Nuttall, son of James Charles Nuttall, was born at Fitzroy, Victoria. He received his art training at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, under Frederick McCubbin and became a contributor of drawings to the Bulletin, Life, and other journals. In 1902 he completed a large monochrome painting of the "Opening of First Commonwealth Parliament". A series of portrait sketches of well-known Australians from studies made for this picture was published in 1902, under the title, Representative Australians. In the same year a small popular book of humorous sketches, Peter Wayback visits the Melbourne Cup, was also published.
In 1905 Nuttall went to the United States, joined the staff of the New York Herald, and contributed to Life, The Century, Harper's, and other periodicals. After a tour in Europe he returned to Australia in 1910, and frequently exhibited drawings and etchings at art exhibitions. He also wrote stories and articles, and was establishing a reputation as a broadcaster when he died at South Yarra, Melbourne, Victoria, on 28 November 1934. His wife survived him but there were no children.
- Serle, Percival (1949). "Nuttall, Charles". Dictionary of Australian Biography. Sydney: Angus and Robertson.