Colin Bootman was born in Trinidad where he spent the first seven years of his life. He was inspired by the island's rich and diverse culture. Soon after moving to the United States, Bootman embraced art as a measure of escape from the pressures of adjusting to a new environment at an early age. Bootman cites finding his first comic book as the life-changing experience that marked the beginning of his career as an artist. Bootman began formal training at LaGuardia High School of the Arts, which served to deepen his appreciation for other disciplines, and solidified his own passion for the visual arts. In college, Bootman studied photography, writing, and illustration, honing his skills under the tutelage of professional artists. Bootman was encouraged to pursue children's book art, as it allowed him the freedom to express himself through various media. The instructors at the School of Visual Arts prepared Bootman for the challenges of working as a professional illustrator.