Born in Bottineau, N.D., he was the son of Don Baldwin, a forester, and his wife, Sylvia. He moved with his family to Montana and graduated from Missoula County High School. He earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of Montana. He initially focused on commercial art and illustration. While in the Army, he was an illustrator. He later studied printmaking while getting his master’s degree, also at the University of Montana.