Born in 1934 in London, Raymond left school aged 15 to study painting at Wimbledon School of Art. After completing a typography course at the Central School of Art, and two years of National Service, Raymond went on to the Slade School to study painting. His first work was in advertising, but before long he was winning acclaim as a children's book illustrator as well as teaching illustration at Brighton College of Art.
His first full-colour book of rhymes, Ring-A-Ring O'Roses, was published in 1962. Followed by Fee Fi Fo Fum (1964), The Mother Goose Treasury (1966), Jim and The Beanstalk (1970) and The Fairy Tale Treasury (1972). Evident from all these early books Raymond both writes and illustrates, he himself once said "the whole point of illustration is that it is literary. If it is not, it remains a drawing only". But it was in 1973, with the publication of Father Christmas that Raymond Briggs' unique and distinctive 'comic strip' style became established. Father Christmas was portrayed as a rather grumpy, discontented, and above all 'human' figure. However, it was very successful, and so was followed Father Christmas Goes on Holiday (1975). Raymond's other work includes Fungus The Bogeyman (1977), Gentleman Jim (1980) and the more adult, satire of nuclear war When The Wind Blows (1982).
Raymond was awarded the Kate Greenaway Medal in 1966 for his fourth picture book, The Mother Goose Treasury, and again in 1973 for Father Christmas. Published in 1978, The Snowman is perhaps Raymond's best-loved creation. He says that the book was partly inspired by its predecessor, Fungus The Bogeyman - "For two years I worked on Fungus, buried amongst muck, slime and words, so... I wanted to do something which was clean, pleasant, fresh and wordless and quick."