Facts of life cartoon: babies grow like 3D printing
This cartoon, of a pregnant mother explaining the facts of life to her young child, illustrates the use of metaphors for contemporary technological processes. The idea is that young children are more likely to understand modern metaphors than older ones.
A cartoon about the facts of life, where babies come from, the birds and the bees, 3D printing technology.
Cartoon about child psychology and child development.
An image illustrating aggressive tendencies within people. Nature or nurture?
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
A cartoon about child development and shopping.
This joke was inspired by seeing children’s toys such as brightly coloured radios with words printed on them such as “My First Radio”
A humorous idea about nature or nurture, social attitudes, capitalism and social conditioning.
The expression “Born to shop” comes to mind
Cartoon reference number: a473
A cartoon about the traditional children’s game, conkers, conkers, as a computer game
The cartoon is about the way that traditional children’s games are being usurped by computer games and other forms of digital entertainment
Conkers is played with the seed of the horse chestnut tree on the end of a piece of string. Competing children take turns to hit each other’s conker until one of them is broken and falls off the string it’s threaded onto.
Cartoon reference number: a399
Dalek hiding behind sofa while watching Dr Who, the British science fiction series, on television
Hiding behind the sofa while watching Dr Who on tv.
There is a cliche that children used to hide behind the sofa or settee when the daleks were on Dr Who.
In this cartoon the roles are reversed, and it’s a young dalek that is hiding behind the sofa when Dr Who is on the television.
Cartoon reference number: a372
Cartoon showing how to stop a baby crying – give it the phone
A comment on the hypnotic fascination with phones of young people.
The cartoon is also about the way that children are socialised into dependence on technology and gadgets.
The baby is ignoring the soft toys that are dangling in the baby buggy and is focussing completely on a cell phone (mobile phone).
Cartoon reference number: a357
Illustration: origami horse leaping out of a book
A young girl riding on the back of an origami horse
The origami horse in this illustration represents the horses depicted in children’s fiction aimed at young girls. The horse is made out of folded paper that represents the pages of children’s fiction.
The way that the child is riding off on the horse (almost flying) represents the flights of fancy and fantasy created by fiction and literature, and the sense of adventure and escapism.
Cartoon reference number: a347
Environment cartoon about carbon footprints
The cartoon is based on the nursery rhyme that goes:
“There was an old woman who lived in a shoe,
She had so many children she didn’t know what to do”
The idea partly about the impact of population growth on climate change and global warming – the larger a family, the greater its carbon footprint.
The cartoon is also about eco-housing, ecological buildings, environmentally sound architecture.
Cartoon reference number: a323
Gardening cartoon – children’s toy in garden
Cartoon showing a gardener finding a small spaceship in his garden
He is wondering whether it’s a real spaceship or a children’s toy spaceship from next door
The gardener is saying “Either the vegetable patch is being colonised by tiny aliens or next door’s kids have lost one of their toys.”
Part of the humour of this cartoon is that the gardener thinks that it may be a real alien spacecraft first and a children’s toy second.
A cartoon about children losing toys in gardens, alternative explanations for phenomena, neighbours, next door neighbours’ balls in garden.
Cartoon reference number: a277
Cartoon of a gardener and his son it the garden.
The child is blowing dandelion seeds from a dandelion clock
The gardener is encouraging his son to go and blow the seeds over his neighbour’s garden instead of his garden
This is a cartoon about garden weeds, controlling weeds,seed propagation, wind-borne seed, childhood games.
Cartoon reference number: a261
Children’s television programme Blue Peter is to be dropped from BBC1 – cartoon
Cartoon showing the Blue Peter badge with the ship sinking (because the children’s tv programme is going to be dropped from BBC1 – the main BBC tv channel – and will only appear on CBBC, the BBC children’s programme channel
The cartoon shows the famous Blue Peter badge with the sailing ship on the badge sinking.
This illustrates the fact that Blue Peter has been axed from BBC1 and it’s also a play on the idea that the audience for Blue Peter is sinking
A cartoon about the changing viewing habits of children, tv programming strategies, television programme scheduling.
Cartoon reference number: a235
Gardening and gardens cartoon. The only way to get children to go outside into the garden is to put a television there
A joke about the problem of getting children away from the television and their computers.
The horror of the idea of ‘outdoor television’ – especially for kids
A comic illustration about child development, children’s games and activities, children won’t play outside anymore, physical exercise for children.
Cartoon reference number: a229
Gardening humour about prize-winning flowers
Cartoon shows prize winning blooms being picked by a child as a present for her mother
A humorous illustration about gardening competitions, flower shows, plant breeding, daffodils, children in gardens and prize winning blooms.
Cartoon reference number: a216
Water play joke
A man in his garden watering plants with a hose pipe (or with a watering can).
His wife is commenting to a friend that it’s important for him to have at least 20 minutes of water play per day. The joke in the cartoon is that water play is normally associated with children and child development, and not with adults, although adults benefit from such activity too.
A cartoon about play, child development, leisure activities, watering gardens, irrigation, hobbies, male shed culture.
Drawn: July 2003
Cartoon reference number: a189
A sundial with young children who are too young to tell the time
The reason why the children can’t tell the time is because they are too short to see the top of the sundial
A sundial in a garden as a decorative feature.
A cartoon about child development, learning to tell the time, clocks.
Drawn: Aug 2009
Cartoon reference number: a187
A cartoon about slugs
A humorous illustration about how children learn about the world around them
Children in a garden discovering that slugs don’t have bones.
This is a slightly macabre and unsettling cartoon illustrating the way that kids come across information and facts about the world through play, outdoor activities and general curiosity. Some of these activities are in decline now due to the amount of time children spend in front of their computers.
Drawn: May 2004
Cartoon reference number: a183
Cartoon – why children no longer ask “Can we have our ball back please?”
Children no longer play physical outdoor games, preferring to play computer games and to use mobile phones and other electronic devices.
A cartoon about child development, play, outdoor activities, exercise, passive entertainment.
Drawn: Nov 2003
Cartoon reference number: a164
Fruit Gardening Cartoon – children are no longer interested in scrumping (stealing apples)
Cartoon showing children walking under an apple tree laden with apples, and not being interested in picking any of them because they are too engrossed in modern technological devices such as cell phones or other hand held electronic devices.
Cartoon reference number: a161
Cartoon about children’s art and children’s artistic development
Cartoon showing small children in a nursery class practicing drawing and painting (or colouring-in).
The teacher is helping the children to learn how to draw and paint.
The teacher is saying to a child:
“That’s a lovely drawing, Sophie. Now let’s do another one with Mummy’s head like a great big balloon.”
The cartoon is about child development and children’s artistic development. It is also about adults’ expectations of what children should achieve and about educational methods and standards.
The child in the cartoon is obviously very talented, drawing a very sophisticated likeness of a person (her mother), however the teacher is being very prescriptive in her teaching methods and is encouraging the child to conform to the lower expectations of the standard that children of her age normally attain – in other words drawing a stick person with a big round head.
Cartoon reference number: a155
Existentialist philosophy cartoon: a child’s introduction to existentialism
A philosophy cartoon showing a child reading a book titled “My First Book of Existentialism”.
The philosophical theory of existentialism is usually associated with Jean Paul Sartre.
The humour in the illustration is that an elementary book at the level illustrated in the cartoon is far too basic to explain the theory underlying existentialism (or any other philosophical theory for that matter).
The cartoon also hints at the possibility that some philosophical concepts are more basic than is sometimes thought – and that some philosophies are probably flawed due to fundamental errors due to the limitations of the human brain to grasp concepts.
A cartoon about philosophy, existentialism, existentialist philosophy, philosophical theory.
Cartoon reference number: a131
See my book about life, the universe and everything.
Birdwatching cartoon – and English usage cartoon
Birdwatching cartoon. Misuse of English cartoon.
A cartoon showing a father and son birdwatching. The father is correcting his son’s use of English – on seeing a lesser spotted woodpecker the son has mistakenly called it a fewer spotted woodpecker.
This isn’t just a cartoon about birdwatchers. It’s also a cartoon about linguistics and specifically English usage or misuse.
The mixing up of the words fewer and less is a common error.
Getting annoyed or irritated by the misuse of English, especially at the less/fewer level, is commonly seen as a sign of grumpy middle age.
The cartoon’s idea came to mind because of the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) Big Garden Birdwatch, an annual event in which people are encouraged to count the different garden birds that visit their gardens.
Cartoon reference number: a104
Cartoon showing an ambitious mother reading a book about how to raise the perfect child
Child development cartoon. An ambitious mother reading a book on child rearing called ‘How to Bring up the Perfect Child‘. The mother is saying to her child ‘Not now dear, I’m busy.’
A cartoon about child rearing, parenting skills, hothousing, developmental psychology, education, educational psychology, yummy mummy, yummy mummies, misdirected ambition, bad parenting.
Cartoon reference number: a085
Cartoon showing an eager child reading a book titled ‘The Bumper Book of Wonder’. Near the child is a book that will be read in the future, called ‘My First Book of Disillusionment’
Child development cartoon showing an eager child reading a book titled ‘The Bumper Book of Wonder’. Near the child is a book he will read in the future, called ‘My First Book of Disillusionment’
A cartoon about growing up and loss of innocence, acquisition of knowledge, epistomology, epistemology.
Cartoon reference number: a084
Child development cartoon – a small child looking at a picture of a dinosaur, and an older child looking at a photo of a naked young woman.
Child development cartoon. Cartoon showing how children’s interests change as they get older, especially as they enter puberty and adolescence.
The younger boy in the cartoon is looking at a picture of a dinosaur (as almost all young boys are interested in dinosaurs). The older (adolescent) boy is looking at a photograph of a naked young woman, and is dismissively looking down on the ‘childish’ interest in dinosaurs exhibited by the younger child. The older child is acting ‘grown up’.
A cartoon about child development, adolescence, puberty, emerging sexuality, childhood innocence, testosterone, hormones kicking in.
Cartoon reference number: a081
Cartoon: a hat that looks like an animal head and a hat that looks like a human head.
Cartoon showing a person wearing a hat that looks like an animal head and an animal wearing a hat that looks like a human head.
A cartoon about fashion, hats, head gear, head wear, anthropomorphism, cuddly animals.
Cartoon reference number: a073
Cartoon – the difficulty for older people to understand modern technology.
A woman having trouble programming a modern digital television tuner (or similar electronic device).
TYounger people adapt to using modern technology naturally (as they know nothing else).
The joke here is that the child who understands the new technology is a baby (who understands very little indeed in general).
A cartoon about child development, generational differences, generation gap, early learning, knowledge acquisition, technological illiteracy.
Cartoon reference number: a058
Naughty step cartoon. A cartoon about parenting and parenting skills.
Child psychology cartoon.
The naughty step is a child discipline technique of the ‘Supernanny’ school of child development.
The joke in this cartoon is that the technique has been applied by the mother to her husband as well as to her child.
A cartoon about child development, discipline, hen-pecked husbands, domineering wife.
Cartoon reference number: a057
Dalek cartoon. Girl dalek who wants to grow up to be a ballerina.
A cartoon showing a mother dalek and a little girl dalek.
The little girl dalek wants to be a ballerina when she grows up, but her mother is trying to explain to her that daleks can’t become ballet dancers.
A cartoon about ambition, dreams, delusion, parenting skills, gender stereotypes (the pink of the girl dalek, and the fact that she wants to be a ballerina), careers advice.
The little girl dalek is ‘dressed’ in pink. Pink is the predominant fashion colour for young girls at the moment (2011) – it’s as though feminism never happened.
Daleks, by the way, are evil aliens in the popular BBC tv series, Dr Who.
You never see dalek children in the tv programme for some reason.
Cartoon reference number: a025
Penguin cartoons. Penguin with rebellious teenage son who is a typical stroppy youth.
A cartoon showing adult penguins and an adolescent or teenage penguin. The teenager is going through a typical teenage rebel phase. A cartoon about stroppy youths. .
Original version drawn: 2001
Cartoon reference number: a014
A cartoon showing a child on a swing using a hand held device such as a phone or electronic game.
A cartoon about the allure of the electronic.
Cartoon showing a father pushing his child on a swing. The child is engrossed in a hand held device (perhaps a phone or an electronic gaming device).
A cartoon about childhood, attention, play, bonding, parenting, physical play versus electronic play.
Cartoon reference number: a007
A cartoon about 3D technology. Although 3D technology is often thought of as a modern innovation it has been experimented with in cinema almost since the dawn of the medium. Similarly, 3D images have been available in books for many years, as shown here.
Currently fashionable in cinemas, 3D technology has been around for many years, as shown in this example of a children’s pop-up book
A cartoon associated with three dimensional images, holograms, virtual reality.
Cartoon reference number: a001
Cartoon – health and safety gone mad
Health and safety guidelines
A cartoon showing an officious inspector making a judgement on a health and safety issue. A child wrapped in cottonwool to protect it from danger – but the cottonwool itself is judged to contravene health and safety guidelines because it is a choke hazard
A cartoon about the over-zealous implementation of petty rules concerning health and safety regulations
Pied Piper of Hamelin cartoon
Childhood obesity cartoon
Cartoon showing the Pied Piper leading children to a cave. However, the children are all too obese to keep up with him, except for one fit child.
In the usual pied piper fairy tale the piper lures all of the children away, with only one child, who was a cripple, surviving because he couldn’t keep up. This cartoon turns the story on its head, with all of the children being too ufit and over-weight to keep up. The only child who can keep up is the one fit and healthy child from the town
A cartoon about Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales, health, diet
Child care cartoons
Grandparent childminding cartoon
Zimmer frame cartoon
A grandmother looking after a baby while the parents pursue other activities.
The grandmother is using a walking frame that also acts as a baby carrier.
A cartoon commenting on the way that in the early twenty-first century young professional couples are very reliant on childminding duties carried out by grandparents.
The fact that in the cartoon the parents are pursuing leisure activities implies that these particular parents are taking the grandparents for granted. This is meant to illustrate the ‘have it all’ self-fulfilment ethos of the age.
A cartoon about grandparents, extended families, family, old age, generations.
Cartoon reference number: zim710
Wind turbine cartoon
A Wendy house fitted with a child’s windmill as a wind turbine to supply electricity and to convert the house to an eco-house
A cartoon about sustainability, electricity generation, power generation, alternative energy, sustainable development, fuel supply, environment friendly power, eco-friendly design, environmental architecture
A child who is not interested in learning anything
Cartoon showing a boy who has no sense of wonder or curiosity about the world, and who isn’t interested in learning anything about how the world works.
The cartoon shows someone trying to impart knowledge to him about how the moon orbits the earth.
The cartoon was drawn in the 1990s, but is relevant in the 2020s due to the rise of ‘post truth’ attitudes where knowledge is not valued.
A cartoon about intellectual apathy, ignorance, dumbing down, under achievement, illiteracy, low attainment, knowledge, teaching, inspiring teachers, scientific literacy.
Cartoon reference number: uni001
Cartoon – children building a snowman
Children discover how to build a giant snowman
A cartoon suitable for a Christmas card or similar use
Cartoon featuring a person with a padlock as a head, jumping in the air and saying “Unlock your imagination!”
An illustration about creativity
An image for use in art education, classes or presentations on creativity
The illustration is about freeing the imagination or liberating the mind to be creative, or on unleashing creativity. It is an image to convey the link between creativity and thought processes.
The cartoon has uses as an illustration in art education or in areas of philosophy or psychology
Click here for a more bizarre and surreal version of the same idea