Timothy O’Brien GAvA is an English artist, illustrator and author. He is best known to the public for his military and aviation art, plus his books, magazine features and talks where he promotes aviation history to a wider audience.

Over the past 30 years, Tim has established himself as a leading artist in this genre. He has worked with many high profile clients such as the Westminster Collection, Waddington International Airshow, Raytheon, The Media Group, Ian Allan Publishing, The RAF Charitable Trust and the Lincolnshire Lancaster Association amongst others.

During his career he has also collaborated on projects with the UK Armed Forces such as the covers for the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight yearbooks, boardroom paintings for 5(AC) Squadron, a Centenary painting for RAF Waddington and artwork to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the Air Training Corps. Tim has also enjoyed being invited to join the military in the field which has seen him enjoy several days at sea with the Royal Navy on board HMS Illustrious and HMS Ocean and fly in a range of aircraft from the Sea King helicopter, VC10 and Tristar tankers through to historic aircraft such as the BBMF’s Dakota and Lancaster.

But what is more dear to him is the cherished memories of meeting veterans such as; Bill Reid VC, John Cruickshank VC and Ken Wallis. Chatting with actor Sir John Mills at the Mansion House, having tea with Richard Todd at his home and being drawn by cartoonist Terence ‘Larry’ Parkes who is fondly remembered for his Carry-On film titles.

Tim has also been very fortunate to have received some awards for his art; the first recognition was in 1980 at the age of ten from the 'National Children's Book Week' competition where he designed a book-making machine that was judged by ex-Goon, Harry Secombe who awarded it first place in its category. The second occasion happened nine years later when Tim received an award from HRH Prince Andrew in the 'Youth-in-the-Air' competition for a series of illustrated articles in the Air Cadet newspaper.

Tim joined the Guild of Aviation Artists in 1990 and was elected as a Full Member in 1998. He exhibits at the Guild’s Annual exhibition at the Mall Galleries in London. He has also exhibited at other galleries such as Patchings Farm Art Centre and Long Acre Studios in Nottinghamshire. For his first solo exhibition, he was invited to display his work at the Royal Air Force Club in what has been the most successful of these shows to date. This has resulted in him recently been admitted as an Affiliate Member of the RAF Club as an acknowledgment of his contribution to the world of aviation art and promoting the history of the UK armed forces to new audiences.

He has always enjoyed painting and drawing from an early age, having grown up in a creative family, but it wasn't until Tim was eight years old that he started drawing more seriously, initially copying comic book illustrations. Then in 1983, not long after he joined the Air Training Corps at RAF Newton, he received his first commission for an aviation painting from a fellow air cadet: A watercolour of two F-16s thundering down a rain-soaked runway. Upon leaving school at 16, Tim worked with his father who took him on as his 'apprentice', training him into the family commercial art business by producing all aspects of illustration for advertising and print before Tim went freelance in 1991.

Tim is married with two children and enjoys rambling, helping out on the family allotment, history and collecting old cinema posters. He also gets involved with projects within his local community.


You might also be interested in viewing the following websites:

The work of Tim's sister Kerry

The work of Tim's father, Michael