Cartoon depicting a western businessman visiting an eastern guru to try to find the meaning of life. He wants the answer quickly, because he is very busy and is short of time.
This is possibly a cartoon criticising the emptiness of western capitalist consumerist society. Having said that, I’m not a follower of eastern (or any other) mystical or spiritual societies either!
The humour in the cartoon is related to the fact that the businessman expects the answer to his difficult question in a very short time – possibly because the businessman is used to his minions and advisors giving him information in bite-sized chunks and in over-simplified and un-nuanced form.
It is a cartoon about the materially rich, time-poor nature of modern capitalist society, and about the expectation that life should be easy, with any answers instantly available.
A cartoon about compromise and consensus.
A cartoon showing two people disagreeing.
They want to compromise (or at least one of them does), but the gulf between them is too great.
There is no meeting point possible.
The thing that the two people disagree about could be anything from a domestic issue, an emotional issue, a relationship issue, a political issue, a pay negotiation – any sort of problem really.
A cartoon about compromise, consensus, diplomacy, shifting your position, negotiating, therapy, counselling, psychotherapy, arbitration, negotiation.
Cartoon: a door with hinges on both edges – making it impossible to open the door.
The hinges in this cartoon are a metaphor for devices (or people, or institutions) that are meant to make things function better, but that make them worse when over-used. The point of the cartoon is that they can be counterproductive.
Cartoon showing how too many facilitators can make action impossible.
The hinges in the cartoon can be metaphors for committees, too many cooks, lack of functionality, excess, excessive help, excessive aid, counterproductive aid.
A cartoon about how to change a lightbulb that’s very high up
Cartoon showing people using step ladders extending upwards by being stacked pyramid style like a house of cards to reach a very high light bulb.
This may seem to be just a simple joke, but it’s actually a comment on the human ability to overcome obstacles – an ability that is one of the engines behind progress.
A cartoon about improvisation, improvising, innovation, innovating, reaching higher, ambition, invention, necessity the mother of invention.
Car boot sale cartoon. One car is selling boots. Another car is selling shoes (using a sign reading “Car shoe sale”)
Cartoon showing a car boot sale, with a vendor selling shoes under a sign that reads “Car shoe sale”
A note to non-British readers – a car boot is the UK equivalent of a car’s trunk in the USA.
The joke here is that a car boot sale is a sale of bric-a-brac and other goods that can be carried in the boot of a car, and has nothing to do with the garment variety of boot.
Cartoon showing a bow and arrow. The arrow is walking away from the bow. The bow is telling the arrow that separately they are nothing but together they can conquer the world.
The bow and arrow in this cartoon are a metaphor for teamwork. Neither member of the team can function to their full potential (or in this case, at all) without the other team member.
A cartoon about teams and teamwork, relationships, interdependence, teams, teamwork, symbiosis, management skills, facilitation, achieving potential.
Illustration about the interpretation of statistics and the importance of context.
Cartoon showing a person studying statistics through a telescope (which is visually funnier than a cartoon showing a person studying statistics under a microscope).
Cartoon showing a person studying statistics. He is studying them so closely that he has lost sight of the surrounding context.
The principle behind the cartoon (studying things so closely that context is lost or ignored) is applicable to the study of other areas of research, and applies to politics, economics, social sciences – in fact just about everything.
Editorial illustration – Greece and the euro crisis
Finance cartoon – EU debt crisis
The Greek effect on the euro
The European currency, the euro, is depicted as a balloon, with Greece, in the form of an ancient Greek archer, firing an arrow at the balloon
A cartoon about the financial crisis in the eurozone, the future of the euro, political crisis in Europe, cohesion of the European community
Euro crisis cartoon
A cartoon showing the european currency, the euro, as a person with the euro sign as a head, walking off the edge of a cliff
An illustration about the financial crisis in the eurozone, the future of the euro, political crisis in Europe, the European community, the euro on the brink of collapse, financial markets in free-fall
Low pay cartoon
Bankers bonuses cartoon
A cartoon showing low-paid immigrant workers (vegetable pickers) attempting to use the same negotiating tactics as bankers. The tactic is to threaten to move abroad where the remuneration may be greater.
The employer is saying “They’ve got us over a barrel by deploying the classic ‘banker’s gambit’. Give us more money or we’ll go abroad.”
A cartoon about pay negotiations, labour markets, migrant labour, low pay, minimum wages, pay rates, global economy, city bonuses, city excess, greed is good mentality, competition, capitalism, economics, finance
Cartoon first published in Private Eye, December 2011
Cartoon about overachievement
Illustration about hubris
A balloon rising dangerously into the air with a person hanging on to it – as a symbol or metaphor for overachievement or over-reaching.
The balloon in the illustration is a symbol of ambition or achievement. The meaning of the illustration is that to be over-ambitious or over-achieving can have unfortunate consequences
A cartoon about hubris, unforeseen consequences, icarus, pride comes before a fall, onwards and upwards.
The cartoon can be applied to business enterprises that over-reach their natural limits or to management styles that push people further than is advisable.
Hubris is defined as an overestimation of a person’s competence or capabilities, especially when the person is in a position of power. Technological or scientific hubris is the state of assuming that technology and scientific progress will afford us all of the answers to our problems (including those that have been brought about by the application of science and technology). The concept of scientific hubris is often over-used as a criticism of science and scientific developments
Social status cartoon
The dynamics of male hierarchical status
How males judge their position in the pecking order
The cartoon shows a tall man and a short man, with the tall man assuming dominance and superiority over the shorter man.
However, as a further sign of masculinity the men have antlers, the size of which displays their status and power. The shorter man has much larger antlers than the taller man. So which man is the dominant alpha male?
A cartoon about power, testosterone, men, masculinity, gender signifiers, management, superiority, leadership, alpha males, business, businessmen, businessman, power displays, size matters, office politics, dilemmas, dominance hierarchies, male dominance in work situations, evolutionary psychology
A business executive in an imposing office saying to a visitor “This room’s meant to make me seem important – not you”
A senior manager, executive or entrepreneur in a very imposing office, saying to a minion sitting on the other side of a huge desk “”This office is meant to make me seem important – not you”
A cartoon about impressing people, showing off, status, status symbols, prestige, management hierarchy, office politics, status enhancement
Management style cartoon
Business skills cartoon
A man talking very loudly in a meeting – with his words in his speech bubble written in a bold sans serif typeface
A business skills cartoon about management style, management skills, management techniques, business meetings, people skills, chairing meetings, cooperation, dominance, dominant male, alpha male manager, overbearing, dictatorial
Management cartoon. A boss-type figure sitting on a pedestal behid a desk, hoping that no one will notice that he is ineffectual because he can’t reach his desk (precisely because he is sitting on a pedestal). He looks very much alone.
A cartoon about authority, elitism, dictatorship, imperiousness, ineffective, inefficient, management, class, status.
Corporate sponsorship cartoon
Expedition to climb Mount Everest sponsorship by a ladder company. The climber has taken a step ladder with him in order to climb higher than the summit of Mount Everest
A cartoon about corporate sponsorship and the sponsors finding appropriate subjects for their sponsorship
A cartoon about mountaineering, scaling heights, conquering obstacles, ambition, expedition sponsorship, publicity
Cartoon about aspiration
Proverbs about the moon
This aspirational cartoon is titled “A Chinese Proverb” although I actually thought it up myself.
The saying is: “Aim at the moon and you will harpoon a fish. Aim at a fish and you will harpoon a fish. So you may as well aim at the moon.”
A cartoon about aspiration, drive, ambition, foresight, optimism
A cartoon from my selection of environmental cartoons
Carbon footprint cartoon
China’s carbon footprint cartoon
Editorial cartoon or illustration on the reason why China has a large carbon footprint – because it manufactures goods for the west
A cartoon about manufacturing in China, imports, experts, trade, pollution, consumerism, the consumer society, manufacturing, carbon credits
Cartoon: Steve Jobs dies
Editorial cartoon on the subject of the death of Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple computers.
Jobs quit his role as ceo of Apple several months ago due to ill health.
Showing the Apple logo falling from an apple tree, illustrating the death of Steve Jobs and perhaps illustrating Apple’s share price falling as a result (probably in several years’ time).
Rene Magritte cartoon parody of The Son of Man (French: Le fils de l’homme)
The image shows a banker with a coin in front of his face based on the Magritte image of a man with an apple in front of his face
The idea behind this image is that bankers (and others in the finance industry) see only money and profit. This is implied by the coin that is floating in front of the face of the banker, blocking his perception of anything else but money
A comment on finance, capitalism, priorities
The £ sign on the coin can be changed to any other currency