He studied printmaking at the Düsseldorf Academy of Fine Arts. Since 1958 he worked as a freelance artist and designer for theatre posters, and German advertising. From 1961-1969 he was a regular illustrator and cover designer for the internationally renowned youth magazine twen. During 1967-1968 he worked as art director on the Beatles-movie Yellow Submarine.
For the German publishing company Klett-Cotta, he designed some book covers, like the cover of the first German edition of The Lord of the Rings (1969-70) and the cover of Fabelhafte Geschichten (1975; including Farmer Giles of Ham, Smith of Wootton Major and Leaf by Niggle).
Also known are his numerous illustrations for Kenneth Grahame's children's book The Wind in the Willows.
Heinz Edelmann taught from 1972 to 1976 industrial graphic design in the Department of Applied Sciences Düsseldorf. After that he was Lecturer of Art and Design at the Cologne University of Applied Sciences (Cologne factory schools) and in 1999, he became professor of illustration at the State Academy of Fine Arts in Stuttgart.