Barbara Blackman grew up in Brisbane where she was influenced by the Barjai art and literary group during the 1940s. She gained a BA (Hons. Psych.) at the University of Queensland. Blackman lived in Melbourne before residing for some time in both London and Paris with her husband of 30 years, artist Charles Blackman (q.v.).
Blackman's working career has spanned jobs as a child psychologist, artist's model, magazine columnist and radio producer. She was co-founder of the Little Lookout Theatre, Sydney and has been a member of the C. G. Jung Society and the National Federation of Blind Citizens.