Emilio Cortinas studied to become a teacher, but didn't take this profession because his true vocation was drawing. As aself-taught artist, Cortinas started drawing for the newspapers El País and El Plata. At age 21, his first comic was published, 'Tribulaciones de un Chino en China', an adaptation of a Jules Verne novel.
However, when Cortinas moved to Argentina, his career really took of. Settled in Buenos Aires, he started drawing for the daily Noticias Gráficas with the comic strip 'El Unitario' and the magazine Figuritas, with 'El Libro de las Tierras Vírgenes'. In Patoruzito magazine, published by Dante Quinterno's publishing house, Cortinas delivered his most notable work, with 'El Demonio de los Bosques', 'Vida de Grandes Hommes', and the espionnage comic 'Vito Nervio'. Cortinas launched the magazine Bicho Feo with another Argentine artist, where he created comics under several pseudonyms. Among these pseudonyms was the name Pipo, which he used from then on to sign his humorous work. In 1946, he returned to Patoruzito.