Born in 1932, in Lyons, Texas, Travis grew up in Somerville, where he graduated from high school. He went on to Blinn Junior College to get an associate degree in art. He then went on to the University of Houston for a BFA degree.
After graduation from college, he entered the army. Travis spent twenty-eight months in Germany, viewing the great European art treasures.
In 1960, Travis married Betty Holt in Dallas. They have three children, Rebecca, Thomas and Kathy.
In 1964, he became staff artist for the Houston Museum of Natural Science and the Burke Baker Planetarium, where he worked for the next seven years.
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