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Raymond Briggs

Raymond Briggs

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Raymond Redvers Briggs (born 18 January 1934) is an English illustrator
Illustrator
An Illustrator is a narrative artist who specializes in enhancing writing by providing a visual representation that corresponds to the content of the associated text...

, cartoonist
Cartoonist
A cartoonist is a person who specializes in drawing cartoons. This work is usually humorous, mainly created for entertainment, political commentary or advertising...

, graphic novelist, and author who has achieved critical and popular success among adults and children. He is best known for his story "The Snowman
The Snowman
The Snowman is a children's book by English author Raymond Briggs, published in 1978. In 1982, this book was turned into a 26-minute animated movie by Dianne Jackson for the fledgling Channel 4. It was first shown on Channel 4 late on Christmas Eve in 1982 and was an immediate success. The film was...

", which is shown every Christmas on British television in cartoon form and on the stage as a musical.

Biography


Raymond Briggs was born in Wimbledon, London
Wimbledon, London
Wimbledon is a district in the south west area of London, England, located south of Wandsworth, and east of Kingston upon Thames. It is situated within Greater London. It is home to the Wimbledon Tennis Championships and New Wimbledon Theatre, and contains Wimbledon Common, one of the largest areas...

, England, to parents Ethel and Ernest Briggs, a lady's maid and a milkman. He attended Rutlish School for Boys
Rutlish School
Rutlish School is a comprehensive school for boys. It is on Watery Lane, Merton Park, south-west London. It was formerly a grammar school.It is noted for caning its most famous alumnus politician, British Prime Minister Sir John Major in its grammar school period.-History:The school is named after...

 (then a grammar school
Grammar school
A grammar school is one of several different types of school in the history of education in the United Kingdom and some other English-speaking countries, originally a school teaching classical languages but more recently an academically-oriented secondary school.The original purpose of mediaeval...

), pursued cartooning from an early age and, despite his father's attempts to discourage him from this unprofitable pursuit, attended the Wimbledon School of Art
Wimbledon College of Art
Wimbledon College of Art is a constituent college of the University of the Arts London and is one of London's major art institutions. It is located in Wimbledon and Merton Park, South West London.-History:...

 to study painting, and Central School of Art to study typography. He was conscripted into the Royal Corps of Signals
Royal Corps of Signals
The Royal Corps of Signals is one of the combat support arms of the British Army...

 at Catterick
Catterick Garrison
Catterick Garrison is a major Army base located in Northern England. It is the largest British Army garrison in the world with a population of around 12,000, plus a large temporary population of soldiers, and is larger than its older neighbour...

 where he was made a draughtsman. After 2 years of National Service, he returned to the study of painting at Slade School of Fine Art at University College, London, graduating in 1957. After briefly pursuing painting, he became a professional illustrator
Illustration
An illustration is a displayed visualization form presented as a drawing, painting, photograph or other work of art that is created to elucidate or dictate sensual information by providing a visual representation graphically.- Early history :The earliest forms of illustration were prehistoric...

 and soon began working in children's books. In 1961 he began teaching illustration at Brighton School of Art, which he continued until 1986.

In 1958, he illustrated Peter and the Piskies: Cornish Folk and Fairy Tales
Peter and the Piskies: Cornish Folk and Fairy Tales
Peter and the Piskies: Cornish Folk and Fairy Tales is a 1966 anthology of 34 fairy tales from Cornwall that have been collected and retold by Ruth Manning-Sanders. It was the first in a long series of such anthologies by Manning-Sanders....

, a fairy tale
Fairy tale
A fairy tale is a type of short story that typically features such folkloric characters, such as fairies, goblins, elves, trolls, dwarves, giants or gnomes, and usually magic or enchantments. However, only a small number of the stories refer to fairies...

 anthology by Ruth Manning-Sanders
Ruth Manning-Sanders
Ruth Manning-Sanders was a prolific British poet and author who was perhaps best known for her series of children's books in which she collected and retold fairy tales from all over the world. All told, she published more than 90 books during her lifetime. The dust jacket for A Book of Giants...

 that was published by Oxford University Press
Oxford University Press
Oxford University Press is the largest university press in the world. It is a department of the University of Oxford and is governed by a group of 15 academics appointed by the Vice-Chancellor known as the Delegates of the Press. They are headed by the Secretary to the Delegates, who serves as...

.

His first three major works, Father Christmas
Father Christmas (graphic novel)
Father Christmas is not real is a British graphic novel written and drawn by Raymond Briggs, published in 1973.The book presents a dramatically different modern interpretation of the character. Far from being jolly, this Father Christmas is a brash man who works from a normal house with the...

, Father Christmas Goes on Holiday (both featuring a curmudgeonly Father Christmas
Father Christmas
Father Christmas is the name used in many English-speaking countries for a figure associated with Christmas. A similar figure with the same name exists in several other countries, including France , Spain , Brazil , Portugal , Italy , Armenia , India...

 who complains incessantly about the "blooming snow"), and Fungus the Bogeyman
Fungus the Bogeyman
Fungus the Bogeyman is a children's graphic novel by British artist Raymond Briggs. It follows one day in the life of the titular character, a working class Bogeyman with the mundane job of scaring human beings.-Plot:...

, were in the form of comics
Comics
Comics denotes a hybrid medium having verbal side of its vocabulary tightly tied to its visual side in order to convey narrative or information only, the latter in case of non-fiction comics, seeking synergy by using both visual and verbal side in...

 rather than the typical children's-book format of separate text and illustrations. The Snowman
The Snowman
The Snowman is a children's book by English author Raymond Briggs, published in 1978. In 1982, this book was turned into a 26-minute animated movie by Dianne Jackson for the fledgling Channel 4. It was first shown on Channel 4 late on Christmas Eve in 1982 and was an immediate success. The film was...

(1978) was entirely wordless, and illustrated with only pencil crayons. Briggs said that it was partly inspired by his previous book, "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." The Snowman became Briggs' best-known work when in 1982 it was made into an Oscar nominated animated cartoon
Animation
Animation is the rapid display of a sequence of images of 2-D or 3-D artwork or model positions in order to create an illusion of movement. The effect is an optical illusion of motion due to the phenomenon of persistence of vision, and can be created and demonstrated in several ways...

, that has been shown every year since on British television
British television
Public television broadcasting started in the United Kingdom in 1936, and now has a collection of free and subscription services over a variety of distribution media, through which there are over 480 channelsTaking the base Sky EPG TV Channels. A breakdown is impossible due to a) the number of...

.

Briggs continued to work in a similar format, but with more adult content, in Gentleman Jim (1980), a sombre look at the working class
Working class
Working class is a term used in the social sciences and in ordinary conversation to describe those employed in lower tier jobs , often extending to those in unemployment or otherwise possessing below-average incomes...

 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 British House of Commons
British House of Commons
The House of Commons is the lower house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which also comprises the Sovereign and the House of Lords . Both Commons and Lords meet in the Palace of Westminster. The Commons is a democratically elected body, consisting of 650 members , who are known as Members...

 for its timeliness and originality. The topic was inspired after Briggs watched a Panorama
Panorama (TV series)
Panorama is a BBC Television current affairs documentary programme, which was first broadcast in 1953, and is the longest-running public affairs television programme in the world. Panorama has been presented by many well known BBC presenters, including Richard Dimbleby, Robin Day, David Dimbleby...

documentary on nuclear contingency planning, and the dense format of the page was inspired by a Swiss publisher's miniature version of Father Christmas. This book was turned into a two-handed radio play with Peter Sallis
Peter Sallis
Peter Sallis, OBE is an English actor and entertainer, well-known for his work on British television. Although he was born and brought up in London, his two most notable roles require him to adopt the accents and mannerisms of a Northerner.Sallis is best known for his role as the main character...

 in the male lead role, and subsequently an animated film, featuring John Mills
John Mills
Sir John Mills CBE , born Lewis Ernest Watts Mills, was an English actor who made more than 120 films in a career spanning seven decades.-Life and career:...

 and Peggy Ashcroft
Peggy Ashcroft
Dame Peggy Ashcroft, DBE was an English actress.-Early years:Born as Edith Margaret Emily Ashcroft in Croydon, Ashcroft attended the Woodford School, Croydon and the Central School of Speech and Drama...

. The Tin-Pot Foreign General and the Old Iron Woman
The Tin-Pot Foreign General and the Old Iron Woman
The Tin-Pot Foreign General and the Old Iron Woman is a 1984 picture book, ostensibly for very young children, written and illustrated by Raymond Briggs and published by Hamish Hamilton. It satirises the Falklands War....

(1984) was a scathing denunciation of the Falklands War
Falklands War
The Falklands War , also called the Falklands Conflict or Falklands Crisis, was fought in 1982 between Argentina and the United Kingdom over the disputed Falkland Islands and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands...

. However, Briggs continued to produce humour for children, in works such as the Unlucky Wally series and The Bear.

He was recognized as The Children's Author of the Year in 1993 by the British Book Awards.
His graphic novel
Graphic novel
A graphic novel is a narrative work in which the story is conveyed to the reader using sequential art in either an experimental design or in a traditional comics format...

 Ethel and Ernest
Ethel and Ernest
Ethel and Ernest is a graphic novel by English author and illustrator Raymond Briggs. It tells the story of the lives of Briggs' parents from their first meeting in 1928 to their deaths in 1971.-Story:...

, which portrayed his parents' 41-year marriage, won Best Illustrated Book in the 1999 British Book Awards
British Book Awards
The Galaxy National Book Awards are a series of British literary awards focused on the best UK writers and their works, as selected by an academy of members from the British book publishing industry...

.

His wife Jean, who suffered from schizophrenia, died from leukaemia in 1973, only two years after his parents. They did not have any children.

As of 2008, he lives in a small house in Westmeston
Westmeston
Westmeston is a hamlet and civil parish in the Lewes District of East Sussex, England. It is located four miles south southeast of Burgess Hill and west of Lewes, on the northern slopes of the South Downs....

 in Sussex; due to the clutter, he keeps a separate home from his partner Liz, her children and grandchildren. He continues to work on writing and illustrating books.

Selected bibliography

  • 1966: Mother Goose
    Mother Goose
    The familiar figure of Mother Goose is an imaginary author of a collection of fairy tales and nursery rhymes which are often published as Mother Goose Rhymes. As a character, she appears in one "nursery rhyme". A Christmas pantomime called Mother Goose is often performed in the United Kingdom...

     Treasury
    — awarded the Kate Greenaway Medal
    Kate Greenaway Medal
    The Kate Greenaway Medal was established in the United Kingdom in 1955 in honour of the children's illustrator, Kate Greenaway. The medal is given annually to an outstanding work of illustration in children's literature. It is awarded by Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals...

  • 1969: Shackleton's Epic Voyage
  • 1971: Jim and the Beanstalk
  • 1973: Father Christmas
    Father Christmas (graphic novel)
    Father Christmas is not real is a British graphic novel written and drawn by Raymond Briggs, published in 1973.The book presents a dramatically different modern interpretation of the character. Far from being jolly, this Father Christmas is a brash man who works from a normal house with the...

    — awarded a second Kate Greenaway Medal
    Kate Greenaway Medal
    The Kate Greenaway Medal was established in the United Kingdom in 1955 in honour of the children's illustrator, Kate Greenaway. The medal is given annually to an outstanding work of illustration in children's literature. It is awarded by Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals...

  • 1975: Father Christmas Goes on Holiday ISBN 0-698-30584-1; LoC: 75-2541
  • 1977: Fungus the Bogeyman
    Fungus the Bogeyman
    Fungus the Bogeyman is a children's graphic novel by British artist Raymond Briggs. It follows one day in the life of the titular character, a working class Bogeyman with the mundane job of scaring human beings.-Plot:...

  • 1978: The Snowman
    The Snowman
    The Snowman is a children's book by English author Raymond Briggs, published in 1978. In 1982, this book was turned into a 26-minute animated movie by Dianne Jackson for the fledgling Channel 4. It was first shown on Channel 4 late on Christmas Eve in 1982 and was an immediate success. The film was...

    US ISBN 0-394-88466-3 (pbk.) 0-394-93973-5 (lib. bdg.)
  • 1980: Gentleman Jim
  • 1982: When the Wind Blows
  • 1984: The Tin-Pot Foreign General and the Old Iron Woman
    The Tin-Pot Foreign General and the Old Iron Woman
    The Tin-Pot Foreign General and the Old Iron Woman is a 1984 picture book, ostensibly for very young children, written and illustrated by Raymond Briggs and published by Hamish Hamilton. It satirises the Falklands War....

  • 1986: All in a Day
    All in a Day
    All in a Day is a 1986 children's picture book by Mitsumasa Anno. It features illustrations by Anno and several other illustrators: Eric Carle, Raymond Briggs, Nicolai Ye...

    (with Mitsumasa Anno et al.) ISBN 0-399-21311-2
  • 1987: Unlucky Wally
  • 1989: Unlucky Wally 20 Years On
  • 1992: The Man
    The Man (graphic novel)
    The Man is an illustrated children's book by British author Raymond Briggs, first published in 1992. It tells the story of a boy who is visited by the titular Man, a minuscule human who arrives in the boy's bedroom unclothed and hungry. The boy initially believes he is dreaming, but soon realises...

  • 1994: The Bear
  • 1998: Ethel and Ernest
    Ethel and Ernest
    Ethel and Ernest is a graphic novel by English author and illustrator Raymond Briggs. It tells the story of the lives of Briggs' parents from their first meeting in 1928 to their deaths in 1971.-Story:...

  • 2001: UG: Boy Genius of the Stone Age
    Ug (book)
    Ug is a children's book by Raymond Briggs. In 2001 it won the Nestlé Smarties Book Prize Silver Award.-Plot:The book is about a boy named Ug living in the stone age who is thought by others to "think too much"...

    ISBN 0-375-81611-9 (trade)
  • 2001: The Adventures of Bert (text by Allan Ahlberg) US ISBN 0-374-30092-5
  • 2002: A Bit More Bert (text by Allan Ahlberg) US ISBN 0-374-32489-1
  • 2004: The Puddleman ISBN 0-099-45642-1

Adaptations

  • The Snowman
    The Snowman
    The Snowman is a children's book by English author Raymond Briggs, published in 1978. In 1982, this book was turned into a 26-minute animated movie by Dianne Jackson for the fledgling Channel 4. It was first shown on Channel 4 late on Christmas Eve in 1982 and was an immediate success. The film was...

    (1982) VHS ISBN 0-7912-0007-8 Sony Video Software: 50QS 4011(Betamax)/50ZS 4011(VHS) DVD NR, UPC 043396164369, Director Diane Jackson, approx. 29 minutes
  • When the Wind Blows (play) (1983) Little Theatre, Bristol and Whitehall Theatre, London.
  • When the Wind Blows (1986)
  • Father Christmas
    Father Christmas (1991 film)
    Father Christmas is a 1991 animated short based on two books written by Raymond Briggs: Father Christmas and Father Christmas Goes on Holiday, published in 1973 and 1975 respectively. It was first aired in Britain in 1991 on Channel 4, nine years after The Snowman, another animated Briggs...

    (1991)
  • 1998 DVD NTSC fullscreen ISBN 0-7678-2670-1 UPC 4339603227 combines:
The Snowman (1993) 29 min; and
Father Christmas (1997) 25 min (including material from Father Christmas Goes on Holiday)
  • The Bear
    The Bear (1999 film)
    The Bear is a 1999 short animated television film directed by Hilary Audus. Based on the book of the same name by the author Raymond Briggs, the film first broadcast on Channel 4 in the United Kingdom during Christmas 1999....

    (1999)
  • Ivor the Invisible
    Ivor the Invisible
    Ivor the Invisible is an animated film made for British television's Channel Four in 2001. It was written by the popular British author/illustrator, Raymond Briggs...

    (2001)
  • Fungus the Bogeyman (2004)
  • Ethel and Ernest (2008) (still in production)
  • Gentleman Jim BBC Radio 4
    BBC Radio 4
    BBC Radio 4 is a British domestic radio station, operated and owned by the BBC, that broadcasts a wide variety of spoken-word programmes, including news, drama, comedy, science and history. It replaced the BBC Home Service in 1967. The station controller is currently Gwyneth Williams, and the...

     Afternoon Play, 4 May 2008

Awards


Briggs has won numerous awards during his career, including:
  • 1966 Kate Greenaway Medal
    Kate Greenaway Medal
    The Kate Greenaway Medal was established in the United Kingdom in 1955 in honour of the children's illustrator, Kate Greenaway. The medal is given annually to an outstanding work of illustration in children's literature. It is awarded by Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals...

    , for The Mother Goose Treasury
  • 1973 Kate Greenaway Medal
    Kate Greenaway Medal
    The Kate Greenaway Medal was established in the United Kingdom in 1955 in honour of the children's illustrator, Kate Greenaway. The medal is given annually to an outstanding work of illustration in children's literature. It is awarded by Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals...

    , for Father Christmas
  • 1977 Francis Williams Award for Illustration (Victoria and Albert Museum
    Victoria and Albert Museum
    The Victoria and Albert Museum , set in the Brompton district of The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, London, England, is the world's largest museum of decorative arts and design, housing a permanent collection of over 4.5 million objects...

    ), for Father Christmas
  • 1979 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award
    Boston Globe-Horn Book Award
    The Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards were first presented by The Boston Globe and Horn Book Magazine in 1967. They are among the most prestigious honors in the United States in the field of children’s and young adult literature...

  • 1979 Silver Pen Award, in Holland
  • 1982 Children's Rights Workshop Other Award
  • 1982 Francis Williams Award for Illustration (Victoria and Albert Museum
    Victoria and Albert Museum
    The Victoria and Albert Museum , set in the Brompton district of The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, London, England, is the world's largest museum of decorative arts and design, housing a permanent collection of over 4.5 million objects...

    ), for The Snowman
  • 1992 Kurt Maschler Award
    Kurt Maschler Award
    The Kurt Maschler Award was established in 1982 by Kurt Maschler, and was awarded annually until 1999 to honour "a work of imagination for children, in which text and illustration are integrated so that each enhances and balances the other."-History:...

    , for The Man
  • 1992 Children’s Author of the Year, British Book Awards
    British Book Awards
    The Galaxy National Book Awards are a series of British literary awards focused on the best UK writers and their works, as selected by an academy of members from the British book publishing industry...

  • 1998 Illustrated Book of the Year, British Book Awards, for Ethel and Ernest
  • 2001 Nestlé Smarties Book Prize
    Nestlé Smarties Book Prize
    The Nestlé Children's Book Prize, also known as the Nestlé Smarties Book Prize, was an annual award given to children's books written in the previous year by a UK citizen or resident. The prize was administered by Booktrust, an independent charity which promotes books and reading, and sponsored by...

     Silver Award, for Ug

External links

  • Listen to a radio interview with Raymond Briggs on Resonance FM
    Resonance FM
    Resonance 104.4 FM is a London based non-profit community radio station run by the London Musicians' Collective .The station is staffed by four permanent staff members, including programme controller Ed Baxter and over 300 volunteer technical and production staff.Until September 2007, ResonanceFM...

    , 9 January 2009