Two side profile illustrations of an all white McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30 with and without the landing gear deployed over a white background
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A few weeks ago I decided that I wanted to try my hand at doing some aircraft illustrations. I’m not really sure why, but I think the thing that attracted me to this kind of art was the fact that 1). it’s a highly technical kind of art (which I enjoy), and 2). it’s a nice break from doing 3d stuff all the time. Yeah, sometimes its nice to work on other things every now and then!

Once I got into it, I quickly realized how difficult creating accurate side profile art really is. Do you know how hard it is to find high-quality reference material for perfectly side-on views of commercial aircraft? It’s not as easy as you’d think. Of course there is a lot of stuff floating around on the internet, but trying to find high-res detail shots showing the little details of these aircraft is a total pain. Some aircraft are more popular than others, and I quickly discovered that the McDonnell Douglas DC-10 is not one of them (compared to the newest stuff like 777s and A380s, that is). So – many of the details in these illustrations may not be totally accurate.

In addition to the all white template at the top of this post, I created a few more to complete the set. First up is a detailed line drawing (below). This is actually how I start these illustrations – the line art comes first, and then I can go in and add in all the color and shadow afterwards.

Detailed line drawing

Detailed line drawing

Once I had the line drawing and an all white blank template created, I thought it would be a good idea to create a bare metal version. After all, a large majority of airline liveries of the 1970s and 80s featured a bit of exposed aluminum in their design, so I figured I might as well take care of that knowing that I’d have to recreate this bare metal texture in the future as I apply liveries to these templates.

Bare metal version

Bare metal version

So there you have it – three blank templates of the DC-10-30. Feel free to use these for your own livery projects, and you can be sure that I’ll be posting some of my own!

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