Zhang was born on November 10, 1910, in Zhejiang Province. When he was younger, he worked as an apprentice in shops that sold calendars. Later, he focused on designing advertisements. In 1937, his cartoons were used in the promotion campaign held for China’s War of Resistance against Japan (1937-1945).
After the founding of the People's Republic of China (PRC) in 1949, he joined the Shanghai branch of China Artists Association and had his cartoons published in Jiefang Daily. A cartoon expert, his works were also published by Juvenile & Children Publishing House, Shanghai. In the late 1980s, Zhang worked as the chief editor of Cartoon World and the consultant of the Chinese Artists Association. His caricature was based on a satirical perspective.
In 1935, Zhang started to create San Mao, a fictional orphan with a hard life. The comic strips revealed the unfairness of social systems and caught the public's eye. Zhang's cartoon series was later adapted to films and wooden-figure plays. The comic strips continued to be published after China's liberation in 1949 and were published in more than 10 books.