The sample rate of the patch is determined by a parameter in the Output operator. The only reason you would need to change the sample rate would be if you are using a frequency which is greater than half of the sample. See Nyquist Limit. For example, if the sample rate is set to 22050 samples per second (Hz) and you were using a frequency greater than 11025 Hz, then you would need to set the sample rate higher, sat to 44100 Hz. Otherwise you would create a kind of digital noise known as ALIASING.

To set the SAMPLE RATE of your patch:

Open the patch you created in Tutorial2.

  • Select the Output operator.
  • You should see these parameters:


    Note the value in the Rate field.

    The value in the Rate field sets the SAMPLE RATE of the sound. Standard SAMPLE RATES include:

    44100 Hz (standard CD sample rate)

It is not necessary to change the sample rate of your patch unless you are using a frequency that is greater than half the sample rate. See Nyquist Limit. Otherwise you create more data than is necessary to represent your sound. For example, at a sample rate of 22050 Hz, one minute of monophonic sound equates to approx 2.5 megabytes of memory or disk space. At 44100 Hz, one minute of monophonic sound equals 5 megabytes. A stereo sound would double the amount of memory or disk space.

The overall length of the waveform (sound) is determined by a parameter in the Output operator. To set the length of the waveform (that is, the length of time in seconds the patch will play):

  Open the simple patch you created in the 1st tutorial, Creating a Simple JSYD Patch  :

  • Select the Output operator by clicking on it once. The output operator is on the right side of the window and resembles a speaker.
  • When you have the Output operator selected, you should see these parameters at the bottom of the window:
         Note the value in the Duration field. This value sets the duration of the sound (waveform) in seconds.  Setting the duration to 4 would produce a 4 second sound.  Setting the duration to 2.5 would produce a sound of 2.5 seconds.

In addition to setting the duration of the waveform, you should also check the setting of the OUTPUT. The default should be Output to Memory.

Synthesize the sound and listen for the overall length.

Try changing the duration of the output to different values and then listen for the results. You have to SYNTHESE the patch after EACH parameter change. Otherwise you will not affect any difference in the sound you hear.

Before you complete this tutorial, close all JSYD files and quit that application.

Once you create and  SYNTHESIZE a JSYD patch you will probably want to SAVE it so you can open and edit it at a later time. To save your JSYD patch, you will have to create a new directory (folder) in the USERS folder of your computer hard drive. Do that now and name the folder something that is meaningful to you, such as “JSYD files”.

Next, you should copy the JSYD application (Jsyd.jar) from the applications folder to this new folder which you created. Although when you save a JSYD patch, you can choose any directory you want, JSYD will always write soundfiles in the same directory as the application. This will become an issue in later tutorials so it is a good idea to get in the habit of copying the JSYD application to your new directory now.

To procede, find the JSYD application you copied into your new directory from above and launch it by double clicking on it. Now either create a new patch from scratch or open the patch you created from Tutorial 1 if you saved it in the Users folder.

To save your patch, select “Save As” in the File popup menu in the top left corner of the JSYD window. Find the folder you just created in the USERS folder and select it. Save your patch by naming it something that is meaningful to you, such as “Patch1.syd”.

JSYD will automatically put the file extension, “.syd” on the end of any file name that you create. Please do NOT deviate from this convention. It is important that you see the .syd extension so you can determine the difference between JSYD files and SOUNDFILES. For example:


You cannot recreate a JSYD patch and its unique parameters from a standard soundfile such as AIFF or WAV. So if you do not save your patch, you will not be able to recover it from a soundfile such as AIFF or WAV.

You should already have completed JSYD Tutorial 1 and have that patch open. If you did not complete that tutorial or cannot open the file, you will have to re-do that tutorial. At any rate, you will need to have a completed patch before you can procede with this tutorial.

Once you SYNTHESIZE your JSYD patch, you should be able to view a graphic representation of the waveform at the bottom of the window. To view the waveform:

1. Synthesize the patch by clicking on the SYNTHESIZE button at the top left of the window (it has a green “S”).
2. Click in a blank area of the window (not on an operator). Your window should look like this.

If your graphic area is smaller than the one above, expand it by clicking and dragging on the small button in the center and just above the graphic area.

To ZOOM IN on the waveform graphic, double-click the mouse within the graphic area :

To ZOOM OUT on the waveform graphic, hold down the COMMAND KEY and double-click the mouse within the graphic area .

To hear this sound, click on this link: JSYDSound2.aiff

To create a simple JSYD Patch:

  • Close any open JSYD files.
  • Choose NEW under the FILE menu.
    • Your window should look like this:


The JSYD window consists of a palette of OPERATORS arranged across the top and an OUTPUT operator located on the right side of the window. Also, there is an area on the bottom of the window which will display either a graphic representation of the waveform of the patch, or a specific operator’s various input and output parameters. More on this later.

To create a simple JSYD PATCH:

  • Click and drag an OSCILLATOR OPERATOR from the Operator Palette (first operator on the second row) down to the main part of the window.
  • Next, connect the output of the OSCILLATOR operator to the OUTPUT operator by clicking and dragging from the right side of the OSCILLATOR operator to the left side of the OUTPUT operator. Your cursor should change temporarily to a “pen” as you drag on the right side of the OSCILLATOR operator.

Your window should look something like this:

To see the input/output parameters of the OSCILLATOR operator, just select it by clicking on it once.

You could SYNTHESIZE the patch now but the volume of the output would be VERY LOUD.  It would be best to set the output volume of the OSCILLATOR operator to a more conservative AMPLITUDE.  Do this:

  • Select the OSCILLATOR operator by clicking it once. You should see the output parameters of the OSCILLATOR in the area at the bottom of the window and it should look like this:

In future examples, only the parameter area of the window will be shown in order to conserve space:

Change the value in the AMPLITUDE field to .5 (that’s “point” 5 (5/10ths), NOT  5.


Other parameters may not be visible until you resize the parameter field of the window. Click and drag on the DOT with is located in the center of the window just above the parameter filed. Drag it UP to reveal other parameter fields:

The FREQUENCY should remain at 440.

Note the default wave type is SINE.

Click OK to close the edit window.

After the window closes, click on the SYNTHESIZE button at the TOP left of the window (it has a green “S” on it).  This causes JSYD to COMPILE the file and store a digital representation either in MEMORY or write it directly to a file. More on this later.

To hear the sound:

  • Make sure your headphones are plugged in and the volume of the Macintosh computer is adjusted properly.
  • Click the PLAY button at the TOP left of the window. .  If you set all the parameters correctly you should hear a SINE wave at amplitude .5 for 2 seconds.
  • Compare what you hear from the JSYD patch to the sound you should hear when you click the link below:

Click on this link to hear the sound: JSYDSound1.aiff

You can save your patch by choosing “Save As” in the File popup menu in the top left corner of the JSYD window. Save your file in the USERS folder of the computer hard drive. You may not have access privileges to save files in other areas of the computer.


Will Wright’s The Sims models real life. It is not the first simulation game—Utopia on Intellivision (1982), Peter Molyneaux’s Populous (1989), Sid Meier’s Civilization (1991), and Wright’s own SimCity (1989) preceded it—but it becomes the best-selling computer game ever and the most popular game with female players.


Microsoft enters the video game market with Xbox and hit games like Halo: Combat Evolved. Four years later, Xbox 360 gains millions of fans with its advanced graphics and seamless online play.

The Strong’s collections


The U.S. Army releases America’s Army video game to help recruit and communicate with a new generation of electronic gamers, and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars launches the Serious Games Initiative to encourage the development of games that address policy and management issues.

The Strong’s collections


Valve energizes PC gaming with its release of Steam. The digital distribution platform allows players to download, play, and update games.


Nintendo maintains its dominance of the handheld market with the Nintendo DS, an easy-to-use, portable gaming system packed with two processors, two screens, multiplayer capabilities, and a stylus for the touchscreen. Great games like Super Mario Kart DS helped too.

The Strong’s collections


Microsoft’s Xbox 360 brings high-definition realism to the game market, as well as even better multiplayer competitions on Xbox Live and popular titles such as Alan Wake.

The Strong’s collections


Nintendo Wii gets gamers off the couch and moving with innovative, motion-sensitive remotes. Not only does Nintendo make gaming more active, it also appeals to millions of people who never before liked video games.

The Strong’s collections


Grab your guitar, microphone, bass, or drums, and start playing Rock Band. That’s what millions of would-be musicians did with Harmonix’s hit title.

The Strong’s online collections


Four years after its release, World of Warcraft surpasses 10 million subscribers, making it the most popular Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) game ever. MMOs create entire virtual universes for players and redefine how we play, learn, and relate to one another.


Social games like Farmville and mobile games like Angry Birds shake up the games industry. Millions of people who never would have considered themselves gamers now while away hours playing games on new platforms like Facebook and the iPhone.

Advertising in the 00s

A transformational change occurred in the 2000s. Consumer obsession with the latest product from Google or Apple often clouds recognition of the long-term effects. Things changed in ten short years.

In 2001 Bill Gates called this new decade “The Digital Decade.”

  • When the 1990s began, there were 2.6 million broadband households in the US, one out of every 40 homes. Now there are 80 million, or two thirds of the population. Broadband has gone from rare to ubiquitous.
  • Starting from zero, digital video recorders reached 31 million homes and HDTV reached 51 million in this decade. Together with online video and video on-demand, these gadgets have completely transformed the television experience.
  • Mobile phones subscriptions were up to 270 million by 2009 out of 307 million US adults. (For a comparison, mobile phones were in 51 million households in 2000, but back then having more than one phone per household was unusual.) Back in 1999 phones were phones. Now they’re iPhones, BlackBerries and Androids — computers and internet access devices.
  • Portable digital music players have reached 76% of all US households. At the start of the decade, they were in practically none, because the iPod had yet to be introduced. Mark Mulligan calls it “The Decade That Music Forgot.”

And finally, it’s worth noting that Google just celebrated its 10th anniversary. In 1999, most of hadn’t heard of it yet. And forget social technologies — in 1999, most of the social activity online was in chat and discussion forums.

Looking back on all this from the perspective of media and marketing, it’s clear that consumer lead, media stumbles along behind, and marketers follow along behind.

2009’s consumers spend 34% of their media time online. As a result, digital marketing spending has gone from $6.2 billion in 1999 to $25.6 billion, or 12% of all marketing spending, in 2009. But marketers still spend most of their energy and dollars on TV, newspapers and radio.

Within those industries, the spend shifts slower than the behavior. Newspaper sites still bring in far less than ads in the paper. Video on-demand and online video ad models are still under construction.

But what you can learn from this decade is that consumers move quickly, models move slowly, and marketing moves conservatively. When you see a technology shifting, that’s the time to begin close observation of the models behind it. It will take years for those models to take hold, and in those years, you get the chance to learn. That’s when you need to experiment and figure out how things work, because that’s when it’s cheap and the competition is hanging back. The objective is not to make money right off, but to learn the ropes. Because when the transformation happens — and it will — then you will have the advantage of knowledge.

The History of Online Advertising

1994: The first banner ads appear


Image credit: Wired

On October 27, 1994, the world of advertising was forever transformed by a small graphic bearing the presumptive words, “Have you ever clicked your mouse right here? You will,” in a kitschy rainbow font. The age of banner ads had officially begun.

You can thank (or blame?) Wired magazine’s former online off-shoot HotWired for introducing the world to the enduringly ubiquitous banner ad. HotWired was a digital publication, and it needed a way to generate revenue to pay its writers.

The publication devised a plan to set aside portions of its website to sell space to advertisers, similar to how ad space is sold in a print magazine. They called the ad spaces “banner ads,” and charged advertisers an upfront cost to occupy the real estate for a set time period — very different from today’s pay-per-click model. 

AT&T paid HotWired $30,000 to place the banner ad above on their site for three months. The ad enjoyed a click-through-rate of 44% — a number that would make most marketers balk in disbelief today. To put that in perspective, the average clickthrough rate on display ads today — 22 years later — is closer to 0.06%

Users enticed to click the mysterious banner were transported to a very early landing page for AT&T. Visitors could click links to view information about landmarks and museums around the world to highlight the internet’s ability to transport you to different locations virtually.

Craig Kanarick, one of the digital consultants hired to work on the campaign, remembers the team’s goal was to make an ad that didn’t feel like an ad, and actually offered valuable content to users. “Let’s not sell somebody something,” he recalled thinking, “Let’s reward them for clicking on this thing brought to you by AT&T.” 

The banner ad concept blew up as a way for websites to keep their content ungated and free for users, and it wasn’t long before other companies — such as Time Inc. and CMP’s Tech web — were seeking out advertisers to lease banner space as a sustainable way to scale their sites. 

1995: Display ads become increasingly targeted 

As banner ads continued to gain popularity, advertisers became increasingly interested in targeting specific consumer demographics, rather than just placing their ads wherever space was offered and hoping the right people would see it. This led to the beginning of targeted ad placement.

WebConnect, an ad agency that specialized in online ads, began helping their clients identify websites their ideal consumers visited. Now, companies could place ads where their target demographics were more likely to see them.

This was nothing short of revolutionary in the digital advertising space. Not only were companies reaching more relevant audiences, but websites hosting the ads were also able to display banners that were more applicable to their visitors.

WebConnect also introduced the CustomView tool, which capped the number of times a particular user was shown a single banner ad. If a user had already seen an ad a certain number of times, they would be shown another ad instead.

Users tend to stop noticing a banner ad after they’ve seen it before, so capping the number of times a user sees an ad helped early online advertisers prevent “banner fatigue.” Ad frequency capping is still a common display ad tactic advertisers use today. 

1996: ROI tracking tools begin to improve 

In 1996, banner ads plastered the internet, but advertisers still didn’t have a good process to determine if these ads were actually driving tangible results for their businesses. Marketers needed a way to more efficiently manage their display ad campaigns across multiple websites and report on how users were interacting with their ads.

Doubleclick emerged on the scene as one of the first ROI tools for banner ad campaigns. They offered advertisers a new service called D.A.R.T. (Dynamic Advertising Reporting & Targeting), which enabled companies to track how many times an ad was viewed and clicked across multiple websites.

The most impressive feature of D.A.R.T. was the fact that advertisers now had the ability to track how their ads were performing and make changes to a live campaign. Previously, advertisers needed to wait until a campaign was completed before they could analyze the results and optimize their next banner for better performance. If an ad was performing poorly, they were forced to wait it out.

With Doubleclick, advertisers could see if an ad’s performance was suffering midway through a campaign, and they had the option to make changes. For example, if a marketer noticed their ad was underperforming on one website, they could remove the ad and devote those resources to another website where the ad was performing better.

Doubleclick’s success also gave rise to a new pricing model for online advertising: Cost per impression (CPM). Previously, websites were paid a flat fee to host banner ads for a predetermined time period. With improved ad tracking, banner pricing transitioned towards an ROI-based model.

1997: Pop-up ads quickly rise and fall 

It would be an understatement to say that pop-up ads suffer from a poor image problem. They’ve been called internet’s original sin and the most hated advertising technique, and one of the original developers has even apologized for creating the underlying code that unleashed them upon unsuspecting web surfers. Even so, these much-maligned ads hold an undeniable place in the history of online advertising.

So who created the very first pop-up? Before you get your pitchforks and torches out, you should know their intentions were good. Ethan Zuckerman, then a developer for, is widely credited with creating the code that enables pop-up ads to open up a new browser window.

“It was a way to associate an ad with a user’s page without putting it directly on the page, which advertisers worried would imply an association between their brand and the page’s content,” Zuckerman wrote in the Atlantic.

Amidst dwindling banner ad clickthrough rates in the late 1990s, pop-up ads first seemed like a way to save online advertising and capture the attention of increasingly ad-blind users. And while pop-ups did force users to pay attention, they didn’t actually translate to real ROI. By the early 2000s, it was standard for web browsers to come with pop-up blocking features.

1999 – 2002: Advertisers turn to paid search and pay-per-click

By this time, the web was expanding rapidly and users needed a better way to navigate the terrain. With search engines steadily gaining popularity, advertisers looking to create ads that were more targeted and less loathsome turned to sponsored search as the next digital advertising frontier.

In 1999, — an emerging search engine company that would later be acquired by Yahoo — introduced the first pay-for-placement search engine service. Advertisers were given the opportunity to bid for top search engine results on particular keywords. Despite some initial outcries that paid search would lead to corrupt results, was able to monetize their search engine through the model.

Pay-for-placement eventually evolved into pay-per-click. Companies bid on search result placement on a per-click basis: e.g., I’ll pay $1 per click if you put my company as the top search result. This led to search results that were largely determined by how much a company was willing to pay. The highest bidders were usually listed first, even above more relevant content, and it was unclear to users which results were paid and which were organic content.

The user experience of paid search was suffering, and one up-and-coming search engine thought they could fix it. Google introduced AdWords in 2000, originally under a pay-for-placement ad model. Google wanted to create a sponsored search experience that generated revenue without compromising the quality and relevancy of search results.

While previous paid search models like relied on bids from advertisers to determine search rankings, AdWords introduced a Quality Score model, which took into account an ad’s clickthrough rate when determining its placement on the search results page. Even if an ad had a lower bid, it would still appear above other, less relevant paid ads in search results thanks to its high clickthrough rate. The Quality Score model is still used today.

2006: Digital ads become hyper-targeted

As social media platforms picked up steam in the mid 2000s, advertisers sought a way to integrate ad content in a way that was both effective and non-intrusive. Marketers wanted a plan of action to reach younger internet users who were increasingly unswayed by banner ads and spending most of their internet time on social networks.

After previously resisting ads on its site, Facebook started working with advertisers in 2006 as a way to increase the young company’s profitability. They started with small display ads and sponsored links, and eventually moved onto ads targeted to a user’s demographics and interests. Despite some controversies along the way, Facebook has proven itself to be a targeted ad pioneer, changing the way that companies reach their desired audiences online.

“Our strategy is much less [about] increasing the volume of ads and much more about increasing the quality of the content and the quality of the targeting to get the right content to the right people,”Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said in 2014.

Targeting consumers with relevant ads — rather than bombarding them with a large volume of ad content — has become a standard practice for online advertisers, particularly on social media. Beyond Facebook’s targeting efforts, other social networks such as Twitter, YouTube, and Google+ focus on providing an advertising experience for users that doesn’t feel aggressive or impersonal.

2010 – present: Marketers find value in native ads

Around this time, a new group of media companies began to emerge. Websites like BuzzFeed and Mashable presented advertisers with new opportunities to connect with their audiences through sponsored content and native advertising

Advertisers pay to produce articles, videos, and other types of content for news and media sites. The nature of the content itself is promotional, but the format looks less like an ad and more like a regular piece of content on the host’s website.  

Instead of relying on ads that disrupt their target audience’s online experience, native advertising allows marketers to create promotional content that supplements a user’s online experience. “Marketers interested in targeting ads to specific consumers in an unobtrusive fashion should seriously consider spending some time on native,” Mimi An concluded in a HubSpot Research study on native advertising.

Websites that traditionally generated revenue from display ads began to realize that they could create a better user experience by relying primarily on native ads — rather than traditional display ads — without compromising on ad revenue. 

The Future of Advertising

That’s a look back at the history of online advertising — but what about the future?

According to recent data from HubSpot Research, 91% of respondents say ads are more intrusive today compared to just two to three years ago. It’s clear that the future of digital advertising pivots on developing a targeted ad experience that offers consumers relevant content without feeling nosy or invasive.

2000s in Television

The Wire

Freaks and Geeks

Mad Men

Breaking Bad

The Office


Battlestar Galactica

30 Rock


Friday Night Lights


How I Met Your Mother

Big Love


The Venture Bros.

The West Wing

2000s in Film

Bourne series

28 Days Later

District 9

The Wind that Shakes the Barley


The Departed

Lord of The Rings trilogy

O Brother Where Art Thou

Big Fish

Old Boy

Almost Famous

Dark Knight

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind


Comic Books in the 21st Century

The period of 2000-2009 was a rebuilding of the comic book industry after the collapse of the 1990s

Comics took on more of a storytelling role and less of a “collectable” role. 

Many of the stories developed in the 2000s went on to become the basis for successful TV shows and motion pictures. In fact, the existence of the “books” from the two major comic book companies received major scrutiny. DC Comics was purchased by Warner Brothers years earlier. Marvel was purchased by Disney in 2009. In both instances the corporations that own the properties see more income from merchandising as well as the film and tv rights. The publishing arms ofd those companies have to continuously defend themselves. The major argument for their existence is to be a laboratory for creating stories to be mined by the film/tv productions.

Marvel in the 00s

Brian Michael Bendis – Alex Maleev – Daredevil – basis for the Netflix TV series.

Ed Brubaker – Steve Epting – Captain America – basis for the Captain America Films

Mark Millar – Bryan Hitch – Ultimates – basis for the Avengers film

While Marvel was able to make this argument convincingly for a time, DC has had less success with that argument. However, there are a few stories from the 2000-2009 period that were highly critically acclaimed and sold very well. It is surprising that they have not had significant film/tv adaptations yet.


Bryan K Vaughn – Pia Guerra – Y the Last Man: A masterpiece of the comic book form.

Bill Willingham – Mark Buckingham – Fables: Rumors abound that the ABC series “Once Upon a Time” is actually “Fables” in disguise so ABC/Disney doesn’t have to pay for the rights, but the storylines and premises are remarkably similar.

Darwin Cooke – DC: The New Frontier – Tells the origin of the Justice League as a period piece set in the mid/late 1950s. It is the strongest adaptation of that story created to date.

Meanwhile the independent comics of the 21st century have been rising in sales. By creating longer form narratives these “Graphic Novels” (a term arguably coined by Will Eisner in the 1970s) with complete stories contained in single volumes have become increasingly more popular than the comic book periodical format.

This is a selection of the most important volumes from the 2000-2009 period

Independent Comics

Stan Sakai – Usage Yojimbo – Sakai tells stories from Japanese history. Strongly influenced by Kurosawa films

Chris Ware – Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth – Ware created a litany of new visual language strongly influenced by graphic design to create a unique comic reading experience.

Blankets – an independent comic by Craig Thompson, the beginning of popular auto-biographical comics.

Asterios Polyp – David Mazzucchelli – Mazzucchelli came to prominence by drawing Daredevil and Batman stories written by Frank Miller, after which he famously said he had nothing more to say in regards to super-hero comics. Asterious Polyp is widely considered one of the greatest Graphic Novels ever created. It uses the design of the characters, the design of the pages, and the design of the physical book itself to communicate the ideas contained within.

Marjane Satrapi – Persepolis – Award winning auto-biographical comic in the tradition of Blankets about a muslim girl growing up during and after the Islamic Revolution.

Jason – Why are You Doing This? – Jason is a Norwegian cartoonist who uses line claire, a drawing style developed by French cartoonist Herge, years earlier, to tell short clear narratives involving anthropomorphic animal characters in situations punctuated by visual reversals.

Illustration 2000s

It’s been one heck of a decade for the discipline of illustration, and that’s certainly not an overstatement. To those creatives whose careers straddle the solast- century and noughties divide, it’s clear how much ground the discipline has covered – and how much it’s conquered – since the year 2000.

Over the last 10 years, this field has undergone a huge reinvention from cottage industry to creative industry. Thanks to a fresh breed of practitioners at the turn of the century, with new working methodologies and ideologies for contemporary illustration practice, an outmoded and outdated analogue craft has been dragged into the brave new digital world of the 21st century.

In charting the fall and rise, the near-death experience and radical rebirth of illustration from the mid- 1990s to 2000, it’s evident that renegade innovators were at the heart of instigating genuine and challenging change. At the beginning of the 21st century, only moments away from the final nail being hammered into the coffin, a new kind of creative started a wave of illustration that would determine and define the discipline’s future, and defy those who were ready to perform its last rites.


As for the tipping point – was there a moment in time when technology and ideology were in perfect harmony? Probably not, but both certainly played a role in the rejuvenation of illustration. Its changing fortune came about through a series of seemingly unrelated moments, when a new generation of young digital practitioners ran with – rather than away from – technology. Having grown up with the computer in the playroom, classroom and bedroom, they embraced the possibilities it offered for pushing new parameters, instead of remaining tied down by traditions.

While this was going on, the democratisation of the digital was also in full swing: kit, both hardware and software, was available to buy from out-of-town warehouses at rock-bottom prices. And around the same time, the internet arrived into studios up and down the land – albeit via 56k dial-up – for the first time enabling information and communication to be shared across the planet. Marshall McLuhan’s ‘global village’, a term that he first coined in 1962, had finally become a reality.

Ian Wright, a rare example of an ever-evolving illustrator to have continually practised across three decades, cites the internet as the major development for the discipline. “It has allowed self-publishing and digital viewing in a way unheard of before,” he says. And Anthony Burrill, no amateur himself, agrees: “The biggest advance this decade for me has been the internet and instant access to everything, all the time. It means I use it constantly for image research and when I’m looking for inspiration,” he says.

Yet aside from a small minority to jump the analogue/digital divide, as Wright and Burrill so visibly achieved, the future of the discipline was to rest with, and be wrestled by, a new generation. And the outlet for their first forays into reshaping the future? The Face: a fashion, music and style magazine originally launched back in 1980 with illustration content provided by a young Ian Wright. Constantly reinventing itself, some 20 years later the publication was to offer illustration a much-needed blank canvas. By the year 2000, and under the creative guidance of Graham Rounthwaite (himself a successful illustrator-turned-art director), the likes of Jasper Goodall, Miles Donovan at Peepshow and Austin Cowdall at NEW were given carte blanche to explore new illustrative opportunities within the pages of the publication.

“I don’t think I’d be the artist I am today if I hadn’t worked with Graham,” says Goodall. “He was a great art director who knew the value of letting artists do their own thing. We kind of came together at a time when what I was doing creatively totally fitted with what he wanted for the magazine, so he pretty much left me to it with almost zero amendments for three or four years. The Face was the bible of cool,” he continues, “and that was the best place for me to be in terms of media industry perception – it got me a lot of work.”

Adrian Johnson, much applauded for his work for clients that include The Independent, The Guardian, Robinsons and Stussy, agrees with Goodall: “The Face helped illustration break free of the shackles of the Radio Times and ES Magazine covers that it was synonymous with – illustration became cool. It’s now everywhere, from the printed page to the white walls of Berlin galleries, and from the Milan catwalk to the world wide web,” he says. “Illustration fought long and hard to be viewed as an equal to graphic design, but the blurring of the boundaries has given the discipline the shot it needed – credibility.”

If it was The Face that began to give illustration the confidence boost it so desperately required at the start of the decade, then it was the strut and last-gang-in-town mentality of a small number of collectives emerging from the shadows – Big Orange, Neasden Control Centre, Peepshow and Black Convoy – that drove the discipline further forward, and greatly helped to expand the overall remit of the illustrator.

Peepshow’s influence, since its formation following Miles Donovan’s graduation from the University of Brighton in 2000, should not be underestimated. Having constantly stood at the forefront of evolving illustration practice, and, just as crucially, reshaped the media’s comprehension of the role of the illustrator, Peepshow has continued to break down barriers and preconceptions about the discipline. “We work extensively within art direction, advertorial and editorial illustration, moving image, fashion and textile design, and set design,” explains Donovan – and it’s at the crossroads of these areas that new practices continue to emerge.

Naked ambition and raw desire to succeed saw John McFaul – a founding member of collective Black Convoy – split to set up McFaul, his own fully-fledged design/illustration agency, which has built up an international client base. “Illustrator became illustrators, then an art and design agency, and a bumbling creative mess became a tight business with a sense of purpose and more than a little swagger,” he admits.

With a portfolio that includes large-scale projects for clients such as Carhartt, Nokia, Havaianas and John Lennon Airport, McFaul can be forgiven for a touch of arrogance. “I’m smiling from breakfast to beers. Can there be a better job on the planet?” he asks.

Michael Gillette, illustrator to the Beastie Boys, Levi’s and James Bond (to pick just a few names from his ever-expanding client list) thinks not. From Gillette’s studio in San Francisco – he relocated from London at the start of the decade – he explains his own take on the developments that have been seen since the end of the last century. “It’s clear that we’ve had an explosion of illustrative creativity in the past 10 years, in all different directions and across many different media. I believe that the breadth is enough to ensure that illustration will remain a very viable creative solution and not a fad,” he says. “I believe that the digital realm has put designers and illustrators back on the same page – or screen – so developments will continue in a positive and dynamic fashion.”

Throughout the decade, illustration has become noticed on an increasingly global scale, as a result of enhanced communication through the web. Commercial markets have opened for practitioners in ways that were unthinkable a decade ago. Gradually the eyes of the media industries began to look further afield than the UK and US for new illustration talent, and groups such as eBoy in Germany and :phunk studio in Singapore came under the spotlight.

With corporate companies like Coca-Cola, Nike and Levi’s waiting in line to work with the pick of the bunch, some illustration outfits started to attain cult status. eBoy, comprising an ex-bricklayer, an electrician and a musician, created entirely digital pixelated worlds that couldn’t fail to impress – millions of pixels arranged to create hyper-worlds that pointed towards a Utopian urban dream.

Meanwhile, in Singapore :phunk studio (another truly global collective) were merging art and design, turning their hands to a never-ending range of projects. From skateboards, bikes, vinyl figures, bags, club interiors and exhibitions to retail graphics and design for print and screen, all were subjected to the :phunk studio visual approach.

“We get bored easily,” they explain. “We like to explore, express and communicate through different media.” Today, illustration is a wholly international discipline, manifesting itself through a seemingly never-ending array of outlets compared to the canvas it had in 2000.

So what and where next for illustration? Ambitious for the discipline, Holly Wales champions the new role of the illustrator, but certainly isn’t letting recent progress stand in the way of further transformations in the industry. “I’d like to see much more collaboration – a huge embrace of technology and illustrators behaving more like art directors on bigger projects,” Wales says.

Others are beginning to see the future for illustrators as animators: “As magazines increasingly go online,” says Jasper Goodall, “so the opportunities for non-static illustration increases.” Adrian Johnson is in agreement: “It appears, and I say this with some regret, that the printed page has had its day, and yet the possibilities for illustration online are astonishing. Illustrators will have to get their heads round animation, as illustration comes alive!”

Changes in technology and ideology have transformed and continue to transform contemporary illustration, with emerging practitioners keen to continue to push at the blurred edges of existing boundaries. Rose Blake is a recent graduate of Kingston University’s BA Illustration and Animation course, and is now in her first year of study on a Communication Art and Design MA course at the Royal College of Art. Blake was only 13 years old in 2000, and yet she captures the spirit of today’s young mavericks: “I’ve learnt that you have to be human and put that into your work,” she says. “I make work about stuff that really means something to me – I like honest work.”

Anthony Burrill, despite having been around the block a few times, agrees wholeheartedly with Blake. “Tread your own path,” he advises. “Be aware of everything that’s going on, but find your own voice.” And Ian Wright, from his studio in NYC and with a career spanning three decades, offers sage advice for the newcomer: “The future is always uncertain, yet look at it as a positive challenge and, above all, stick to it and keep the faith!”

We look forward to seeing what the next 10 years have in store: here’s to another heck of a decade for illustration.


While the word “illustrator” might bring to mind a children’s book artist, these five illustrators graduated from storybooks decades ago. Thanks to the ever-growing arsenal of available digital media creation tools, the world of illustration has undergone a major transformation over the year

Today’s illustrators blend traditional and digital media to create artwork for magazines, books, advertisements, movies and more. While they use many of the same tools, each illustrator has an entirely different style. Keep reading to see each artist’s unique take on 21st century illustration.

Michael Kutsche

If you’ve watched Thor, John Carter or Oz the Great and Powerful, then you’re already familiar with Michael Kutsche’s work. Kutsche was born in Germany in 1970, and like many other illustrators, began drawing and illustrating at an early age. As his work demonstrates, Kutsche has never lacked imagination or the skill to turn his ideas into awesome otherworldly creatures.

Kutsche got his first big break as part of the design team for Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland”, which was released in 2010. The self-taught German illustrator works in both traditional and digital media, usually drawing out his concepts before incorporating digital elements. His work with high-profile blockbuster hits has earned him worldwide acclaim.


James Jean

James Jean is an Indonesian-American artist known for both his popular commercial illustrations and his fine art gallery work. Jean was born in Taiwan in 1979 and raised in New Jersey. In 2001, he graduated from The School of Visual Arts and began his uber-successful career working with companies like Prada, Atlantic Records and DC Comics.


Many critics and fans now recognize Jean as one of the industry’s best illustrators. His style is characterized by unique, ethereal energy and sophisticated compositions. Jean often incorporates curvilinear lines and the wet media effect to complement the unusual perspectives in his work.

Brian Despain

Once you become familiar with Brian Despain’s smooth, antique illustration style, you’ll be able to pick out his artwork from a mile away. Despain loved art from an early age and spent much of his younger years daydreaming and drawing. Truly a sign of the technological times in which we live, Despain first learned to paint digitally, and only recently began painting with oils.

Despain has been particularly successful in the video game industry, though as a professional concept illustrator he works on a variety of projects. His depiction of robots and his use of a muted palette—browns, tans, and navy blues are his go-to color scheme—have carved out a unique illustration style that’s garnered him well-deserved critical and commercial acclaim.


Zutto, whose real name is Alexandra Zutto, is a self-taught freelance illustrator based out of Russia. Using Adobe Illustrator, she creates colorful, playful scenes straight from her imagination, hoping to use her art to communicate with the outside world. Zutto also publishes works-in-progress as a sort of tutorial, allowing fans to see an in-depth look at her artistic process.

Andrey Gordeev

Andrey Gordeev is a Russian artist whose distinct style is easily recognizable. As evident from his work, Gordeev rarely takes himself seriously—his digital illustrations are colorful, fun and often humorous.

In one of his most popular series, Around the World in 12 Months, Gordeev drew a series of truck drivers from all over the world for a corporate calendar.