|Born||Piers Hans-Peter Baker
|Ollie and Quentin|
Early life and education
The eldest of five children, Baker was a boarding school student in Surrey and Somerset. During a year of volunteer work in Egypt, he survived a plane crash. Back in the UK, he began studying at the Epsom School of Art. After he accidentally left his artwork on a train, he chose to leave college and instead seek employment.
Design and illustration
He began his career as the junior member of a small advertising agency where he developed his graphic design skills and eventually launched his own graphic design firm, specializing in food packaging illustration and design. As he recalled, "In the years following, I helped run a small design agency where my specialty was designing ice lolly wrappers. Much of my work can still be seen in trash cans around the UK and Europe. In 2000, I decided to pursue my lifelong ambition of becoming a cartoon illustrator and have been working as an illustrator of children’s schoolbooks ever since."
In 2002, he created Ollie and Quentin for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. Four years later, it was selected by King Features for international distribution beginning January 7. 2008. Interviewed by Janine Pineo for the Bangor Daily News, Baker explained the strip's development:
- I’m going to upset a lot of cartoonists here because this was the first time I’d submitted any strip to King Features. That said, I’ve been working on Ollie and Quentin for many years and didn’t want to submit it until I felt it was strong enough. I know they receive 6,000 submissions a year and only launch three or four, so I could only send them something I was really happy with. I decided a long time ago to take the slow, steady approach. My plan was to get a weekly strip running in a few small UK papers and then see if a daily version was possible. I’d say it took three years or 150 strips before I felt I was ready. We don’t have cartoon syndicates in the U.K. so as King Features is the world’s premier cartoon syndication company, I thought I’d start there. I sent a submission in the summer of 2006 and heard back in October that same year when I’d completely forgotten about it. From then until now I have been in "development", speaking to my brilliant editor, Brendan Burford, once a week to go through the rough strips I’ve sent him.
His strips were collected in the book Ollie and Quentin, published December 2011.