Fiona French was educated in Weybridge, Surrey and Torquay, Devon, and left school in 1961. She then attended an art college in Croydon, where studies included photography, theatre design and sculpture, as well as her primary interest, painting.
In 1965 Fiona obtained her National Diploma in Design, Painting and Lithography. In 1966 she spent a post-graduate year specialising in print-making. Her first book of short stories (not for children) was illustrated and produced in the college (an edition of twelve copies). In 1967 Fiona spent two terms at Goldsmiths College on a teacher's training course, and in the same year she began teaching children art theory at Long Grove hospital, Epsom (a post she held in 1969). From 1967-72 she worked as an assistant to the painter Bridget Riley and found the five years she spent with this artist invaluable training in colour and discipline. In 1970-81 she taught at Wimbledon School of Art and in 1973-74 at Leicester Polytechnic and a Brighton Polytechnic.
In 1967 Fiona French completed her first book cover for Oxford University Press and in 1968 her first picture book Jack of Hearts was published. Since then she has produced a number of brilliantly coloured and imaginatively conceived picture-books which have earned her a reputation as an exciting talent in the children's books field.
Fiona French now lives in Norfolk.