Austin Bowen Payne was born in Cardiff in the second quarter of 1876, the younger brother of G. M. Payne who was also a comic artist. Their father, Joseph, was a cabinet maker.
He was living with his uncle and aunt, Jacob and Mary Payne, in Merthyr Tydfil in 1891, and by 1901 had moved with them to Hornsey, Middlesex, and was working as a black and white artist. His first known work in comics came in 1909, when he drew "Trixie Tippett" for Illustrated Chips and "Lottie Looksharp" for Jester and Wonder. He drew comic strips for the Amalgamated Press for a little over a decade, including "Jessie Jolly" (1912) for Jester, "Merry Maisie Madcap" (1914) for Firefly, "Susie Sunshine and her Poms" (194) for Rainbow, "Tommy Traddles" (1916) for Puck, "Pinkie and Patsy" (1920) for Tiger Tim's Weekly, and "Sunshine School" for Little Sparks.
He served in the First World War, and after his discharge was recruited by the Daily Mirror to draw a daily comic strip, called Pip and Squeak after his wartime batman, whose nickname was "Pipsqueak". It starred Pip, a dog, and squeak, a penguin, who were soon joined by Wilfred, a rabbit, the strip retitled Pip, Squeak and Wilfred. Written by Bertram J. Lamb, aka "Uncle Dick", it first appeared in 1919 and ran until 1940, also appearing in The Sunday Dispatch, The Sunday Pictorial, and from 1933, The Children's Own Sunday Pictorial, as well as various annuals. After a seven year gap it was revived in the Mirror from 1947 to 1955, still drawn by Payne.
A. B. Payne died at his home at Herne Bay, Kent, in the fourth quarter of 1959.
- Alan Clark, Dictionary of British Comic Artists, Writers and Editors, The British Library, 1998, pp. 130-131