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Edelmann studied printmaking at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf (Düsseldorf Arts Academy) from 1953 to 1958. He began his career as a freelance illustrator and designer for theatre posters and advertising in Germany. Between 1961 and 1969 he was a regular illustrator and cover designer for the internationally renowned youth magazine twen. During 1967–68, he worked on Yellow Submarine. From 1968 to 1970 he was a partner in a small animation company in London, but his desire at the time to work on more feature films was not realised. In 1970 Edelmann moved to Amsterdam and designed book jackets and posters for plays and films. His last use of the style of Yellow Submarine was in illustrating a book, Andromedar SR1 (1970), about a voyage to Mars. He also designed the cover for a German edition of Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, and illustrated the Kenneth Grahame children's book The Wind in the Willows.
Between 1972 and 1976, Edelmann taught industrial graphic design at Fachhochschule Düsseldorf (Düsseldorf University of Applied Sciences). He was subsequently Lecturer of Art and Design at Fachhochschule Köln (Cologne University of Applied Sciences) and in 1989 became Professor of Illustration at the State Academy of Fine Arts in Stuttgart. He designed the 1992 Seville World's Fair mascot, Curro.