Shyam Sharma was born in Sitamau, a village in District Mandsour in Madhya Pradesh in 1955. As he was already displaying great artistic talent at the tender age of five, he was sent by his parents to Nathdwara to study with his maternal grandfather, Nainsukh, who was a master of miniature painting. By the age of 20, he attained mastery over the brush as well as the Pichhvai, Bundi, Kishangarh, Kangra, and Mughal style of miniature painting.
Although he works primarily on paper with natural pigments, he has also successfully worked with miniature painting on glass, ivory, cloth, and wood as well as embossed gold work on glass, ivory and paper. In 1987, he was awarded the National Award for Master craftsperson.
Living in the temple town of Nathdwara, Sharma became a devotee of Srinathji, the form of the Hindu deity Krishna enshrined at the temple. Along with the many other local artists, he takes his turn to work in the temple maintaining the Pichhvai paintings that serve as the backdrops for the idol.