Raymond Briggs (born January 18, 1934) is a British illustrator, cartoonist, and author who has achieved critical and popular success among adults and children.
He was born in Wimbledon, London, in the home of his parents Ethel and Ernest Briggs, a maid and a milkman. Raymond Briggs pursued cartooning from an early age and, despite his mother's attempts to discourage him from this unprofitable pursuit, he attended the Wimbledon School of Art and the Slade School of Fine Art. After briefly pursuing painting, he became a professional illustrator and soon began working in children's books.
His first three major works, Father Christmas, Father Christmas Goes on Holiday (both featuring a curmudgeonly Santa Claus who complains incessantly about the "blooming snow"), and Fungus the Bogeyman, were in the form of comics rather than the typical children's-book format of separate text and illustrations. The Snowman (1978) was almost entirely wordless, and became Briggs' best-known work when it was made into an Oscar-nominated animated cartoon that has been shown every year since on British television.
Briggs continued to work in a similar format, but with more adult content, in Gentleman Jim, a somber look at the working-class trials of Jim and Hilda Bloggs, closely based on his parents. When the Wind Blows (1982) confronted the trusting, optimistic Bloggs couple with the horror of nuclear war, and was praised in the House of Commons for its timeliness and originality. This was turned into a two-handed radio play with Peter Sallis in the male lead role. The Tin-Pot Foreign General and the Old Iron Woman (1984) was a scathing denunciation of the Falklands War. However, Briggs continued to produce humour for children, in works such as the Unlucky Wally series and The Bear.
His graphic novel Ethel and Ernest, which portrayed his parents' 41-year marriage, won Best Illustrated Book in the 1998 British Book Awards.