Mark Knight

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Mark Knight (born c. 1960s) is an Australian cartoonist. He is currently the editorial cartoonist for the Herald Sun, a daily tabloid newspaper in Melbourne. Knight was also the last editorial cartoonist for one of the Herald Sun's joint predecessor newspapers, the afternoon broadsheet The Herald.[1][2]


Knight was born and raised in Sydney. He grew up in Lakemba, attended Wiley Park Primary School and then Narwee Boys' High School. He showed an early interest in drawing which was encouraged by his artistic father. Knight's first cartoons were of his family and their idiosyncrasies, drawn at family gatherings.[3] When he was six years old, Knight's father bought him Paul Rigby's cartoon annual of 1967; Rigby's work influence his artwork for many years.[4] He created scrapbooks of Rigby's cartoons cut from The Daily Telegraph, and studied and imitated them while developing his cartooning style.[5]

Knight started a cadetship in 1980 in the Fairfax art department, filling in the black squares in the crossword grids. He went to East Sydney Technical College and studied life drawing, painting, drawing and etching.[6]


Knight's 2018 cartoon of Serena Williams, which was internationally criticised as racist

Knight worked as an editorial cartoonist for The Herald, and later for the Herald Sun after The Herald and The Sun were united in 1990.

In 1999 Knight, alongside Bill Leak and other male political cartoonists, were criticised by the Labor Party's deputy leader, Jenny Macklin, who argued that cartoons such as those by Knight and Leak showing Meg Lees in sexual relations with John Howard were demeaning to women politicians.[7]

Knight created the children's character "Leuk the Duck" (derived from leukemia), a mascot for the Challenge cancer foundation which has subsequently been used in the organisation's educational material.[8]

Knight is also well-known for his Australian rules football imagery. After cartoonist William Ellis Green ("WEG") died in 2008, Knight took over his role as the Herald Sun's creator of Australian Football League (AFL) premiership posters and, because of this, has made media appearances on AFL shows, including designing alternate posters. For example, in 2017 on The Front Bar ahead of that year's grand final between Richmond and Adelaide, he unveiled a poster showing co-host and Richmond fan Mick Molloy wearing a Tiger onesie.[9]

In September 2018, a cartoon by Knight depicting tennis player Serena Williams having a tantrum during the 2018 US Open was criticised as racist by international media and commentators, who noted the resemblance between Williams' facial features in the cartoon and American racist caricatures of the 19th and 20th century.[10][11] Knight and the Herald Sun defended the caricature as depicting Williams' behaviour and having nothing to do with race,[12] and Knight said he knew nothing of the Jim Crow period or drawings.[13] A day later, the Herald Sun reprinted the caricature depicting Williams on the front page with the headline "Welcome to PC World".[14]


Knight won a Gold Quill Award from the Melbourne Press Club in 2005 for the best cartoon of the year.[15] In 2001 he also picked up a Quill Award for Best Cartoon from the MPC.[16]

He was also named The Age Cartoonist of the Year at the 22nd annual Stan Cross Awards ceremony hosted by Rod Quantock in Ballarat, Victoria on 4 November 2007.[17] His other accolades include awards in the categories Single Gag (2003) and Editorial (1995, 2006).[18]

In 2004, Knight was also presented with a Walkley Award for his cartoon named "Benefits Of A Bedtime Story".[19]

In 2003, he received an award as part of the Australian Comedy Awards in the visual category for Outstanding Cartoonist[20] as well as another Walkley Award.[6]


  1. ^ "Political Cartoonist". ABC. 2004-10-06. Retrieved 2007-09-18.
  2. ^ "Talking Pictures with Mike Bowers". ABC. 17 June 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-18.
  3. ^ Knight, Mark (2005). The Mark Knight Collection. Gspbooks, 6, 7. ISBN 0-9757287-7-6.
  4. ^ "15,000 cartoons later, Paul Rigby finally hands in his pen and ink". The Australian. 20 November 2006. Retrieved 2007-09-18.
  5. ^ "Inkspot Newsletter" (PDF). Australian Cartoonists' Association. 2005-12-20. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 August 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-18.
  6. ^ a b "Cartoonist of the Year" (PDF). Lindsay Foyle, Australian Cartoonists' Association. 2005-12-20. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 August 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-18.
  7. ^ Robert Phiddian, Haydon R. Manning Comic Commentators: Contemporary Political Cartooning in Australia - 2008 - Page 125 "In June 1999, the Labor Party's deputy leader, Jenny Macklin, argued that cartoons such as the following two of Meg Lees ... Pauline Hanson's One Nation.2 The following cartoons by Mark Knight and Bill Leak are indicative of what so annoys ...
  8. ^ "Challenge Facts". Foodservice Industry Association. 2005. Archived from the original on 29 August 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-18.
  9. ^ Mark Knight's Mick Molloy Premiers Cartoon AFL on 7 on Twitter
  10. ^ Davidson, Helen (11 September 2018). "'Repugnant, racist': News Corp cartoon on Serena Williams condemned". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 September 2018.
  11. ^ Cavna, Michael (10 September 2018). "An Australian artist's racist Serena Williams cartoon receives swift and international blowback". Washington Post. Retrieved 11 September 2018.
  12. ^ Jai Bednall | Fox Sports, Newspaper doubles down with front page response to Serena Williams cartoon critics,, September 11, 2018
  13. ^ "News Corp defiant after 'racist' Serena Williams cartoon sparks global furore". The Guardian. 12 September 2018. Retrieved 12 September 2018.
  14. ^ "Newspaper reprints controversial Serena Williams cartoon with headline 'Welcome to the PC World'". ESPN. 12 September 2018. Retrieved 12 September 2018.
  15. ^ "Melbourne Press Club – Quill Awards media release". The Age. 3 March 2006. Archived from the original on 2007-09-08. Retrieved 2007-09-18.
  16. ^ "2001 Melbourne Press Club Quill Awards". Melbourne Press Club. 3 September 2001. Retrieved 2007-09-18.
  17. ^ "The 22nd ANNUAL STANLEY AWARDS CONVENTION". Australian Cartoonists' Association. 2006-03-03. Archived from the original on 28 August 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-18.
  18. ^ "Previous recipients of Stanley Awards". Australian Cartoonists' Association. 2006-03-03. Archived from the original on 28 August 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-18.
  19. ^ "Media Release: The Walkley Awards". AAP. 2004-12-02. Archived from the original on 2007-03-26. Retrieved 2015-06-14.
  20. ^ "Australian Comedy Awards". The Age. 26 November 2003. Retrieved 2007-09-18.