The advent of the iPad poses many questions about the future of illustration.
Yet as with the introduction of the Mac into the industry I might suggest that illustration will adapt & meet the challenges that it faces.
Undoubtedly publishing will change, but we already see signs of where possibly magazines will develop, through a greater emphasis on print quality - the emergence of boutique publications such as 'Nobrow' & 'NVA'. these titles emphasize high quality productions & imagery, with relatively low print runs.
In an age of blogs the audience will require something else, something special from magazines.
Weekly news, newspapers will migrate to online editions, leaving special bespoke magazines - they will always retain that special experience, object.
The iPad begins to mimic certain qualities of reading magazines & books. Touch screens allow us to flick pages, more akin to how we read - providing a more visceral experience. As graphic novels begin to appear on such media the way that you read, navigate stories will change, be adapted.
In a time of over-saturation of illustration, a greater need for the author of this imagery to have an agenda, viewpoint, a narrative to their work will be increasingly necessary in order to stand out against the plethora of style merchants chewed up in a constant flow of fashion. Also how software is effecting the style of much work.
Within technology also the possibilities to self-publish work/ideas through the internet are great opportunities for illustrators to make work. Now more than ever the technology to make moving image/animation has enlarged the canvas for illustrators to tell stories - As Marshall Arisman pointed out, it is vital for illustrators to use technology & tell their stories through print & through the internet.
As more work migrates into screen-based technologies illustrators have the opportunities to enlarge their visual worlds to encompass both sequencing. movement, & sound of their work.
Not only can drawings be animated, but there also exists a narrative in how the copy appears on the screen - whether in real time as the blog is written & the image develops, or as you scroll down, click to reveal further content. Interactive work will push how illustrations can tell a variety of narratives within a single piece.
An understanding, awareness of the possibilities that screen-based work offers to the illustrators will be ever important, to command the possibilities of the effects of drawings as you navigate sites.
As is becomes ever easier to source visual artist's work on the internet, styles & influences are merging at an accelerated rate. people are rapidly using a combination of means to communicate & accessing a greater amount of reference materials.
The unique singular voice of the illustrator will be necessary to stand out - using the greater availability of equipment/technology to express ideas, or stories without losing it's individuality.
All of this provides many exciting outlets for illustrators to tell their unique stories.
How illustrators are found now via the web has changed ideas of self promotion. the New York Times receives less direct mailers these days, resorting instead to searching online for visual image makers across the globe.