Andrew Fairclough captures the exciting & wild side of student life

Andrew Fairclough’s editorial illustrations of Australian student life capture the beauty in outdoor adventure, food & nightlife.


Andrew Fairclough’s illustrations of student life are beautifully attuned to texture and detail, encapsulating the freedom and fearlessness that runs strong amidst those fond university years.

Whether it’s eating cheap street food, finding rooftop outlooks or in this case, pretending you’re on the end of Titanic whilst getting pushed inside a shopping trolley (hmmmm)  – these are all memories and experiences often never forgotten from our youth.

Andrew’s recent illustration series for Insider Guides’ International Student Guides touches on these nuances of liberation. The free, annual guidebooks are distributed in major Australian cities to equip international students with knowledge on how to enjoy living abroad.

Andrew was given a not-too-definitive brief to illustrate a series of scenes and characters representing various aspects of Australian student life as covered in the guides.


“I ended up landing on a series of student lifestyle scenes contained within the silhouette of youthful profile portraits, using negative space to create an engaging visual whilst ensuring an otherwise anonymous scene felt more human and relatable,” says Andrew. 

He loosely sketched the scenes in pencil and much of the line work was created quickly in Ilustrator with hand-drawn elements and textures finally added in Photoshop. 

The scenes themselves were governed by the format of the guidebooks, with different chapters covering outdoor adventure, shopping, food and drink as well as nightlife.

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After quitting his job in business and re-training as an illustrator and designer, Sydney-based Andrew found a love for traditional print processes, including silkscreen, risograph and photocopying. 

Although most of his work is created digitally, he’s keen in incorporate the imperfections and details from more traditional processes.

He began his illustration career by working on skate and snowboard graphics in between full-time work in a design agency.


Andrew finds inspiration in old magazines, newspapers, comic books, gig posters and record sleeves. His work reflects mid-century spot illustrations and design as well as vintage sci-fi, surrealism and DIY art culture.

He admires the work of artists such as Art Chantry, Wallace Wood, Istvan Orosz, Virgin Finlay and Michael Leon. 

Andrew has worked for clients such as Billabong, Nike, GQ, Penguin and Jack Daniels.


Image: Andrew Fairclough

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Image: Andrew Fairclough