Stephan Pastis was born into a famliy of Greek descent in San Marino, California in 1968. He studied at the University of Berkeley, where he graduated in political science in 1989. After that, he entered law school and became an attorney. While at law school, he created a comic strip about a law studen, called 'Rosen'.
Pastis was an insurance defense litigation attorney in the San Francisco Bay between 1993 and 2002. During this period, he submitted a number of his comic strip projects for syndication. They were all rejected, but Pastis combined a couple of characters from these strips to create 'Pearls Before Swine' in 1997. Pastis incorporated fragments of his own personality and world view in all the anthropomorphic characters from this strip.
It wasn't before 1999 that he got it syndicated by United Features. At first online, but also in print from December 2001, when it was first published in The Washington Post. United Feature Syndicate distributed the strip to about 750 newspapers worldwide until September 2011. Since then, the strip has been syndicated by Universal Uclick.
Pastis' strip has met controversy on several occasions for its violence, adult humor and references to Middle-Eastern terrorism. Among his inspirations are Charles Schulz, Scott Adams and Bill Watterson. He got the opportunity to work with Watterson on a week-long storyline of his strip in June 2014. Since 2013, Pastis has also been working on a series of children's books starring the young detective 'Jimmy Failure'.