about (social out of home marketing, which is advertising that takes place out of the home, such as on billboards and posters on transport). The reason why I loved working on this was because we wanted consumers to associate these concepts with feeling a sense of calmness. I always love working on projects that are centred around people and how work can evoke certain emotions! 

On occasion the IGNITE interns were called upon to help other internal teams in the agency. I loved coming up with concepts for client booths to attract healthcare care professionals to engage with health congress or simply brainstorming names for what medical events could possibly be called. 

CA: Take us through a typical day as an IGNITE intern at McCann Health. What did your daily routine look like?

Nandi: Myself and the three other interns gelled extremely well so, speaking to them at any time during the day was strongly integrated into our working culture. Each day would entail a catch up between us interns and when we were put on new work, it was a standard procedure for it to begin with a discussion. 

“I got to meet such talented, creative peers who I can strongly say are now friends for life.”

For a bit more context, my working style beforehand was very much independent. Making that shift to teamwork was something new that I didn’t consciously practice. I say this all to say that my daily routine was great – I got to meet such talented, creative peers who I can strongly say are now friends for life.

CA: How did your internship within the comms industry at McCann Health impact your career trajectory or influence your creative aspirations?

Nandi: The name ‘McCann Health’ holds a lot of prestige – it has won several awards and is recognised on a global scale! I’m happy that I fully immersed myself in the workplace for a long time (15 weeks)! Although my time has come to a close, I was proactive and made great connections. I definitely feel as though I left a Nandi-shaped mark in the London office and will be sure to keep my past colleagues in the loop. 

“One bit of advice I would give to anybody looking to apply for opportunities is to literally just keep going! I’ve had to learn to accept rejections and take on the mindset that what is meant for me will not pass me.”

CA: Challenges are part of any learning experience. Did you face any hurdles during your internship and if so, how did you overcome them?

Nandi: Oh 100%! I was coming in as a very entry-level creative with a very commercial based ‘passion project’ portfolio. It’s definitely fair to say I got a shock entering the Pharma world. All sorts of acronyms and phrases are used by the pros in the Pharma world, that’s just the lingo used. It is understandable that one would forget that the newcomers may have no clue as to what may have just been said! One thing about me is if I don’t know what’s going on or I’m unfamiliar with something – expect me to ask multiple times… So, that’s how I overcame that particular hurdle.

CA: Many of our readers are looking to break into the creative industries through internships. What advice would you give your younger self in 2023 when you were applying for opportunities?

Nandi: One bit of advice I would give to anybody looking to apply for opportunities is to literally just keep going! As cliche as it sounds it honestly is the truth. I know how annoying and disappointing it is when you don’t hear back from places or get hit with emails starting with, “we regret to inform you” or “unfortunately on this occasion we haven’t been able to”. I’ve had to learn to accept rejections and take on the mindset that what is meant for me will not pass me! 

CA: Let’s talk about your *beautiful* illustrations – they’re fantastic and really enhance your storytelling. Who or what inspires you? Any advice for aspiring illustrators and content creators?

Nandi: Ah, thanks so much! My digital illustration to storytelling takes on the form of childlike drawings – they’re so fun to draw! The reason it takes on a youthful style is purely because I was hitting a rough patch. I somehow was convinced that more refined art is greatly appreciated and ‘proper art’. 

‘Proper’ realistic art took ages to produce and I didn’t haven’t fun producing art this way at all. To any illustrators and makers out there experiencing art block or self-doubt, honestly try and see if there are alternative routes or approaches to expressing your talent. At the end of the day, you should do what makes you happy! Find that solution and hopefully you’ll feel happy, both on the inside and outside! 

CA: Finally, what’s next for you? Any exciting plans or projects on the horizon?

Nandi: A shoutout is definitely needed for Good Nugget – who describe themselves as a positive impact agency. I started their kickstarter programme last October and have been able to gain so much experience and knowledge about the creative industry. There’s possibly something very exciting in the works and I’m keeping everything crossed! You can also definitely expect more video-based art content on my social media accounts as I’ve been posting a lot more consistently this year and the engagement seems to be doing well too!

Stay in touch with Nandi and follow her work on:

Instagram: @theartofnandi

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nandi-elewa-gidado-2272a4290/

TikTok: @theartofnandi