Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Where do you get your ideas?
Tinney: Naturally the general theme of the illustration is determined by the client. Sometimes the client already has a specific image in mind; usually, however, I will take their description of the general theme and work up some ideas myself. I try to come up with a visual metaphor which conveys quickly and powerfully the client's message. If I can also achieve humor, or several levels of meaning, all the better. What I really like to produce is a simple, clean image -- something that hits the viewer quickly -- but which conveys subtle levels of meaning in an intriguing and entertaining way.
Question: Are your images computer generated?
Tinney: Since I've been working in the computer field for so many years, and since my illustrations are usually crisp, detailed and very 3-dimensional, many people assume that I use computer graphics. The truth is that I've only started using a PC for my art work quite recently; nearly all of the images my fans are familiar with were produced using traditional media.
My favorite medium is Designer's Gouache, which is a very opaque, high-quality water color. Not only does Designer's Gouache deliver brilliant, flat colors ideal for color separations, but the smooth, milky consistency of the paint works wonderfully with an airbrush. It is with the airbrush that I can achieve all those eye-fooling 3-D effects.
In recent years I have produced images and animations in 3-D Studio, and, of course, let's not forget the industry standard Adobe Photoshop. For some things -- type, for example -- you just can't beat computers; even when I'm using traditional media I will sometimes go to the computer for certain effects which would be time consuming or even impossible to do by hand.
Question: How do you usually work with a client?
Tinney: Typically, my client and I will discuss his or her specific requirements, and I'll quote a firm bid for the project. If I get the go-ahead, I'll proceed with several rough sketches of various ideas; these can be faxed pencil sketches, or small computer images sent via e-mail. The client and I will go through several iterations of these sketches, narrowing down to one final color sketch, which is approved by the client as the prototype for the final illustration.
All sketches are included in the original quoted price, which will be invoiced when the final illustration is shipped. In some cases, particularly with a new client, I ask for a $500 deposit after the sketches are completed but before I begin production of the final painting.
Question: What do you charge for a painting?
Tinney: It isn't easy to give a general answer to this question, because there are so many different uses to which an image can be put. For example, I would generally charge $1200 - $1500 for a full-page magazine cover illustration; art work of this type is used only once by the client, and the artist retains the rights to the image and can re-sell it after an agreed upon period of time. However, if a company commissioned the same type of illustration for a poster or advertisement, they might well wish to own the image outright. In this case my charge would be in the $3000 - $8000 range.
And, of course, there are many other variables to consider when negotiating a fee for a particular image, particularly now-a-days, when images may be produced and used only on the Web, and may be animated, or reproduced countless times as buttons, banners, etc.
The most important thing is for the client to have a firm idea of what the final cost of the image will be before making the decision to commission an illustration. For this reason, I usually discuss the details of the client's requirements as thoroughly as possible, so that I can quote a realistic price at the beginning of the project.