Robert Steiner was born in Philadelphia on October 10, 1949. As a youth, he lived in Miami, where his main interests were seascapes and modern art. At the age of 18 Steiner won his first art competition which landed him a National Scholastic magazine scholarship to the Rhode Island School of Design. Steiner graduated from RISD with a bachelor of fine arts degree in 1971 and moved to San Francisco, where he developed his interest in wildlife. Steiner enrolled in San Francisco State University and earned a masters degree in Fine Art & Print Making in 1976. He then taught college-level art, and did freelance work such as book and magazine illustration.
In 1981 he won the California State Duck Stamp
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