Alexander Boyd, the son of a muslin manufacturer, was born in Glasgow on 7th February 1854. His father died when he was ten years old. On leaving school he worked in the Royal Bank of Scotland but in 1879 he was asked to illustrate a serial for Good Words magazine.
In 1880 he entered the Heatherley's School of Art. In 1884 he began work as a book illustrator. He contributed to numerous magazines and eventually joined the staff of The Daily Graphic in 1890. He also supplied drawings for The Idler, The Strand Magazine, Punch Magazine, The London Magazine and The Pall Mall Gazette.
In 1912 Boyd emigrated to New Zealand where he later became President of the Auckland Society of Artists. His wife, Mary Boyd, was a writer, and the couple collaborated on several travel books.
Alexander Boyd died in Auckland on 21st August 1930.