New book of cartoons about visual art
Cartoons ranging from Vermeer to contemporary art
Oder it from your local bookshop or buy it through Amazon, such as:
A book of 114 full colour cartoons on the subject of the visual arts.
The cartoons in the book include several new versions of cartoons that are on this site along with many that have been created specially for the book.
The targets of the jokes range from artists themselves to the audiences in art galleries, and from art classes to art techniques.
There are jokes about specific artists – Picasso, Dali, Magritte, Mondrian, Vermeer.
There are jokes about the art market and about art criticism and art theory.
The Beast That Ate the Earth
Environment cartoon book
Versions of many of the environmental cartoons on this site can be found in my book, The Beast That Ate the Earth.
I”ve been drawing cartoons on environmental matters since the early 1970s.
The book was published in 2004 and contains about a hundred cartoons in black and white.
The book is available through Amazon.
Such as at:
Notre-Dame fire restoration fund/Sackler boycott cartoon.
(Drawn on the night of the fire, before the actual donations controversy that followed.)
15 April 2019.
This is a cartoon that deliberately links two current news stories: the restoration of Notre-Dame cathedral following the devastating fire and the boycotting of funding from the Sackler family charitable trusts.
The cartoon was drawn on the evening of the fire, and predates the controversy about the donations from large businesses that developed in the following days.
The cartoon is primarily about the current controversy in some western societies concerning the assumed ethical standards of the donors who contribute funds to institutions such as art galleries and religious buildings.
The Sackler family are major benefactors to many institutions. Only a week ago I was in Westminster Abbey in London where I noticed their name on a recently restored stained glass window to which I assume they had contributed funding.
However, the Sackler family own Purdue Pharma, a company that produces the prescription painkiller OxyContin that is said to be addictive. Thus there are calls to boycott any charitable funding offered by the Sackler family.
Of course the Sackler family are far from being the only donors to charitable causes who may be involved in supposedly tainted money. It could possibly be argued that any organisation that had enough money to distribute in such lavish ways must have come about it by somewhat dubious means, depending on one’s standards.
Cartoon reference number: a769
Brexit and climate change cartoon
A cartoon about the way that the all-encompassing concentration on Brexit is preventing people from being concerned about climate change and global warming
This cartoon first appeared in Private Eye, January 2019.
Cartoon reference number: a768
Hate crime cartoon
A cartoon about the widening definition of hate crime
The definition of hate crime seems to be in danger of spreading so that it encompasses some minor or petty slights or insults.
Cartoon reference number: a767
Girl with balloon
A parody of Banksy’s Girl with Balloon image, with the balloon replaced by a £ sign.
The image was inspired by the sale of the version of Banksy’s Girl with Balloon that shredded itself immediately after it was sold at Sotheby’s for a very large sum of money, thus increasing its value even more.
Was the work intended to be a protest at the nature of the contemporary art market? And was the fact that the piece immediately increased in value following its shredding part of Banksy’s plan, and a deliberate dig at the art market? Also, was the piece actually supposed to go all the way though the shredder and end up as a pile of spaghetti on the floor but for the fact that the shredder jammed?
Cartoon reference number: a766
Donald Trump caricature as a match with flames as hair.
The cartoon shows Donald Trump as a match. His hair appears as fire or flames
Cartoon reference number: a765
The green man.
The concept of the green man stretches back to antiquity, and is usually depicted as a head covered in leaves and foliage.
In this cartoon version, the green man is depicted as a tree, where the only evidence of a human link is the man’s legs protruding below the tree’s foliage and forming the tree trunk.
Cartoon reference number: a761
An urban landscape with no trees or grass except on a traffic roundabout.
A person in a passing car is saying to their children “Look kids – the countryside!”
A cartoon about sprawling urban development, green spaces, the concrete jungle, nature being squeezed out, urbanisation, urbanization, city gardens,
Cartoon reference number: a760
A person finding that inspiration comes most easily by relaxing and not thinking too hard.
A person relaxing and musing “I have my best ideas when I’m not thinking.”
A cartoon about cognition, thought processes, the nature of creativity, inspiration, ideas, the creative process.
Cartoon reference number: a759
Dependency on mobile phones – cartoon.
People are beginning to rely to an excessive extent on their mobile phone (cell phone) and on digital electronic technology.
This cartoon illustrates this by depicting tourists who are using the sat-nav function of their mobile phones to navigate to a hotel. The gps has stopped working and they don’t know how to find the hotel, even though it’s plainly in full view.
Cartoon reference number: a758
Post truth cartoon.
Truth and facts being ignored in favour of emotional or prejudiced viewpoints.
The concept of ignoring the facts when reaching a decision about something, and letting the heart rather than the head rule, seems to be a phenomenon that’s on the rise. It has recently been labelled ‘post truth’.
In the cartoon I’ve linked it to the phenomenon of conspiracy theories, which are frequently used as a way of justifying irrational or unproven ideas.
The rise of post truth tendencies is said to be linked to people’s increasing use of social media via phones and electronic media and the tendency for internet algorithms to send people only information that they already agree with – however the tendency has always been there in the way that people purchase newspapers that agree with their political and other views.
It may also be linked to the current mistrust of experts.
Cartoon reference number: a756
The blaming of the working class by the middle class for Brexit and the election of Trump
The cartoon shows a middle class man accusing a working class man of prejudiced bigotry, oblivious to the fact that he himself is being a prejudiced bigot.
Cartoon reference number: a754
“Do you remember where you were when trump was first elected?”
A cartoon showing two people in a devastated landscape, with a tattered stars and stripes flag.
One of the people is asking the other if he remembers the time when Donald Trump was first elected as president of the United States (implying that the degraded landscape in which they are sitting is a result of the Trump presidency).
Cartoon reference number: a753
The grim reaper following elderly people – and getting closer al the time.
The personification of death in the form of the grim reaper pursuing an elderly couple.
The old people are slowing down due to old age and infirmity, thus allowing the grim reaper to catch up with them.
The grim reaper with a baby grim reaper in a pushchair
The personification of death in the form of the grim reaper pushing a pushchair or baby buggy in which sits an infant grim reaper.
Part of the concept behind the cartoon is to show a link between birth and death.
It’s also meant to be humorous because it humanises the grim reaper.
Cartoon reference number: a751
The grim reaper buys a combine harvester
The personification of death in the form of the grim reaper upgrades from his scythe to a combine harvester. The harvester is here a symbol of much greater ‘harvesting’ power than the scythe – in other words a means of achieving a much greater death toll, similar to a weapon of mass destruction.
Cartoon reference number: a750
This cartoon was drawn as a tribute to William Heath Robinson on the occasion of the opening of the new Heath Robinson Museum in Pinner (where Heath Robinson lived).
This cartoon shows a Heath Robinson style contraption and is captioned “A contraption for capturing unusually shaped clouds”.
Jokes about art gallery goers admiring blank canvases are a staple for cartoonists who want to satirise modern art.
Here’s one of my contributions (although I like this sort of art).
Interestingly, the abstract expressionist painter Ad Reinhardt, who painted canvases that were uniformly black, also worked as a cartoonist who satirised modern art.
Bird in the form of the helmet from a suit of armour – dip pen and ink drawing with watercolour wash
This is a drawing executed in traditional media – a dip pen and ink with tone added using a watercolour wash with a brush.
How social media in phones filter information – giving the user a ‘phoney’ (or phony) world view
How social media etc via phones and other digital devices reinforce prejudices by filtering information so that the user only sees information that conforms to the user’s existing biases.
The ‘filter bubble’ of social media and other digital technology is similar to the ‘culture bubble’ of real-world travel and peer group opinions and attitudes.
A cartoon showing a man who is regretting voting for Britain to leave the EU in the 2016 referendum.
The image is partly a comment on the extreme criticism of ‘leave’ voters by those who voted to stay in the EU.
Based on the WW1 recruitment poster “Daddy, what did YOU do in the Great War?”
Brexit cartoon – the winds of change.
The cartoon shows a British person with a British flag (union jack) blown into his face so that he can’t see where he’s going.
The image may show a person who can’t see the future ahead now that Britain has voted to leave the EU, with the flag representing Britain.
Alternatively, it may show a person who was blinded by patriotism before the referendum and thus voted to leave the EU on those grounds. This doesn’t imply that everyone who voted to leave the EU in the referendum are blinkered nationalists, just that blinkered nationalists probably voted for Brexit and thus managed to get many other Leave voters tarred with the same brush.
The following version, without the word Brexit in the caption, can be ordered instead, on request.
An environmental cartoon about air pollution
Showing a man using breathing apparatus to breathe fresh air in a polluted atmosphere. The oxygen cylinder contains a plant that is generating oxygen
Part of the idea behind the cartoon is to convey the concept that plants are the lungs of the world, liberating oxygen from carbon dioxide via photosynthesis.
A cartoon about clear air, atmospheric pollution and toxic chemicals, smoke and smog
Original version created: 1991
Is the EU in danger of splitting up now that Britain has voted to leave (Brexit) in its referendum?
The cartoon shows an EU flag being torn apart as one of the stars leaves the circle of member nations.
Will the EU fall apart?
Will other member nations vote to leave, especially if they elect nationalist right wing governments?
How algorithms in phones filter information, thus giving the user a ‘phoney’ (or phony) world view
How the use of phones and other digital devices reinforce prejudices by filtering information so that the user tends to see only information that conforms to the user’s biases.
The ‘filter bubble’ of social media and other digital technology is similar to the ‘culture bubble’ in which travellers and tourists surround themselves with their own culture when abroad.
A car driving off the end of a road – symbolising the human race hurtling towards an uncertain future of its own making.
The car driver is following the sat-nav (GPS) unquestioningly as the car drives off the edge of the precipice (which metaphorically signifies the collapse of civilisation).
The road in this cartoon symbolises the human race’s road into the future, while the car is a metaphor for the human race itself, accompanied by its technological ‘life support system’.
The message is meant to be that if we’re not careful it will all end very badly.
This isn’t an anti-technology or anti-progress cartoon by the way – it’s just a view of how things might go if we aren’t careful.
Original version created: 2016
A man carrying a giant coin – burdened down by financial problems.
Also a metaphor for the burden of living within a society in which the acquisition of financial wealth is seen as a primary goal above all others.
The giant coin (here a British pound coin) is a symbol of finance in general, and of people’s dependence on the financial system.
A cartoon about money, finance, capital, capitalism, pursuit of wealth, the economy.
A car driving off the end of a road and over a cliff – with the car driver still unquestioningly following the sat-nav.
The scene is a metaphor for what may happen if the human race unquestioningly and uncritically follows technological progress. Not that I think that technological progress is bad – we just need to watch where it’s going.
A car driving into the future – and plunging off the end of the road
The car driver is following the sat-nav (GPS) unquestioningly as the car drives off the edge of the precipice (which metaphorically signifies the collapse of civilisation).
This cartoon is about the inherent danger in the advance of technology (here symbolised by cars, transport systems sat-nav) and other aspects of human progress. The further we progress, the greater the consequences of anything going wrong, especially if we put too much faith in technology and, as here, follow it uncritically.
A problem of immersive technology – smart phone users oblivious to events round them
This cartoon is about the way that the use of smart phones encourages people to withdraw from the real world and to become totally immersed in their phones.
In the cartoon the two young people in the foreground are completely unaware that the city behind them is being destroyed by an alien invasion by flying saucers or ufos (and that this is the reason that their phones have lost their signal). The only thing that they notice is that the signal to their phones has gone.
The cartoon is an illustration of the potential dangers of immersive technology.
It was first published in Prospect magazine, April 2016.
A cartoon about modern baby names and old-fashioned baby names.
A cartoon about the trend for unusual and non-traditional names for babies.
The fashion for non-traditional names for babies may be a symptom of the current trend towards hyper individualism, which may mean that ‘ordinary’ names are viewed as being too conformist.
The trend may also be linked to the rise of celebrity culture where such names are more commonplace
A cartoon about hypercritical student attitudes.
A cartoon about the trend for students’ grievances and dissatisfactions to be translated into action, such as in the form no platforming or the demands for objectionable artefacts to be removed.
The action is often seen by some as self righteous, self indulgent, censorious and intolerant (ironically, as the students often think that they are acting for the greater benefit of others).
The cartoon shows the danger of the students adopting a feeling of over entitlement and thus taking their attitudes out into the wider world beyond their colleges.
The inspiration for this image was a news story about students disapproving of a sculpture by Henry Moore, and demanding that it wasn’t displayed on their university campus.
A cartoon about corporate morals and the moral corporate stance of stating that “We never did anything illegal” as a justification for using devious or evasive financial practices.
This cartoon is partly inspired by the news story about money laundering through Panama legal/financial firm Mossack Fonseca
A cartoon about corporate morality, the spirit of the law, money laundering leaks, tax evasion, tax avoidance, tax havens.
A cartoon about money laundering through Panama legal/financial firm Mossack Fonseca
A cartoon about money laundering leaks, tax evasion, tax avoidance, tax havens.
A cartoon about the Panama tax avoidance leaks from legal/financial firm Mossack Fonseca
A cartoon about tax evasion, tax avoidance, tax havens, Panama, money laundering, leaks.
A hipster explaining to his father that modern young people listen to music on vinyl – as though it’s a new format that older people wouldn’t understand.
This cartoon is about the way that young people often feel superior to older people because older people aren’t necessarily up to date with technology.
The cartoon is about the psychology of youth – about the way that young people often fail to appreciate the fact that their modern world was created by people who went before them.
The fact that the music format being used is an old fashioned or retro format, while the young person in the cartoon still feels superior to the man who grew up with the technology, is part of the joke about youth setting itself up as superior to age.
The young person in the cartoon is a hipster – a youth sub-culture of the 2010s.
It’s a cartoon about the generation gap.