Deb Lawrence was born in the United States and raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Michigan, her Ph.D. from CWRU, and then embarked on a private, intensive course of art school study with Gerald Vandevier, professor emeritus of drawing and painting from the Cleveland Institute of Art. Her primary studio is located in the outskirts of Philadelphia, but she also maintains an active presence in Cleveland and New York.