Welcome to the creative hub for Illustrator and Creative Adventurer Andy Medcraft


I set myself the challenge (with a little prompting) to pull together a character that I can pop onto a card to thank teachers at the end of the school year. I went with an elephant initially. It was super cute and I worked on it all day but as I’ve played around with various colours, the shapes of it’s ears, how it’s holding it’s trunk, I realised I just wasn’t feeling it. It was cute but it was just not saying what I wanted it to say. As an illustrator, I want to make sure my work speaks. I want it to convey a message so, the elephant has been parked for now and I wanted to share with you my blank canvas moment, right the way through to launch…

So, having packed away the nameless elephant for another occasion, I flipped the page in my sketchbook and drew a small circle in a soft pencil. I do this, or a similar mark making to break the intimidation of that blank page – especially as I work on an A3 pad. Writers block (or the creative equivalent) can be crippling.

Rather than just jumping into another drawing, I then began to write down what I wanted to achieve, scribbled untidily across the top of the page. I knew my audience wasn’t actually the recipients, but rather the kids that would be sending it. I wanted it to be able to reflect the child and also not limit their audience, so I had to ensure the character was non-gender specific. I also wanted to extend the message beyond the teacher student relationship. There are teaching assistants and carers and childminders and mentors and playground leaders and so many other people that may need thanking, so I needed the message to be inclusive.

I’d got stuck on the retro “apple for teacher” and was finding it difficult to break away from that. I even considered making the character an apple rather than an animal but it felt like I was targeting teachers and not representing the kids and got stuck in a bit of a rut. However, rather than let that interrupt the creative flow, I embraced it and made Apple the name of the character!

That cleared the way to move forward with the design.I began thinking about what the kids were thanking people for and realised it all came down to growth and that’s when I had the lightbulb moment. I needed Apple to be a character that reflected growth, and having already been down the avenue of not necessarily making Apple an animal, I knew exactly what I needed to do…

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s my pleasure to introduce you to Apple…

Comments are closed.