Charles Vess was born in Lynchburg, Virginia in 1951. He studied at Virginia Commonwealth University and got a job as a commercial animator at Candy Apple Productions. In 1976, he moved to New York and earned his living as a freelance illustrator. Soon, his richly detailed, fantasy-inspired work was found in comic books as well as museums. He contributed to the famous 'Sandman' comic series, created by Neil Gaiman, for which he drew #19, 'A Midsummer Night's Dream', the first comic to win the prestigious World Fantasy Award for Best Short Story.
During the 1990s, Charles Vess published 'The Book of Ballads and Sagas' through his own company The Green Man Press. In 1997, he won the Will Eisner Comic Industry Award for best penciler/inker. Vess has collaborated again with Neil Gaiman on 'Stardust', an illustrated novel, and he also teamed up with 'Bone' artist Jeff Smith on 'Rose'.