Uninterested in his law studies, Charles Cournault devoted much of his time to drawing.
From 1833 to 1838, he worked at Charlet’s studio, before being introduced to Delacroix’s. In 1840, he traveled to Algiers, where he produced a large number of drawings and watercolors. He traveled a second time to Algeria in 1843. This trip reinforced the artistic connection between the two artists, and they discussed their experiences and loaned each other objects brought back from their trips.
They were especially close between 1847 and 1852, when Charles Cournault got married and settled into his home in Malzéville (near Nancy); he would later transform this house into a sumptuous Arab-style dwelling called "the Douëra." Delacroix did not forget his friend in his will, as he bequeathed Cournault "two chests from Morocco, and all the objects from Algiers, weapons, clothing, cushions, scarves, etc."