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Knife & Packer

As a child

Both Knife and Packer spent most of their childhood’s in London – but on different sides of the river. Knife in South London and Packer in North London. Although they wouldn’t meet for another 20 years they were already heading in the same direction. Knife loved to draw, taking inspiration from Ronald Searle, The Dandy and Beano. Meanwhile in North London Packer loved to read, enjoying everything from Dr Brainstorm to Willard Price and Asterix to Tintin. So even though they hadn’t met they were already laying the ground work for their partnership writing and illustrating books together. In their spare time Knife was happiest playing with his toy soldiers, whilst Packer would head down to the Regents Canal with a pint of maggots and even catch the odd fish!

As an adult

Knife was working in an antique bookshop, doing cartoons in his spare time and Packer was writing comedy when they first met in 1993. They shared the same sense of humour and soon started working together. At first they did cartoons and cartoon strips for newspapers and magazines including the Guardian and The Sunday Times. In fact they still do and can be seen in Private Eye every week. But Knife and Packer loved developing crazy characters, and children’s books were the perfect place to put them. Knife and Packer still live in London, at different ends of the borough of Hackney.

As an artist

Knife and Packer’s first book was all about teachers, Teachers The Naked Truth, was published in 2001. Since then they have written and illustrated over 20 books, including four Fleabag Monkeyface books. Working as a team is quite unusual as authors and illustrators mostly work separately, with the illustrator brought in when the book is written to provide pictures. Knife and Packer develop all the characters, stories and designs together. Knife works in a studio the size of a broom cupboard and Packer has a tiny laptop and can be found in libraries, cafes, in fact anywhere where he can get a bit of space. They meet up every couple of days, but mostly email ideas and sketches backwards and forwards. They love meeting their readers and have done hundreds of events in schools, libraries, bookshops and festivals. They also enjoy seeing their books in foreign languages and their books have been translated into lots of languages including Thai, Chinese, Portuguese and Korean.

Things you didn't know about Knife and Packer

  1. Knife and Packer’s favourite food is curry – the HOTTER the BETTER!
  2. If they didn’t work as authors, they would like to be SECRET AGENTS!
  3. Knife likes jazz and Packer likes pop music.
  4. The biggest audience they have ever had at an event was 375 children. Packer lost his voice and Knife almost broke his wrist signing all those books.
  5. The funniest question they have ever been asked at an event was "are you two brothers?".
  6. The hardest thing they find to draw are bicycles.
  7. The most fun characters to draw are villains – the nastier (and sillier) the better!
  8. The grossest thing that ever happened to Knife was … picking up an earwig instead of a pencil and scratching his head with it...
  9. The grossest thing that ever happened to Packer was finding a maggot in his breakfast cereal.
  10. They wish Fleabag Monkeyface lived at the end of their garden. It might be a bit smelly, but life would never be boring!

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