Personality profiling for job applicants – cartoon from Chemistry World

chemistry cartoon - rorschach test

A cartoon about the use of personality profiling in job interviews.

The use of Rorscharch tests for assessing people’s personalities.

The interviewee is interpreting an X-ray crystallography image that resembles a spider
An example from my cartoon strip published in Chemistry World, the magazine of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Here are more of my chemistry cartoons from Chemistry World magazine.

A cartoon about espionage, spying, subversion, secret police, state repression.

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Praying mantis transgender cartoon

transgender praying mantis

Transgender cartoon – a praying mantis seeking a sex change operation

In the world of the paying mantis, the female mantis eats the male mantis following mating.
The theory is that this means that the female gets a good protein meal that will help the development of the resulting next generation. It all seems unnecessarily excessive to me though.

In the cartoon a male praying mantis is seeking gender realignment surgery or sex change surgery so that he becomes a female and thus avoids death at the hands of his/her mate.
The cartoon is inspired by the high profile of transgender and sexual realignment issues in the current personal identity and lifestyle culture.
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Save the dolphins

dolphins aren't vegetarian cartoon

Cartoon showing a campaigner for protecting dolphins being disappointed to discover that dolphins aren’t vegetarian.

A cartoon about the concept that some animal lovers prefer animals that are thought of as nice, cute, gentle etc (which interestingly extends to pet cats, which I frequently see tormenting and killing wildlife)..

The idea refers to some extent to the ‘natural fallacy’, which states that nature is inherently good.

Original version drawn: 1990

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Why there were no unicorns on Noah’s ark – cartoon

Why there were no unicorns on Noah's ark - cartoon

A cartoon showing Noah’s ark full of consumer goods (cars, shipping containers etc). Noah is telling the two unicorns that are wanting to enter the ark that there is no room for them.

The cartoon about the human race’s impact on wildlife (particularly as a result of our consumption of the earth’s resources, but also as a result of anthropogenic floods).

A cartoon about endangered species, extinction, wildlife in danger.

Original version. drawn: 1990

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Genetically modified pigs will fly.

pigs will fly gmo cartoon

A cartoon showing a genetically modified pig flying.

A cartoon about gmo food and genetics.
The cartoon strip shows people talking about ‘scare stories’ about ‘Frankenstein food’, with the final frame of the strip showing a flying pig.

A cartoon about gmo, genetically modified organisms, pigs will fly.

Original version created: 2008

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anthropomorphic animals cartoon

A joke about anthropomorphic animals

Anthropomorphism is defined as the giving of human characteristics to animals and other non-human entities.

The humour is in the fact that the rhino reading a book is an anthropomorphic animal, and is reading a book about anthropomorphism
Anthropomorphism is the projection of human characteristics onto animals

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Environment cartoons – polar bear and penguins marching to save the ice caps

penguins and polar bear environment cartoons

Environment cartoons – penguins marching to stop global warming

An illustration showing an environmental protest march of penguins and a polar bear

The penguins in this image are inspired by natural history documentaries about penguins that show the penguins marching in line from their nest site to their feeding ground many miles away.
This cartoon is meant to be a motivational and inspirational image, motivating people to get up and do something for the benefit of the environment (specifically in the areas of climate change and global warming).

Original version drawn: 2011

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Superorganisms – a colony of ants forming one giant ant

Ants as a superorganism graphic illustration

Ants in a colony forming one large ant - super organism graphic illustration

A magnified detail of the image above

Graphic or illustration of a superorganism – a colony of individual ants forming one giant ant

Ants are probably the best-known example of superorganisms

A superorganism is an organised colony consisting of many organisms, usually where individual organisms perform specialised functions and where individuals are incapable of survival by themselves.
The illustration could be used as a metaphor for human behaviour or of co-operation or as a literal illustration of the expression “The whole is greater than the sum of the parts”.
Drawn: 1990
Cartoon reference: a630

Prehistoric early bird catches the worm

prehistoric bird cartoon

Cartoon about the saying “The early bird catches the worm”

The joke is that the ‘early bird’ is literally an early bird in evolutionary terms, such as an archaeopteryx.

A cartoon about evolution, prehistoric creatures.

sayings and proverbs

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A butterfly with talons – illustration

butterfly with talons - illustration

A butterfly with hawk talons

An illustration of a butterfly that has talons, turning it into a predator

A surreal digital image of a hybrid butterfly/hawk.
Some of the tension in the image comes from the fact that butterflies are perceived as being benign (which they are, being primarily nectar feeders), while birds of prey are perceived as being powerful and aggressive.
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Marine pollution cartoon – twenty-first century hermit crab

Hermit crab using a tin can as a shell - cartoon

A cartoon about marine pollution
A hermit crab using an old tin can instead of a shell

One of the ideas behind this cartoon is that pollution of the seas and oceans will cause depletion of life such as marine snails, making it necessary for hermit crabs to adapt to using discarded rubbish as protection.
The cartoon could also be interpreted as showing wildlife adapting to a changed ecosystem.
A cartoon about waste recycling, household waste, wildlife in danger.

See an alternative version of this cartoon here.

Cartoon reference number: env094

Professor Brian Cox cartoon – we are stardust

professor brian cox cartoon we are stardust

Professor Brian Cox cartoon
We are made of stardust

A humorous comment about the fact that all of the elements apart from hydrogen and helium were created inside stars – so everything is made of stardust

The joke here is that when the tv astronomer Professor Brian Cox says that everything is made of stardust he really lays it on thick in a way that many people, especially women, find very attractive. So here the woman is actually saying that she finds Brian Cox attractive, and it even affects her attitude to slugs

See my book on the nature of the universe
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Garden cartoons – noisy neighbours cartoon

Gardening cartoon - noisy neighbours cartoon

Noisy neighbours cartoon

Cartoon showing problem neighbours hanging a loudspeaker outdoors in a tree.
A gardener is hanging a bird nesting box in a tree. The loudspeaker looks very similar to the nesting box, which is part of the joke

A humorous observation about neihbors from hell, encouraging birds in the garden, inconsiderate neighbours
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Cartoon – creatures from earth that look like aliens

earth creatures that look like aliens

From my selection of science fiction cartoons
Creatures from earth that look like aliens from another planet

A cartoon showing that life on earth is as weird as extraterrestrial life

This cartoon was drawn many years ago, but is relevant today due to the BBC series Alien Nation, about the bizarre and otherworldly appearance of insects. Fish look pretty weird too don’t you think?

Cartoon reference number: a560

Cartoon about the fact that most living things are symmetrical

Symetrical life forms

Cartoon about the fact that most living things are symmetrical

Most lifeforms are symmetrical about a vertical plane that bisects them
This cartoon draws attention to the fact that we rarely even notice this fact. It does this by inventing a planet inhabited by asymmetrical aliens who find the idea of symmetry bizarre in a “strange but true” or “believe it or not” way

Cartoon reference number: a557

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Cartoon – homeopathy for animals

homeopathy cartoon

Homeopathy cartoon.
Using homeopathy on animals.

The cartoon shows a giraffe being treated with a homeopathic medicine for a bad neck

A cartoon about alternative medicine.
Practitioners of homeopathy and believers in homeopathic remedies often cite the fact that homeopathy seems to work on animals as proof that it works, as animals can’t be influenced by the placebo effect. It’s my opinion that homeopathy seems to work on animals due to a statistical phenomenon known as ‘regression to the mean’, or in other words, they were quite ill and were probably about to get better anyway (or die).
Cartoon reference number: a546
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Lemmings cartoon – the possible consequence of following an authority figure

lemmings cliff follow leader cartoon

Lemmings cartoon – the possible consequence of following an authority figure

A cartoon showing lemmings jumping off a cliff

One of the lemmings is warning against following a leader – “Never trust an authority figure – and definitely don’t follow one.”
This isn’t a cartoon warning about all authority figures, or all forms of following – after all, we need a bit of respect in our society. It’s a cartoon about blind allegiance and where it can take you, especially when the person who is being followed has his head turned by power
Cartoon reference number: a536
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Tufted duck illustration

tufted duck illustration

Tufted duck illustration
Stylised illustration of a tufted duck

An ornithological illustration of a tufted duck (Aythya fuligula)

This design was inspired by the tufted ducks in my local pond in their breeding plumage – specifically the bright yellow eye against the black plumage of the head.
Cartoon reference number: a506

Butterfly friendly insecticide cartoon

butterfly friendly pesticide cartoon

A cartoon about selective pesticide – butterfly and ladybird friendly insecticide

A joke about insecticide that kills only ugly insects

The cartoon has deeper meanings about how we judge things by appearance, by prejudice or by attractiveness.
It’s also about gardening and the aesthetic values that are deployed in the garden (such as in the selection of plants and flowers, not just in the selection of pests). However it’s also about the wider phenomenon of judging everything, including people, by appearance

Cartoon reference number: a472

Animal trap and animal intelligence – cartoon

Clever animal trap cartoon

A hunter trapping animals cartoon

Showing a hunter and a trap or snare set to capture a wild animal.

The trap which is baited with food, and a monkey is approaching it with a hook and line to get the food without setting off the trap.
However, the trap is a sham or decoy trap, and the monkey is trapped in another, real trap

A cartoon about hunting, hunters, trapping, trappers, animal intelligence, intelligent apes, snares, clever animals

Cartoon reference number: a470

Endangered species cartoon – the fur trade

fur coat and fur trade cartoon

An environmental cartoon about the fur trade and fur coats

A cartoon of an affluent fashionable woman buying a fur coat. The shop sign above the coat reads “Rare furs”
The shop assistant is saying “And getting rarer by the day, madam!”

The message of the cartoon is that some people are totally intellectually divorced or disconnected from the environmental and ecological impact of their actions, with economic and other factors such as social status taking precedence over environmental factors.
In this case the woman and the man are only interested in the status of the fur coat as a fashion item and as a status symbol – to the point that they are actually pleased that they are contributing to the endangered species status of the animal that provided the fur for the coat, as the rarer the animal the more valuable the coat becomes – an economic argument (of very dubious merit) rather than an ecological one

Cartoon reference number: a468
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Insecticide cartoon. Polluting the planet with pesticides

 insecticide cartoon

Insecticide cartoon
Polluting the planet with pesticides

A cartoon showing an insect being sprayed with insecticide.
The insect is a beetle with the pattern on its shell being a map of the earth

The cartoon illustrates the concept of the global impact of the use of toxic chemicals such as pesticides, herbicides and insecticides.
It reflects the ideas in such books as Silent Spring by Rachel Carson
An earlier version of this cartoon appeared in my book of environmental cartoons, When Humans Roamed the Earth, published by Earthscan/WWF in 1991

Cartoon reference number: a460

Seal hunters cartoon

seal hunters cartoon

Seal hunters cartoon
Fur trappers

A cartoon showing hunters making a hole in the sea ice in order to trap seals.
Meanwhile, a hole is being cut round the trappers.

A cartoon about the fur trade, trapping, seal hunting
An earlier version of this cartoon appeared in my book of environmental cartoons, When Humans Roamed the Earth, published by Earthscan/WWF in 1991

Cartoon reference number: a459

Roadkill cartoon. Roadside wildlife guidebook cartoon.

Roadside wildlife roadkill cartoon

Roadkill cartoon
Roadside wildlife identification guidebook cartoon.

A cartoon showing a nature guide book for identifying roadside wildlife, in which the images of the wildlife are all squashed by car tyres or are bird strikes

A cartoon about wildlife destruction on roads due to impacts with vehicles.
Animals and birds as victims of vehicle impact
Cartoon reference number: a455
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Save the smallpox virus cartoon – save the whale cartoon

smallpox virus  cartoon

Fish stock depletion cartoon

A cartoon parody on Save the Whale T-shirts and other T-shirts with slogans or messages on them, especially ones with a moral dimension to them
It’s also a comment on our attitudes to different animal species, and about which ones we want to save (usually cute, cuddly, furry ones).

The cartoon draws attention to the concept of ‘poster species’, or animal species that are used for campaigning purposes for environmental issues. (This cartoon isn’t a criticism of this tendency, which is a natural human tendency due to our evolutionary responses to the natural world.)
A cartoon about animal rights, speciesism.

Cartoon reference number: a453

Fish stock depletion cartoon. Over fishing cartoon

world map - fish pond - cartoon

Fish stock depletion cartoon
Over fishing cartoon

Cartoon of a man fishing in a pond, and complaining that there aren’t any fish left to fish.
The pond is in the form of a map of the world

The pond in the cartoon is a metaphor for the oceans of the world.
The concept is that people have in the past (and even today) thought of the earth’s oceans as being almost endless and full of unlimited supplies of fish. While in fact the oceans are relatively small, especially when the rising human population puts so much pressure on the fish stocks
Cartoon reference number: a452
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Big game hunters cartoon – hunting endangered species

 big game hunters hunting butterfly cartoon

Endangered species cartoon

Cartoon of big game hunters shooting a butterfly because other species of animal are going extinct due to human pressure and lack of conservation measures

A humorous illustration about endangered species, conservation, species extinction, extinct species
An previous version of this cartoon was published in my environmental cartoon book, When Humans Roamed the Earth, published by WWF/Earthscan

Cartoon reference number: a451

Save the smallpox virus – cartoon

Save the smallpox virus - cartoon

Save the smallpox virus – cartoon

A parody on “Save the Whale” T-shirts and other T-shirts with slogans or messages on them
It’s also a cartoon about our attitudes to different species of animal, and which ones we feel moved to want to save (usually cute, cuddly, furry ones).

It’s also about animal rights, and where they should stop.

First version drawn: 1991

Cartoon reference number: a446

Noah’s ark cartoon – why there are no unicorns

Why there are no unicorns - Noah ark cartoon

Noah’s ark with unicorns cartoon

Why the unicorns didn’t get into Noah’s ark

A comic illustration showing animals going into Noah’s ark, with men dressing up as pantomime horses in order to be stowaways on the ark, after having tied up the unicorns
The image is about mythological creatures, species extinction, extinct animals, endangered species.
Original version drawn: 2001
Cartoon reference number: un444

Endangered species cartoon – mammoth extinction

Why the mammoth died out  cartoon

Extinction cartoon – the mammoth
Endangered species cartoon

An environmental cartoon about conservation and how animal species become extinct due to human exploitation and pressure

In the image a mammoth’s foot has been turned into a wastepaper bin in an office used by a caveman, in a similar way that elephant’s feet were turned into furniture before the implications of such practices were appreciated

Part of the joke here is the anachronism of having a prehistoric caveman sitting at an office desk.

Drawn: 1991

Cartoon reference number: a442

Tree of life cartoon – man shooting wildlife in the tree of life

tree of life cartoon - shooting

Man shooting animals and birds in the tree of life – cartoon

An illustration showing the tree of life, with a man standing on an uppermost branch killing all of the wildlife in the tree.
The bones of the creatures are scattered under the tree

This drawing was created with dip pen and ink on paper and then scanned into the computer. Colour washes and other modifications were added digitallly

Drawn: 1991

Cartoon reference number: a439

Dodo cartoon – live dodos discovered on Mauritius!

dodos not extinct - cartoon

Dodo extinction cartoon

Tourists discovering a live dodo on the island of Mauritius.
The dodo is asking the tourists not to reveal that they’ve found it, as it doesn’t want to be pestered by hoards of natural history film units making natural history documentaries

A cartoon about endangered species, dodos, extinction, natural world television programs

Cartoon reference number: a438