A chess board as a metaphor for conflict resolution – cartoon

Chess as a metaphor for conflict resolution

A chessboard on which the chess pieces are not only black and white but are also shades of grey.

The idea of the cartoon is that conflict occurs when things are seen in black and white or when people are polarised in outlook. With shades of gray or nuances of opinion conflict is less likely – specifically as on the chessboard in the illustration.

The cartoon is a comment on the fact that people tend to analyse things in black and white, as “either/or” or in binary.

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Weird illustration of a person with a padlock as a head – and the key as a pet

Surreal cartoon of a person with a padlock as a head and a key as a pet

Bizarre illustration of a padlock as a person’s head

A bizarre or surrealist image showing a person with a padlock as a head – and with the padlock’s key on a lead like a pet dog.
The image was created with no specific meaning, although it’s probably an unconscious metaphor for something as it gives the impression of aspiring to be psychologically meaningful.

Perhaps it’s meant to refer in some ways to psychology or psychological processes, the workings of the mind, the conceptualisation of ideas and such like. Perhaps it’s about the way that people become locked into particular patterns of thought and behaviour (while possessing the key to their release).
A cartoon about cognition, thought processes, psychiatry, the mind.
I think it owes a debt to surrealist art, with a touch of Rene Magritte or salvador Dali in there

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Cartoon about the saying ‘To your own self be true’

criticism of excessive self fulfilment - cartoon

A cartoon about the pitfalls of ‘being yourself’ and ‘being true to yourself’

The illustration shows a guru dispensing advice to ‘Be true to yourself in all things’.

The cartoon highlights the absurdity of the expression ‘To thine own self be true’, as the expression can be taken as a license for people to do whatever they want. The expression only makes sense if you assume that everyone’s nature is essentially good.
“To thine own self be true” is a quote from Shakespeare (by Polonius in Hamlet).
The image is a criticism of philosophies and lifestyles that take concepts of self fulfilment or self actualisation to an extreme, and or the concept that it’s morally good to follow the impulses of your own personality without self-restraint.

Ref: a662

Introvert – extrovert cartoon

introvert extrovert cartoon

Cartoon about self-help books

An introvert reading a self-help book about how to be an extrovert

A cartoon about therapy, psychology, psychiatry, personality types
Ref: a650

Cartoon – the medicalisation of personality disorders (and of normal personality traits)

medicalisation of deviant behaviour cartoon

Medicalisation of deviant behaviour cartoon
The nature v nurture debate on human personality
Neurological origins of behavioural traits

A cartoon about the tendency to invoke medical reasons for deviant personality traits, for abnormal personality traits or even for normal aspects of personality.
It shows one aspect of the nature v nurture debate

An illustration about the medicalization of behaviour. This may include behavioural syndromes ranging from psychopathic tendencies and deviance to conditions such as hyperactivity, ADHD (attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder), rebelliousness or non-conformity.
In this cartoon I’ve invented a medical condition that is being used by a parent to justify her child’s aberrant or antisocial behavior

The cartoon reflects the tendency to claim, for instance, that particular parts of dna are responsible for criminal behaviour – thus removing responsibility from the person and placing it on the dna
The image is not meant to imply that there is no neurological basis for behaviour, just that it can sometimes be used as an excuse for bad behaviour
The subject of neurological origins for criminal behaviour is dealt with in the book The Anatomy of Violence by Adrian Raine

The cartoon was first published in Prospect magazine in May 2013

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Philosophy cartoon – the human condition

Philosophy - the human condition cartoon

Philosophy cartoon
A signpost to doom

Cartoon. A signpost pointing to negative conditions of the human psyche in all directions (sadness, misery etc). The sign on the top of the signpost indicates where the signpost is right now – boredom.
The people standing beneath the sign decide to stay where they are.

They’d rather be bored than risk experiencing something more negative.
Notice that the signpost has no positive directions on it. This doesn’t mean that there are none – but that to the people beneath the sign see it that way.
A cartoon about motivation, outlook, pessimist, pessimists, optimism (or the lack of it), mindsets, melancholia, negativity, inertia, the human condition.
Ref: a101

Padlock head – a cartoon about psychology

Illustration - person with a head in the form of a padlock and holding the key in

Padlock head cartoon

A surreal or bizarre image showing a person with a head in the form of a padlock.
The person is holding the padlock’s key in their hands.
The drawing was created with no idea what it means, although it’s probably an unconscious metaphor for something as it gives the impression of aspiring to be psychologically profound. Perhaps it’s meant to refer in some ways to psychology, the workings of the mind, the conceptualisation of ideas and so on. Maybe it’s about the way that people become locked into patterns of thought and behaviour (while holding the key to escaping).

A cartoon about cognition, thought processes, psychiatry, the mind

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Team building cartoon – “There’s no ‘I’ in ‘team'”

no i in team

Teamwork or management cartoon
There’s No ‘I’ in ‘team’

An illustration about group psychology and team dynamics.
It suggests that while a group or team may be important, it’s also important not to suppress the individual too much (as individuals are usually more creative than groups)

This cartoon is suitable for publications about motivation, or in presentations about group dynamics or by motivational speakers.

It’s also a image about questioning authority, questioning established viewpoints and about individualism

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Yes or No? Being pulled in opposite directions – illustration

Yes and No pulling in opposite directions

Yes or No – which will win in a tug-of-war?

A cartoon illustrating the idea of being pulled in two directions at once, or of indecision.

A conceptual illustration that might be about voting, a yes and no vote in an election, indecisive behaviour, being pulled in several directions, opposites pulling in opposite directions, weighing up an argument, forming opinions, decisiveness
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The first law of survival – don’t let them know you’re scared – cartoon

The first law of survival - don't let it know that you're scared!

The first law of survival – don’t let them know you’re scared – cartoon

A cartoon showing astronauts on an alien world. One of the astronauts is being sucked into the mouth of a space monster. The other astronaut is shouting “Remember the first law of survival – don’t let it know that you’re scared!”

A cartoon about overcoming your fears and confronting your anxieties
Ref: a563

Speech balloons that link like jigsaw puzzle pieces

jigsaw speech balloon cartoon

An illustration or cartoon about communication between people

The cartoon shows two people who communicate so well together that their speech balloons form two interlocking halves of a jigsaw that fit together perfectly

The cartoon illustrates a couple who are a perfect match who relate perfectly, complimenting each other, with their thoughts and ideas linking perfectly (symbolised by their speech bubbles matching or complimenting).
The shapes of the jigsaw pieces can also be interpreted as having a sexual connotation.
The cartoon is linked to therapy, relationships, couples, communication, understanding, empathy

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Quotation about pedants

humorous quote about pedants

A humorous quotation about pedantry
“I’m not a pedant (in the strict definition of the term)
The quote is my own

A typography-based image showing a funny quote about pedants

The humour is in the fact that only a pedant would qualify their lack of pedantry as quoted here
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Looming presences. A drawing

threatening presences and small person

A moody illustration about oppressive thoughts and entities

This is an atmospheric drawing of a small person between two overwhelming and threatening forms.
It is a psychological illustration of the feeling of threat

A drawing about psychology, paranoia, neurosis, neurotic thoughts, looming danger

This drawing is mostly a sketch drawn with a ballpoint pen. It’s been added to in Photoshop, especially in the sky.

a388

Motivational self-help books – and relaxation

Overachiever book as pillow - cartoon

Cartoon about motivational self-help books and books about self improvement

A comment on the ethos of self motivation, self improvement, competitiveness and overachievement as promoted by the achievement orientated culture of contemporary western society.

The illustration shows someone ignoring the instructions of a book on self motivation. He is using the book as an aid to relaxation rather than action.
The flower is a reference to the idea that you should always give yourself time to ‘smell the roses’.

Self-help books often deal with subjects of popular psychology such as relationships, or in aspects of the mind and human behaviour which the books claim can be modified or controlled to the advantage of the reader. Self-help books usually promote themselves as being able to increase the reader’s happiness, self-awareness and performance.

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Illustration of an eye with a tiny person inside it looking out. A homunculus?

person looking out through an eye

A picture of a person looking out through an eye
Illustration of an eye, with a tiny person inside it looking out

Illustration: looking through someone else’s eyes.

An eye with a face looking out through the pupil as though it’s a window or the entrance of a dark cave

In this image the eye is a window with someone looking out through it. It may have something to do with the saying “The eyes are the windows to the soul”. Or maybe not.
It’s as though there’s a tiny person living inside the person’s eye, or maybe inside their head. This is related to the homunculus argument (homunculus: Latin for “little man”), which is a philosophical concept that imagines that there is a tiny person inside the head monitoring the activity of the person whose head it’s in.
Homunculus arguments are used in psychology and the philosophy of mind to detect where theories of mind fail or are incomplete, usually betrayed by the recursive nature of the concept under examination (where a problem isn’t resolved but is simply repeated art one step removed, as in “Who’s watching the watcher?” or “Is there a homunculus inside the head of a homunculus?”.

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Happy faces on fingernails. But the face on the thumb looks glum

fingers and thumb nail faces

Photo of fingers and thumb with faces drawn on nails

Happy faces on finger nails. But the thumb looks glum.

I’m putting this photo up now because it bears a similarity to a work by David Shrigley, who has a major exhibition – Brain Activity – opening at the Hayward Gallery today.
The David Shrigley artwork that it resembles is’Passport’, 2005. It’s probably similar to other Shrigley works, but that happens to be the one that I’ve seen (as of yesterday).
My photo was created by me in March 2001, so any similarity to David Shrigley is totally coincidental, unless he saw my work of course.
The image shows faces drawn onto fingernails. The faces on the fingernails are all looking happy and smiling, but the face on the thumb is looking glum. That’s because the thumb feels that it is doesn’t quite fit in with the close-knit group of fingers who have always been very close to each other.
The picture that may be about happiness, togetherness, group identity, friendship, alienation, outsiders, rejection, cliques,
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Psychiatry and therapy cartoon

Cartoon -mind your head - therapist

Therapy cartoon.

Cartoon about the sometimes unnecessary use of therapy and psychiatry.
This isn’t a criticism of all therapy and psychiatry by the way, despite appearances. It’s more a questioning of some of the characteristics of some of the practices – their philosophies, policies, politics and so on.

A cartoon about counselling, therapy, psychiatrists.
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Cartoon about identity – a mirror that reflects the true you

Cartoon - mirror that reflects the true you

Cartoon about identity – a mirror that reflects the true you.

Cartoon – a mirror that reflects people’s personality rather than their appearance.

Part of the joke in the cartoon is that the shop that is selling the mirrors is selling two types of mirror. One type reflects an idealised image of the viewer, while the other reflects what the viewer really looks like at the level of their personality. The joke is that all of the idealising mirrors have sold out, and the others are all unsold.
The cartoon contains ideas similar to the portrait of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde – and to the film Shallow Hal (which it predates).A cartoon about psychology, self image, personality, physiognomy.
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A cartoon about identity. A person wearing a mask. Is the face behind the mask a mask too?

the mask behind the mask cartoon

A cartoon about identity.

Cartoon about identity and masks – person wearing a mask, with the face behind the mask being the same as the mask itself

Cartoon about masks. The joke in the cartoon is that the face behind the mask is exactly the same as the mask. Is it a mask itself? It’s ambiguous.
A cartoon about hidden identities, the subconscious, personality projection, true self, anonymity, psychology, psychiatry,, alternative identities.
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Happiness cartoon – the pursuit of happiness

Cartoon - the pursuit of happiness

Happiness cartoon. The pursuit of happiness

Happiness cartoon – the pursuit of happiness. Showing a person chasing party balloons like a donkey pursuing a carrot on a stick.

Happiness cartoon.
The cartoon illustrates people’s innate desire to pursue happiness.
The cartoon illustrates the concept that happiness is transient and can’t be grasped and kept permanently (symbolised by the idea of grabbing and hanging onto the party balloons in the illustration).
The cartoon depicts the pursuit of happiness as a motivation for people doing things.
A cartoon about people’s expectations of happiness, the elusiveness of happiness, the search for happiness, the pursuit of happiness, thwarted expectations, motivation, sense of discontentment, motivational activities.
Ref: a090

Cartoon about contentment and expectation. “There must be more to life than this”

hang glider- must be more to life than this - cartoon

Happiness cartoon or contentment cartoon.

Happiness cartoon – some people are never happy.
Cartoon showing a person flying in a hang glider, which is a form of high octane, high stimulation extreme sport, thinking “There must be more to life than this”.

Happiness cartoon.
The cartoon illustrated people’s innate sense of discontentment (which is one of the reasons why people are so achievement orientated, so it’s not necessarily a bad thing – or is it?).
A cartoon about people’s expectations of happiness, the elusiveness of happiness, the search for happiness, the pursuit of happiness, thwarted expectations, motivation.

See my book about life, the universe and everything.

Ref: a089

Therapy cartoon. If you’re too happy perhaps you need therapy

Cartoon - you're too contented - you need therapy

Psychotherapy (or just plain therapy) Cartoon. Happiness cartoon.

Therapy cartoon – showing a woman saying to her partner “I’m worried about how contented you seem – I think you need therapy”
She is over analysing people’s moods and even diagnosing happiness or being happy as a mental condition that requires treatment.

Happiness cartoon. A cartoon about the potential over use of therapy, analysis, counselling, psychology, psychiatry, psychotic states.
Ref: a086

Therapy cartoon. Anger management counselling

anger management counselling cartoon

A cartoon about anger management therapy.

Cartoon about anger management therapy.
Cartoon showing a group of patients waiting in the waiting room outside an anger management counsellor’s consulting room.
There is a bell outside the consulting room, with a notice on it saying “Please ring before entering”.
The bell is on a fair ground “ring the bell with a hammer” apparatus.

A cartoon about therapy, anger management counselling, councilling, counseling, managing aggression, frustration

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