Leonard Shields was born in Mexborough, Doncaster, Yorkshire, in the fourth quarter of 1876. His father, Robert, was a chemist and druggist, and Leonard went to Sheffield University to study to be a chemist himself, but switched to art. His first published work was in story papers Pluck and Marvel in the 1890s, and he went on to illustrate Billy Bunter stories for The Magnet in the 1920s. His earliest work in comics was "The Bunsey Boys", an imitation of the American strip The Katzenjammer Kids, in Jester in 1902. Other strips he drew included "Bible Cinema" (1919) in The Sunday Fairy, and his work also appeared in Film Fun, Bubbles, Playbox and Puck, as well as numerous story papers and magazines. He was known as a fast and prolific artist. He served in the Navy during the First World War, and late in life suffered from Osteoarthritis and Hodgkin's Disease. He died in January 1949 in Wandsworth, London.
- Alan Clark, Dictionary of British Comic Artists, Writers and Editors, The British Library, 1998, p. 153
- Leonard Shields, famous 'Magnet' artist and much more, Collecting Books and Magazines