Charles Robinson was initially apprenticed to a printer where he worked the lithographic stones. While completing his apprenticeship, he took art lessons in the evenings. In 1892 he was offered a place at the Royal Academy, which he was unable to accept for financial reasons.
However, Robinson did not let this setback stop him from pursuing his chosen career and by the time he was 25, he began to make professional sales as an illustrator. His first fully illustrated book was Robert Louis Stevenson's A Child's Garden of Verses, published in 1895. It contained 100 pen and ink drawings and was exceedingly well received, going through innumerable printings and generating many other commissions.
Robinson illustrated fairy tales and children's books throughout his career and in 1899 he and his two brothers Tom and William combined their talents to produce a version of Andersen's Fairy Tales.
Charles created a large body of work between the turn of the century and the outbreak of the First World War including The True Annals of Fairy Land: The Reign of King Herla (1900), The Big Book of Fairy Tales and Big Book of Nursery Rhymes (1903) as well as illustrating several books written by W. Copeland, W. Jerrold, and himself.