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

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I’m keeping my Wednesday nights free to just completely emerse myself in all things creative. It’s my day to warm up the crayons.

Tonight I’m back to scribbling trees – my absolute favourite doodles. I can’t share this one until after its presented but I can sneak you a peek at the progress…

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If you have visited the friedandy Facebook page recently you may have read the first edit of ‘Raymond and the Christmas Something’ – if you didn’t, there still time. The plan for this year is to turn it into an ebook ready for Christmas 2020. This weekend I’ve been playing around with Eskimo, one of the three main characters, and realised I’d written his voice and character a lot like my own! Originally he was going to be the Santa figure but as the story evolves I can see a collaboration with THE Santa so I’ve combined the two. Yes, this could very well be the lovechild of Santa an I!!! Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Eskimo…
*Well, his head anyway…

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Clattering saucepan lids in the street at the strike of midnight on New Year’s Eve is pretty much folklore now. Instead we’ve turned to fireworks, Jools Holland and drinking until our livers ache – all whilst posting on social media with flattering filters. The majority of us will make New Year’s Resolutions. My news feed will fill up with “new year – new me” posts followed by a list of positive changes played out publicly for a week or two and then shelved by most for another year.
Last year I posted my own list but by February life events took a turn and deathstarred my whole fucking planet! It’s left me scarred. But, like most of us, it adds to the existing battle scars our lives inflict upon us. Some of us wear them as medals of honour, others hide them under ill-fitting clothes. My clothes don’t fit anymore.

2020 promises so much, what with it being the start of a new decade, but I’m not pinning an unrealistic postcard image of how it’s going to pan out. Not all of it is going to be pretty. We have the ugly mess that is Brexit to sort through and I personally have redundancy on the horizon.

The prospect of being forcibly made unemployed is doubly difficult when I’m also having to protect third parties who project their own fears and anxieties about my redundancy onto my canvas. But it’s taught me about support and, if you can excuse the tree-huggy term: self-worth.

When I was an art student I was surrounded by creative, like-minded people. It was competitive but it was inspiring and a driver to push and explore and develop. We all believed in each other’s talents and we rallied and supported and encouraged.

One by one, the majority of us fell into the machine and were swallowed up by expectations, responsibilities and dependants far away from a colour chart or a paintbrush sat overnight in thinners. Third parties were no longer like-minded creatives and well-intended advice and opinion was delivered from a world we didn’t belong to and as we stepped further into the machine our lights dimmed – but they never went out…

Twice I’ve had an opportunity to step closer to the edge but never had the confidence to actually step off.

This is the third time.

This time I have a strong sense that everything is aligning and whatever greater power has a hand in this, has realised there’s nobody here to offer their hand and has therefore slowed everything down so I can just step off and test the water. In addition, my SWOT analysis indicates the redundancy package is good. The timescales are good. The foundations are good. I’d be a fool not to. And, to be perfectly honest, I’m not getting any younger. This could be my last chance.  

I posted on a professional forum that I was being made redundant and asked for advice. I didn’t edit my request and knew I would receive responses guiding me to do things I’d already anticipated but I was hoping to get a few little nuggets of advice that I’d not even considered. The two nuggets that struck me most were:

(1) not to use my redundancy payment as my safety net but to instead start squirrelling away as much money as possible in anticipation of the redundancy date and to use my redundancy money as a loan that would need paying back should I need to dip into it for any reason.

(2) to work on myself in much the same way that I work on my professional development. To find ways to manage stress, stay healthy and look good from a marketing sense – essentially becoming the product (or at least the tool).

And this is where I am right now. At the cusp of two chapters, and regardless of self-doubt and projected third party fear, it’s actually quite exciting to stand here staring off into the future…


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I popped along to the Keith Haring exhibition at Liverpool Tate (he is a hero of mine) and it got me thinking about the materials he used as canvas. A lot was on “borrowed” items from building sites and stuff that was seen as surplus to requirements. I realised that in creating my trees and framing them, packaging them and posting then out, I was left with a lot of odds and ends and just like my dad, I held on to them, thinking they might just come in useful one day. So today I made it happen. The texture on some of the card I was tucking away was perfect for the trees.
And so this happened…

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HellooOoo eggs.
It’s been a bit quiet here on the friedandy page. As you’re aware, we lost Niall’s mum (the Mole) in February and after creating our own little mole (friedandy style) for her order of service in March, the pens have had a bit of a rest. However, the brain hasn’t! This wkend I’ve been pulling together the plans for 2019 and beyond… (echo echo echo)
You’ll be please to know I have a few free downloads for the kids and I’ve given the Etsy ship a good facelift. The shelves are still empty but they’re sparkling clean now and ready to stock. Obviously you’ll be the first to know when things go live.
I just want to say a huge thank you to everybody who got in touch and everybody who has supported my friedandy venture so far. You are all super stars xXx

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If you go down to the woods today you’re sure of a big surprise…

After an amazing Christmas with the Raymond Reindeer cards, January was a quiet period where I packed up the crayons and gave them a bit of a break. So February’s first commission for a Valentine’s day wishing tree was a welcomed wake up call and I loved every minute of interpreting the ideas and themes. It also gave me a chance to visit another illustrators work (E. H. Shepard) too with a subtle nod to A. A. Milne’s Pooh….

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Oh yes, it’s that time of year again. I’ve warmed up the crayons and I’m about to embark on the 2018 crimbo card designs. The Etsy store has not been open for a while now so I’m dreading what I’ll find when I open the door. Hopefully not squatters. Or Spiders! I’m not sure which is worse. But it’s going to need a good clean either way before I can prop Raymond up on the shelves. So, rather than procrastinating here, I better go dig out the rubber gloves…

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Although primarily I am a pen and ink illustrator/graphic artist, my 9 to 5 is very much removed from the creative realms of acrylic paints and photoshop. I work for a bank. It’s a behind the scenes roll and I can get away with not wearing a tie but it is very much the polar opposite of friedandy. However, today and Friday 24 November 2017, the two collide in a brilliant explosion of arty farty people, all usually beavering away in different departments of the bank, coming together to exhibit their talents. I’m excited because it gives Raymond a proper outing! If you’ve not already met Raymond then you are in for a treat as he’ picking up speed on the run up to Christmas. Raymond tends to make an appearance in late October with the release of three brand new Raymond Christmas card designs and he has gained quite a following since he first popped up in 2010.  Unfortunately the exhibition is for bank employees only but it’s a starting block.

You can get your hands on Raymond Christmas cards over at the facebook page where you can get friends and family discount as well as bagging yourself some Raymond stickers too (new for 2017)

exhibition image 03

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Some see a blank canvas as a new beginning. It’s exciting. It’s a foundation. Others see a blank canvas as daunting. It stunts the creative process. I tend to attack a page already full of ideas. The ink it already leaking from the tip of the pen even before it’s come into contact with the paper. However, there are times, like right now, when I’m required to write a few lines on who I am and what I do from an illustration perspective, in preparation for an exhibition and I’m sat staring at the flashing cursor…

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So, having taken a deep breath and hovered over the delete button for a while, I’ve cleared the content from this page. In the run up to Christmas I become very aware of the website and how outdated the posts have become. As proud as I am of the work and exhibitions of four years ago, I’m aware that it’s no longer news. With the launch of my 2017 Christmas Cards over the next few weeks, I wanted to ensure that by clicking here, you’re getting content that’s current. So, for now, this whitewash is simply making way for all the stuff I want you to see and enjoy. Over the next few months I’ll mostly be dedicating my time to Raymond – if you’ve not met him yet, you’re in for a treat – so, welcome to my newly cleaned and polished website. Welcome to friedandy.com.