Aviation themed art

Tim Wilson Aviation Art

​Paper Size

Possible Mat / Frame SizeMedium DetailHigh     detail
8"x10"11"x14"$125N/A
9"x12"14"x18"$175N/A
11"x14"16"x20"$250TBD (note 1)
16"x20"24"x30"$299TBD (note 1)
20"x24"28"x34"$450TBD (note 1)

Graphite Guideline fees

Mixed media and Oil painting subject to revision:


All suggested prices are subject to modification based on your desired depth of detail and size of images.  Prices at right are guidelines.


  1. High detail will require TMS aircraft for study (with permission for flight line access and photo permission from CO)
  2. High detail will include proper number of rivets  for panels, proper fastener head designs, etc
  3. Medium detail should satisfy most all aviation art enthusiasts, unless you desire exactly what you see in/on your aircraft everyday.


How much will an original cost?

The answer is not simple -  in Naval War College tradition, all things considered, it depends. The cost of the finished art will ultimately depend on the size, complexity, and urgency. We'll look at each of these factors separately. To start with, however, let's assume that you have planned your procurement out like the best acquisition professional - so no urgency!

Sizes are typically 9"x12", 11"x14", 14"x17", and 14"x22". The art will either be graphite (black & white) or color- I use a mixed media approach of Prismacolor® pencil, gouache, ink markers and pencil. Shipping charges, local taxes, and insurance will be in addition to the cost of creating the art.

Costs associated with research time, printing or producing prints, or other products from the original art, and reproduction rights, commercial license fees, royalties or copyright ownership will also be in addition to the cost of the original art. More about this below.

Why does complexity add to the cost?

While there is no simple formula to evaluate the complexity of a finished piece, here are some  considerations:

a. How many aircraft or other vehicles are to be depicted? The more aircraft, the more time, and a logarithmic increase in complexity, is involved to plan and execute. Landing gear, ordnance, flight or ground crew, and support equipment also affect complexity.  Multiple aircraft flying formation adds a unique dimension of complexity - ask me and I will explain.


b.  How hard is it to tell the story on paper/canvas? Creating the image of an aircraft flying through the air is generally a straightforward process. However, often times the story being told involves a complicated scenario or an abstract concept. In such cases, more time will be needed to for both my client and me to develop an image that both looks and "feels" right.

What if research is required?

Many times, the person requesting an original wants to portray a particular aircraft or specific event, with associated markings, ordnance, or surroundings. The more information that you can provide, the better. If you cannot provide the appropriate reference information, additional charges for significant research time may be added to the costs described in the table above.

How are payments made?

Should you decide to pursue commissioning an original,  the following payment schedule applies:

a. One-third of the total amount agreed to is to be paid "up front" as a retainer. This payment demonstrates serious intent and enables me to put you "in the books" along with my other clients.

b. One-third of the total amount is to be paid on your approval of the final thumbnail sketch(es).

c. The balance of the payment is due upon delivery of the finished illustration, prints, or other products.

d. If the commission involves producing prints/lithograpghs/metal prints, the up-front fee may be at least 50% to provide the printer with working capital for materials and pre-press preparation.

e. To keep shipping costs accurate, final shipping costs will be billed after the illustration and/or prints are delivered.

 How do I make sure the finished illustration is what I want?

An element of professional identity I derive from accurately depicting the memory you have in your brain of a particular event or place in time.  I strive to recreate that memory on paper or canvas for you. While the basic premise may be easy to define, how the final illustration will look may not be obvious at first. There may be many aspects pf layout or conditions of background that will portray the emotion you seek when viewing a finished piece.   Many times, the best solutions don't happen immediately.....so thumbnail sketches...and revisions of those sketches, is key! It is critical that we invest much time to the conceptual layout, and the reason why we seek that angle/aspect, in order to achieve the desired end state.

How long will it take?

This a difficult question to answer, since there are several important factors involved:

Normally, I'd like at least 2-3 months after receipt of the up-front retainer to begin work on an original. For various reasons, however, the overall process could take anywhere from 4 to 12 months. If prints or metal prints are required, the necessary completion time may be even greater.

Because you will be directly involved in the creation process, some "creation" time will be spent communicating with you to make sure I know what you're looking for. Usually this process goes smoothly, but for complex illustrations, the time involved for communications could be significant.

Ideas don't always come on demand, so unless there is a specific event or occasion involved, the completion date that I provide will be approximate. This helps me give you the quality of illustration and idea development that you expect.

 What about "rush" orders?

"Rush" commissions will cost more. When does a commission become "rushed"? Generally 3 months is enough lead-time to schedule a commission. One month of lead-time is definitely a rush job and will cost more. One week of lead-time is pretty much out of the question. Rush deadlines will also involve higher shipping charges.

It's also important to mention that the second half of the year is always busier than the first - why, Christmas.


 What about copyright and other administrative considerations?

Under copyright law, when a client purchases art from an artist, the artist retains ownership of the copyright. This means that even though the client owns the art, he or she may not reproduce or distribute the art without prior agreement from the artist. This agreement may include specific royalties or license fees. We'll work out the specific details before we begin the project.

It is possible to purchase the copyright along with the art.  However, most clients don't need this degree of control.