A cartoon about abuse and misconduct perpetrated by police officers.
There have been several high profile cases of police misconduct by police officers in the last few years. The most recent is the case of David Carrick, who worked for the Metropolitan Police in London, who has been charged with 49 charges of sexual abuse, including rape.
Abusive police officers can use their position of authority to manipulate victims and to evade suspicion.
The cartoon is specifically about the group culture that can exist between police officers which allows their behaviour to go unscrutinised or even endorsed by a form of barrack-room mentality.
Drawn: January 2023
Cartoon reference number: a938
Placebo effect cartoon
A cartoon about the placebo effect.
The placebo effect is the phenomenon of people reacting to a placebo in the same way that they would if the placebo was an active drug.
Cartoon reference number: a925
Metaworld – the first use of the term?
The talk about the invention of the Metaverse in 2021 reminded me that in about 1985 I developed a graphic novel with the title Metaworld.
I didn’t finish the project, although the plot did reach a second draft and several dozen of the pages were drawn to a reasonable level. They are all hidden away in the attic, and at the moment all I can find is this sketch of one of the pages, featuring one of the inhabitants of Metaworld.
This may be a very early use of the term ‘Meta’ to describe a world (Metaworld) or a universe (Metaverse). When I thought it up computer technology as we know it was in its infancy. I think I was using one of the first Macs at the time. The pages of Metaworld were drawn with pencil and paper.
Drawn: about 1985
A common stereotype of scientists.
A cartoon showing scientists as they are often depicted in the popular media, as slightly mad, eccentric ‘boffins’.
Cartoon reference number: a922
Covid-19 cartoon – the lack of toilet facilities at tourist destinations.
As the coronavirus lockdown is loosened (in May 2020) people visit tourist destinations and beauty spots in large numbers, pleased that at last they can go out, but when they reach their destination they discover that the public toilets are closed.
Original version drawn: May 2020
This version: August 2020
Cartoon reference number: a800b
A cartoon about unsustainable biofuel use.
The cartoon shows a car driving through a huge biofuel plantation. The driver of the car is saying that the plantation is so large that the nearest filling station is an hour away at the other side.
How much land is needed to grow biofuels?
A cartoon about unsustainable energy, environmental impact, biodiesel, unsustainable and sustainable land use, energy consumption, transport, petrol, oil and gas substitutes.
Cartoon reference number: env053c
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.
Cartoon reference number: a738
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
Cartoon reference number: a732
Adult colouring book cartoon – the Henry Ford Colouring Book.
Drawn when there was a craze for adult colouring books in the mid 2010s.
A cartoon showing an adult colouring book called The Henry Ford Colouring Book.
There is a set of crayons or coloured pencils with the book. All of the colours are black.
A cartoon about the publishing phenomenon of colouring books aimed at the adult market.
Cartoon drawn: 2015
Cartoon reference number: a707
A cartoon inspired by the campaigns to remove statues of slave traders and imperialists from the public sphere (in 2015).
This cartoon is about the tendency for social grievances around issues such as race and gender to be directed towards people of higher privilege, so in western society almost all grievances are ultimately directed towards white men. Specifically middle-aged or old white men, as young people often have grievances directed towards older people (middle-aged men tend to be commoner targets than older men as they are often in higher positions of power or authority).
The cartoon was drawn in 2015, five years before the toppling of the statue of Edward Colston in Bristol in 2020. I expect the campaigns and protests to remove statues of other controversial figures such as Cecil Rhodes at Oriel College, Oxford University (Rhodes Must Fall) will now be given new momentum.
Cartoon reference number: a805
Flooding caused by climate change
Original drawn in 1991.
This cartoon was inspired by “once every hundred years” floods that occurred in Cumbria in the UK twice in six years.
It refers to the saying “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it”.
A cartoon about floods, flooding, extreme weather events, climate change, global worming, the environment.
Original version created: 1991
Cartoon reference number: env076c
A cartoon dealing with the issue of the repatriation of cultural artefacts
The cartoon shows the issue of the repatriation of cultural artefacts from museum collections as one about cultural identity and grievance.
The inspiration behind the cartoon was the debate about the return of the Elgin Marbles or Parthenon Marbles from the British Museum to Greece – a debate that has sometimes been used by greek politicians to bolster Greek national identity (and their own careers?).
The 2020s have seen an increase demands for artifacts to be returned to their countries of origin, due to the rise in identity politics and anticolonialism.
The cartoon also looks at grievance culture – the issue of identity generated through a sense of grievance.
A cartoon about ethnology, ethnography, enthographic or enthnological museum collections.
Cartoon drawn: 2015
Cartoon reference number: a676
Cartoon about the discovery of Neanderthal abstract art in cave
An abstract design created by Neanderthal man has been discovered in a cave in Gibraltar
The art, in the form of stone engraving, is estimated to be about 40,000 years old.
Drawn: Feb 2018
Cartoon reference number: a917
Welcome to my selection of cartoons about philosophy
To see my philosophy cartoons please click the image on the right, or the link below
Welcome to my selection of cartoons about the environment
To see my environment cartoons please click the image or click here
Magical Mystery Tour
This cartoon conflates Magical Mystery Tour and Yellow Submarine, as the Beatles characters here are based on the Beatles characters from the animated film Yellow Submarine created by Heinz Edelmann
In the cartoon the coach from the Magical Mystery Tour has come to a stop at the top of a rainbow, which is a reference to the hippy psychedelic drug culture that was prevalent at the time of the two films. The Beatles are standing on the rainbow, with one of them asking “What did you put into the sat-nav John?”. Part of the joke in the cartoon is that sat-navs (GPDs) didn’t exist at the time. There’s also a double meaning it the phrase “What did you put into the…” as this can refer to putting hallucinogenic, pychotropic drugs such as LSD or other mind-altering drugs into such things as drinks, cakes etc.
Cartoon reference number: a391
English language cartoon – not speaking proper English
A cartoon about the way that the words ‘was like’ have replaced the word ‘said’ or ‘thought’.
A cartoon about linguistics, modern English, young people’s language, standard English, non-standard language, Queen’s English.
The use of the phrase “I was like” instead of “I said” or “I thought”
Cartoon drawn: 2012
Cartoon reference number: a373
The invention of the question mark cartoon
A cartoon about punctuation, showing medieval monks or scribes writing manuscripts. One monk is saying to the other monk “I’ve just invented the question mark”. The second monk is answering “Why” (without a question mark, because up til then question marks didn’t exist).
Cartoon drawn: 2012
Cartoon reference number: a367
Illustration of a person wearing a snail shell as a hat
This picture doesn’t mean anything specific. I just made it up. Having said that, it obviously has hidden unconscious meaning.
This hat may be a fashion item or a helmet.
It may imply that the wearer is a slow thinker, with a snail brain. Slow thinking isn’t necessarily a bad thing by the way – it might mean considered thinking rather than rash impulsive thinking. Maybe you were being rash to jump to the conclusion that slow thinking might be bad!
An illustration about thinking, unusual headgear, molluscs.
Cartoon reference number: a361
Desert mirage cartoon – an hour glass pouring sand into the desert, creating the desert
Cartoon of a man crawling through a desert, seeing a mirage
There may be a meaning to this cartoon related to global warming. Perhaps the hourglass, which is an illusion, represents the concept of climate change denial (where man made climate change is said to be an illusion). However, despite the fact that man made climate change is said to be an illusion the deserts are still getting bigger (and the polar caps smaller).
Cartoon reference number: a360
Cave men cartoon – the invention of cooking
A joke about stone age or prehistoric man and celebrity chefs
A cartoon about celebrity culture
Cartoon reference number: a359
A cartoon about press regulation or media corruption.
And possibly about government and business interference with the media.
The headline on the newspaper reads “Who reports on the reporters?”
Should the press be self regulating or should they be controlled? And by whom?
In a police state, press control would be a bad thing – but what about in a democracy?
The cartoon may be used to illustrate the Lord Justice Leveson inquiry into the press which is investigating media activity (especially linked to phone hacking).
The cartoon shows a person looking out through a panel in a newspaper. The meaning is meant to be slightly ambiguous. Is he on the inside or the outside of the press? He looks a bit like a spy. Is that a good thing or a bad thing?
Are the regulators good or bad? It depends on the country or regime under which they operate.
Cartoon reference number: a351
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
Cartoon: press manipulation of news
A cartoon showing the popular tabloid press overshadowing and obscuring serious news stories and reporting.
The public cannot see the important news stories because they are hidden behind the trivia of the pop press.
This cartoon isn’t so much a criticism of the popular tabloid press as an observation of how things are. I usually find myself reading the ‘human interest’ stories in newspapers when I think that I really ought to be reading more weighty articles. It’s what we find interesting.
Cartoon reference number: a345
Optical illusion cartoon. Do you see a young woman or an old hag?
This illustration is an updated version of the classic optical illusion or ambiguous image of an old hag or a young woman
The drawing is an example of ambiguous visual information that can flip from one interpretation to another.
My own feeling is that it’s normal to see the image as being of a beautiful young woman first. The old hag is only seen after a bit of searching. There are several possible reasons for this. One is that people (especially men?) have a tendency to notice beautiful young women more than ugly old hags. Another is that the image of the old hag is more exaggerated and less naturalistic than that of the young woman.
I’ve tried to make the old hag more easily distinguishable by giving the two people in the image mirrors so that you can tell which direction they are facing.
Cartoon reference number: a320
Shard cartoon. Modern architecture cartoon
This cartoon was drawn at the time of the building of the Shard (architect- Renzo Piano) in London
Cartoon showing architects in their office looking out at a cityscape that includes modern architecture and modern buildings.
One of the modern buildings looks like a salt cellar.
The architects realise that the builders have taken their salt cellar by mistake, instead of the architectural model.
A cartoon about the trend in modern architecture for oddly shaped buildings. Such unconventionally shaped buildings include the ‘Gherkin‘ and the Shard of Glass. Not to mention Anish Kapoor’s Orbit tower and City Hall.
Soon cities like London will end up looking as though they are full of modernist architecture in the form of giant kitchen utensils (the cheese grater) and cruet sets or condiment sets (salt cellars and pepper pots).
Cartoon reference number: a309
Soldier firing a water pistol ‘street art’ illustration
This cartoon has a number of meanings.
One is that the games that children play are more serious than some people would like to think. Play is a preparation for adulthood, so playing with toy guns is in some ways an actual preparation for using real guns in adult life.
The soldier is using a toy water gun to highlight the link between childhood play and adult aggression.
The illustration is definitely not a simple interpretation of the feminist phrase toys for the boys – an expression that I take strong exception to as it misinterprets the nature of play and attempts to trivialise and infantilise the male personality.
While I was drawing this picture it occurred to me that it had something of a piece of Banksy artwork to it, in both its subject matter and its style, so I checked that I wasn’t just unconsciously copying a piece of Banksy graffiti, and as far as I can tell there is no equivalent Banksy picture. By the way, I’ve drawn in this style and on this type of subject for more years than I wish to remember, so there’s no question of Banksy plagiarism involved here!
A cartoon about the nature of play, toy guns, warfare, male aggression, toy weapons, water cannon, male psyche, psychology of warfare, the military mind.
Cartoon reference number: a305