Sir Frank Short originally trained as an engineer but left this line of work to pursue a career as an artist. He attended evening classes at Stourbridge School of Art before moving to London. In London he studied at South Kensington and Westminster Schools of Art, mastering the techniques of mezzotint, aquatint and etching.
Short exhibited at the Royal Academy between 1885 and 1904. He won two gold medals for engraving at the Paris Salon in 1889 and 1900. Soon after this he became a teacher of etching and was professor of engraving at the Royal College of Art between 1913 and 1924. He was elected a member of the Royal Society of Painter-Etchers and Engravers (now the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers) in 1885, becoming its President between 1910 and 1938. Short was Master of the Art Workers' Guild in 1901and an Associate Member of the Royal Academy in 1906, where he became Treasurer in 1919 until 1932. He was knighted in 1911 and was elected a member of the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours in 1917.
Short lived and worked in London and Sussex for most of his life. He was considered one of the leading figures in the field of etching and engraving in the early 20th century, responsible for reviving interest in mezzotint and aquatint techniques.