Jean-François Charles was born in Pont-à-Celles in the Hainaut area. He studied at the Brussels Academy of Fine Arts before publishing 'Les Chevaliers du Pavé', his first long comic story written by Jean-Marie Brouyère and Thierry Martens (Terence), in Spirou magazine in 1976-77. He also drew some episodes in the series 'Les Belles Histoires de l'Oncle Paul', that remained unpublished, and he subsequently worked for the Averbode children's publications Dauphin and Tremplin.
He then traveled through the USA and Canada with his wife Maryse, which gave the couple inspiration for their historical series 'Les Pionniers du Nouveau Monde', that was first published by Deligne in 1982 and later continued by Glénat. The couple, accompanied by colorist Christian Crickx, additionally made the oblong format book 'Sagamore Pilgrimmage' (later retitled to 'Les grands bâtisseurs du Sagamore') in 1988. Charles started to focus on the scriptwriting of 'Les Pionniers' in 1994, and left the artwork to Ersel, while embarking on the new detective series 'Fox' with Jean Dufaux from 1991 to 1998.