John was born in London in 1931. His early years were spent in the Kent countryside. His father Arthur Bedford Knapp-Fisher was Professor of Architecture at the Royal College of Art and he also founded the architectural practice of Knapp-Fisher, Powell and Russell. He was a lifelong draughtsman and watercolourist, and Johnʼs earliest memories are drawing and painting alongside his father. After schooling at St Andrews, Pangbourne and Eastbourne College, Sussex, he studied graphic design and typography at Maidstone College of Art. This was followed by National Service in the Army - the Royal Military Mounted Police.