Best and Worst of 2016

Click to explore

Click to explore

As the possibly apocryphal Chinese curse has it: “May you live in interesting times.” The past year has been many things—we can start with astonishing, bizarre, and confounding—and interesting is certainly somewhere on that long list of adjectives. So whether it's a gift or a curse, you should be thankful you were here to experience it! And you might also be thankful that, once again, your ol' pals at Beutler Ink have compiled the most memorable moments from an interesting year into an exceptional illustration!

You can click above to explore the giant graphic—but set some time aside before you dive in, because there's a whole lot of action to look at. You can click here to purchase a copy. And you can also scroll further down for a behind-the-scenes look at how our team executed the project from start to finish. 


Beutler Ink

Behind the scenes

As always, we began compiling possible news items, cultural events, and notable personalities for inclusion as soon as the new year kicked off. Sadly, one of the first additions to our list was David Bowie, who passed away in early January.

As the year continued, our RIP list just got longer and longer. We regret that we weren't able to find space for Elie Wiesel, Glenn Frey, Morley Safer and many others. But our graphic does include a record-setting—for us, anyway—27 RIP depictions, including a last-minute addition of astronaut and hero John Glenn. (Not all of our RIP entries are necessarily "heroic." Fidel Castro is one of the most significant figures of the 20th century, so we had to include him despite his awful record of repression. To paraphrase the Twitter adage, depictions =/= endorsements.)

By October, we had a massive Google Doc full of possible items for inclusion, and it was time to decide on a backdrop. We briefly considered a Rio Olympics setting and a Westworld-inspired milieu, but after a team member suggested Dutch artist Hieronymus Bosch's "The Garden of Earthly Delights," there was really no other option. The famous triptych was in the news back in February thanks to a high-resolution interactive exhibition of the work, and the painting seems just as relevant (and haunting) now as did when it made its debut around 500 years ago.


With the key content components in place, it was time to move into illustration. Our previous "Here's to" graphics each had slightly different flavor thanks to the diverse illustrators we used—Mario Zucca in 2013, Noah Smith in 2014, and Luke McGarry in 2015. This year, we recruited the extremely talented Niv Bavarsky, a Los Angeles-based artist whose playful work has been featured in The New York Times, Wired, and Bleacher Report. Niv's drawings weave together surrealism and caricature (among other elements) so he was an absolutely perfect fit for this Boschian undertaking.

His first full sketch of the graphic (above) completely nailed the concept, and we knew we were on the cusp of something great. But the final graphic he sent across exceeded our already-high expectations. Everything from the color scheme to the character depictions to the visual cohesion is absolutely perfect. We're just thrilled with this graphic and hope you love it as much as we do. 

(And please get in touch with us if you want to create an equally stunning piece of content.)

An illustrated answer key is included below, along with a full list of people and events included in the graphic. How many can you identify?

  1. Harambe RIP
  2. Chyna RIP
  3. Rob Ford RIP
  4. Leonard Cohen RIP
  5. Prince RIP
  6. Vanity RIP
  7. David Bowie RIP
  8. Gene Wilder RIP
  9. Alan Rickman RIP
  10. Jo Cox RIP
  11. Merle Haggard RIP
  12. Phife Dawg RIP
  13. Muhammad Ali RIP
  14. Garry Shandling RIP
  15. Janet Reno RIP
  16. Fidel Castro RIP
  17. Pat Summitt RIP
  18. Sharon Jones RIP
  19. José Fernández RIP
  20. Arnold Palmer RIP
  21. Harper Lee RIP
  22. Anton Yelchin RIP
  23. Florence Henderson RIP
  24. Gwen Ifill RIP
  25. Antonin Scalia RIP
  26. Nancy Reagan RIP
  27. Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando
  28. Black Lives Matter movement
  29. Dallas PD sniper victims
  30. Oakland warehouse fire  
  31. No Man's Sky
  32. Chicago Cubs finally win!
  33. Vin Scully retires
  34. Candace Parker and the Sparks win WNBA championship
  35. Kobe Bryant retires
  36. Von Miller and the Broncos win Super Bowl
  37. Hodor holding a door
  38. Colin Kaepernick takes knee during anthem
  39. Simone Biles + Final Five
  40. LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and Cleveland Cavaliers win NBA championship
  41. Syrian refugees
  42. Squirtle [Pokemon]
  43. X-Files
  44. Facebook Live and Chewbacca mask lady become popular
  45. Member Berries
  46. Finding Dory
  47. Kim & Kanye had a rough year
  48. La Croix beverage
  49. Beyoncé's Lemonade
  50. Frank Ocean's Blonde
  51. Chance the Rapper's Coloring Book
  52. Tracer from Overwatch
  53. Ghostbusters relaunch
  54. EASTER EGG you'll have to find yourself. No hints!
  55. Issa Rae on Insecure  
  56. Hamilton's Lin-Manuel Miranda is omnipresent
  57. Pidgey [Pokemon]
  58. Super hero movies are one big super hero brawl
  59. Atlanta is a hit
  60. Westworld intrigues
  61. Eevee [Pokemon]
  62. Eleven from Stranger Things
  63. D.W. Read's Arthur meme
  64. Hulk Hogan's lawsuit crushes Gawker
  65. Negan terrorizes on Walking Dead
  66. here come dat boi
  67. Cassian Andor, Jyn Erso, and K-2SO from Rogue One
  68. President Obama visits Cuba and Laos
  69. The ghost of Twitter trolls
  70. Kim Kardashian's stolen jewelry
  71. Kylie's lip kit
  72. Leonardo DiCaprio finally wins an Oscar for his role in The Revenant
  73. The Pen Pineapple Apple Pen guy
  74. Luke Cage
  75. Elizabeth Holmes peddles snake oil
  76. Marcia Clark, O.J. Simpson, and Robert Shapiro
  77. Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phones on fire
  78. RIP Vine
  79. Yahoo has a fire sale
  80. RIP The Toast
  81. Flint, Michigan still doesn't have clean water
  82. Steven Avery in prison jumpsuit
  83. Standing Rock protests
  84. Michael Phelps
  85. Katie Ledecky
  86. Ryan Lochte
  87. Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez celebrate Leicester City's first Premier League title
  88. Kevin Durant joins Golden State Warriors after their Finals loss
  89. Ma'a Nonu of New Zealand's record-setting All Blacks rugby team
  90. Viral photo of woman arrested while protesting police brutality in Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  91. Malheur Standoff led by Ammon Bundy
  92. Celebrity splits: Johnny Depp & Amber Heard, Taylor Swift & Calvin Harris, Brangelina
  93. Seven states vote to legalize marijuana
  94. Pokémon ball
  95. Bulbasaur [Pokémon]
  96. Zika-carrying mosquito
  97. Conor McGregor / Nate Diaz bout
  98. David Cameron resigns as Prime Minister after Brexit vote
  99. Theresa May becomes UK Prime Minister
  100. North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory blocks bathroom access
  101. Huge crowd of Bernie supporters
  102. Bernie Sanders
  103. Roger Ailes leaves Fox News in wake of sexual harassment claims
  104. Water bottle flip
  105. Damn Daniel back at it again with the white Vans  
  106.  Ken Bone
  107. FBI investigates Hillary Clinton's email server
  108. Nate Silver never rules out a Trump win
  109. Epicurean Trump supporter Scott Adams
  110. Rudy Giuliani rages
  111. Sean Hannity find loves
  112. Melania cribs Michelle's speech
  113. Hillary Clinton
  114. Huma Abedin
  115. Anthony Weiner remains indecent
  116. Steve Bannon
  117.  Vice President-elect Mike Pence
  118. Ivanka Trump
  119. Lovable Pepe the Frog transformed into Evil Alt-Right mascot
  120. Reince Priebus tries to stage manage
  121. Julian Assange
  122. Vladimir Putin
  123. President-elect Donald Trump
  124. "Grab them by the pussy"
  125.  #Pizzagate
  126. John Glenn RIP  
  127. Hyper Light Drifter
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