British Cartoon Archive


Ian Knox was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on 4 May 1943. After attending the Royal Belfast Academical Institution from 1954 to 1962, he studied at the School of Architecture at Edinburgh College of Art from 1963 to 1967, and then in the Department of Architecture at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, from 1967 to 1968. After a period working as an architect he began to draw cartoons, and from 1970 to 1975 was a cartoon film animator for Halas & Batchelor (London), Potterton Productions (Montreal), and Kotopoulis Productions (Toronto).

Knox then became political cartoonist on Red Weekly and Socialist Challenge, and from 1975 to 1980 he also contributed to various IPC children's comics. From 1977 to 1984 he signed his drawings "Blotski" - a name devised by Cormac, cartoonist on the Republican News, as a cross between Trotsky and an ink blot. Knox and Cormac also worked together as "Kormski" - notably on the political anti-clerical strip "Dog Collars", which they drew for Fortnight magazine in the 1980s.

In 1989 Ian Knox joined the nationalist Belfast Irish News as editorial/political cartoonist. In 1996 he was attacked as perverted for drawing Gerry Adams on a couch with Bill Clinton. "Republicans could not accept to see their revered leader in this way," Knox said. "I think it was because I tried to draw Gerry Adams as a woman. But without the beard he didn't look like Adams. So I put on the beard and I suppose that made it look sleazy."

Since 1996 Knox has regularly contributed the "As I See It" feature to BBC2 TV's Hearts and Minds programme, broadcast in Northern Ireland. From 1997 to 1998 Knox was also the first ever political cartoonist on Ireland on Sunday. He cites his influences as being Ronald Searle, Low, John Glashan, Vicky, Steve Bell, Oliphant and Charles Addams.

  • "Who's Calling the Toon?", Guardian Features, 4 January 1996.
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