All posts in: Aircraft Illustrations
airbus a340-500 white
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Here we go – now we are getting into the “fun” variants of the A340! The A340 templates I posted last April were of the -300 variant which, to be quite honest, isn’t a very remarkable airplane. The biggest issue is how underpowered it is (despite having 4-engines), and quite a few airlines have voiced their disappointment in it’s overall performance over the years. It’s a well-built and reliable aircraft no doubt, but it just didn’t live up to it’s promises.

But then the stretched and re-engined -500 and -600 variants came along, and the A340 became relevant and competitive again. These aircraft were so much more capable than the -300 and -200 in pretty much every regard. More power, more range, and higher payload capabilities are just a few of the things which gave new life to this aircraft family. Unfortunately, most of the airline industry is moving away from 4-engined aircraft and the future isn’t looking good for the A340. The twin-engine A350 is simply the better option for most airlines that need an aircraft of this size.

Regardless of the A340’s future, the -500 and -600 are my favorites of this series. They are both long and lean, and the larger engines and wings help to make these things look like proper long-range wide body airliners. Of course I realize that’s a very subjective statement, but to me, bigger is better when it comes to long haul air travel. I’d be a horrible airline CEO, wouldn’t I? Buying large aircraft just because they look cool is a recipe for disaster. Just ask pretty much any airline who has bought the A380…

a340-500 line drawing side view

Technical side profile line drawing of an Airbus A340-500 over a white background with and without the landing gear deployed

The beefy engines on the -500 and -600 are exactly what the A340 needed to make it fit the image of a capable high-performance airliner. The -200 and -300 variants had tiny engines which didn’t really fit the proportions of the fuselage all that well, but these big Rolls Royce Trent 553’s hanging under the wings balance things out nicely. You already know my stance on big-engined aircraft (the bigger the better!) so there’s no point in spewing off about that again.

This post is for the -500 templates only, but I’ll be posting the -600 very soon. The wireframe line drawing is complete, and I’m almost done creating the all-white rendered version. There are a few minor details that I’m having a hard time verifying, so I’d rather spend the time to make sure that I get it right before rushing though it and posting something that is incorrect. Look for those templates soon!

CRJ-900 side view all white
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As promised, I’m still making pretty good progress on finishing out my A340 collection with the addition of the larger -500 and -600 variants. I’ve got the wireframe line drawings complete, and now it’s just a matter of creating the fully shaded white versions. However, my massively short attention span couldn’t leave well enough alone, and earlier this week I felt an overwhelming urge to finish the CRJ-900 illustration that I started a long time ago (but put aside due to other higher priority projects). I will say, however, that this urge didn’t come out of nowhere – there have been several people who have been asking me about a CR9 template for the past few weeks so that no doubt fueled the flames and I couldn’t stop thinking that I should go ahead and try to wrap this up.

CRJ-900 side view line drawing

A technical side profile line drawing of a Bombardier CRJ-900 over a white background with and without the landing gear deployed

I thought the CRJ-700 was long, but this -900 takes it to a whole new level. All of the major components (wing, wing box, landing gear, engines, vertical stabilizer, etc) carry over directly from the -700, so this longer version seems overly stretched when comparing the two. The look of a long and sleek aircraft can be nice, but there’s a point where it can be taken too far IMHO.

And you want to know what’s really crazy? There’s an even longer version of this airplane (the CRJ-1000), which seems almost mind-boggling to me that they were able to stretch this basic airframe that much more. From a business point of view, I’m not really sure what the reasoning behind that extra stretch was – after all, the CRJ-1000 is nearly as large as a mainline aircraft at that point so it’s difficult for me to understand how the economics of such an aircraft would work. Perhaps it’s because Bombardier wanted desperately to offer a larger (mainline) aircraft but didn’t have the resources at the time to do it? That’s the only thing that makes sense to me, but now that the CS100 and 300 have been introduced, I don’t see much life left for the CRJ-1000.

Thanks to all of you who have been patiently waiting for these illustrations. Sometimes it’s difficult for me to keep up with all the requests I get, but I’m doing my best to fulfill them all. Anyone want to sponsor me so I can do aircraft illustrations full time? 🙂

boeing 737 MAX 7 side view
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I’m on a roll now! Or at least it seems that way. After nearly a three month break from working on my airliner template project, I’ve wrapped up three in the past week: the Boeing 737 MAX 8, the 737-900/ER with split scimitar winglets, and now this 737 MAX 7. It feels really good to be making progress again and I’m really excited about keeping this momentum going for a while.

The subject of this post is, of course, my latest illustrations featuring the MAX 7. All in all, the only thing I really had to do to create these templates was to shorten the fuselage of the 737-8 MAX a bit and reposition a few details. That’s not to say there wasn’t any heartburn along the way though. You see, about two weeks ago Boeing published an updated design for the 737-7 MAX which threw me for a loop (and required a lot of head scratching as I had to try and figure out what those changes were and how they affected the look of this airplane). Long story short, they increased the length of the airframe slightly in order to add two more seating rows. This was likely done in order to make it more competitive with the Bombardier CS300, and to be honest, I’m not really sure that was necessary. I’m hardly an expert in the field of commercial aviation, but the 737-700 has always been the “sweet spot” when it comes to performance vs payload. It’s an extremely versatile aircraft and I have no doubt it’s success would have continued with the MAX 7 even with the CS300 competing for the same customers. But what do I know? I’m just an illustrator.

737 MAX 7 line drawing side view

2d profile illustration of a wireframe line drawing of a 737-7 MAX over a white background with and without the landing gear deployed

It’s always weird taking one of my existing templates and either stretching or shortening it. I spent many hours working on my 737 MAX 8 illustrations, and then spent a couple days updating my 737-900 – so yeah, 737’s with long fuselages have been burned into my brain pretty well over the past week. So when the time came to shorten up the 737-8 to make these templates, the stubby proportions of this shorter variant really caught me off guard. It almost looked comical and wrong to me once I had it all laid out, and I had to triple check to make sure I had the dimensions accurate. The 737-7 MAX really is a stubby little airplane, which is exaggerated no doubt by those huge new LEAP engines.

Anyway, so that’s it for 737 templates for a while. I need to go back and finish out my A340 series next, and what comes after that is still a bit fuzzy to me. I was planning on doing the 727 (finally!), but I’ve been getting a lot more requests for some other aircraft which might need to come first.

737-900ER split scimitar side view
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Sometimes I really wonder if starting this airliner template project was a good idea or not. Of course I really enjoy working on these highly detailed side-profile illustrations, but the sheer number of aircraft on my “to do” list has been overwhelming for much too long and the reality is that I’ll probably never get around to doing them all. That’s not a very comfortable feeling for me, primarily because having too much to do sends my anxiety levels through the roof (lol) and I never really feel satisfied that I’m making progress. But as long as I just focus on on aircraft at a time, things are more manageable and I can keep moving forward.

Today’s area of focus is squarely on the 737-900/ER. I created my original 737-900/ER template way back in 2014, but that one had the normal-style winglets and some missing details that I never got around to adding. The way that I shaded the all-white version had been bugging me as well (the shadows were much too dark IMHO), so I finally decided to dig it up from my archives and make some of those much-needed updates.

737-900ER split scimitar side view

A technical side profile line drawing of a Boeing 737-900/ER with split scimitar winglets over a white background with and without the landing gear deployed

The biggest change is the addition of the split scimitar winglets. Most airlines seem to be opting for these over the older-style winglets, so I thought it was important to have this version in my collection for anyone needing it (which is a lot of you, since I’ve been getting a lot of requests for it). I’ve also added a few details, like the satellite communications dome on the top of the fuselage, as well as adding some window “blanks” to make it more realistic.

Finally, I spent some time adjusting all the shading and shadows, fixing all the problem areas which made the original template much too dark and muddy. It’s really hard to create a single style of shading for all my templates – my personal tastes and styles change over the years, and back then (when I first created this template), I was into very exaggerated and “strong” imagery. These days, I’m all about simplicity and cleanliness. I’d love to go back and fix all my earlier illustrations to bring them up to date with my current lighter style, but unfortunately, there aren’t enough hours in the day to take on a project that big!

Hope you enjoy this little update. The Boeing 737-7 MAX is on the drawing board and will be available soon.

737-8 MAX side view drawing
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Just when you thought I had abandoned my side view airliner template project all together, I present to you all these detailed illustrations of the Boeing 737 MAX 8 (aka 737-8). It’s been nearly three months since I posted my drawings of the A340-300 and I was fully committed at the time to finish out that series with the -500, -600, and -200 variants. Unfortunately, life got in the way and here I am three months later and none of them have been finished yet. But the good news is that I have the wireframe line drawings completed for each one of those, so now it’s just a matter of creating the fully shaded white versions. Soon!

Based on the number of requests I have been getting for the next-generation 737 variants, I decided to focus on those first before I go back and finish out the A340 series. I know that many of you have been patiently waiting for the 737-8 MAX (like, foreeeeeever!), and I am really sorry that it has taken so long. I will mention, however, that part of the reason for the delay was the lack of good reference material available for this aircraft. There are only a few frames built at the moment, and not very many detailed pictures which show all the changes very well. But I pieced together what I could and I think I’ve recreated this 737-8 fairly accurately. “I think” are the key words here – so please do let me know if you spot any errors in these drawings.

boeing 737-8 line drawing side view

2d profile illustration of a wireframe line drawing of a 737-8 MAX over a white background with and without the landing gear deployed

The MAX is pretty much identical to the previous generation aircraft, except for a few bigger component upgrades: new (larger) engines, taller landing gear, a new tail cone, and a new wing with a beautiful new split scimitar winglet design. Other than that, I was able to leverage my existing 737-800 template for the fuselage and vertical stabilizer parts, along with a slew of little details that carry over to the MAX. And to be honest – once I finished out this template and stepped back to have a look, I was really amazed at how similar it is to the old 737-800. Only hardcore aviation nerds will be able to spot the differences between the MAX and previous generation 737’s, and I think Boeing missed an opportunity here to differentiate the design a bit more (which would amplify the “new and improved / cutting edge tech” aspect a bit). Of course larger changes would have meant a longer development time, so the practical side of me understands fully why they did what they did.

Next up will be templates of the 737 MAX 7 (737-7). As far as I can tell it’s just a shortened version of the 737-8 so I don’t expect it will take very long for me to put those together. I promise!

airbus a340-300 side view
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One of the problems with taking a long time to do a single airliner template is that more often than not (especially if it takes long enough), the aircraft in question is no longer popular and highly sought-after by the time the illustrations are complete. Of course I knew that the Airbus A340 was a dying breed when I first thought to make side view templates of it way back in 2012, but here in 2016, the airlines can’t seem to retire these things fast enough. Sure they were a perfectly fine aircraft for their day (ok, perhaps a bit underpowered), but there are now far better performing and more fuel-efficient options available from both Airbus and Boeing which makes this bird an economically poor performer in comparison.

airbus a340-300 line drawing

The featured image for this post is the A340-300 (non X). Here is the line drawing of that version over a blank background with and without the landing gear deployed

Luckily for me, this was a relatively easy set of drawings to make. Since the A340 is basically an A330 with four engines (and a few other really minor changes), I was able to leverage my existing A330 templates quite nicely. Essentially all I had to do was to create a new wing and engines, make a few minor adjustments, and I then I was good to go. It wasn’t easy by any means, but it was much better than having to create a complete aircraft from scratch! The landing gear is always the most time-consuming part of creating these illustrations, with the wing and engines being the second biggest time-suck. Having half of the work done already was a huge time saver.

Airbus A340-300X all white side profile

Two side profile illustrations of a white Airbus A340-300X over a blank background with and without the landing gear deployed

A340-300X side profile line drawing

A340-300X side profile line drawing with and without the landing gear

Speaking of wings and engines, I guess I never realized how small the A340-300’s engines really are. Sure there are four of them, but still…they are relatively tiny when compared to the fuselage of this airplane. I noticed the same thing with my Embraer 175 templates – that airplane has the tiniest engines of all!

My apologies once again for taking so long to create blank illustration templates for the A340. I know many of you have been asking for these over the past few years so hopefully you will find them useful for your projects. Note that I am also going to be doing all of the other variants of the A340 over the coming weeks. I’m going to start with the -500 and -600, and will then wrap this set up with the least-popular -200. I know this series has been a long time coming so I thank you all for your patience!

Southwest Airlines E190 drawing
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Have you heard the news? Well, it’s just a rumor at this point but there is speculation floating around the airline industry right now that Southwest Airlines is considering adding the Embraer 190 to it’s fleet. That’s pretty big news considering how they’ve been a Boeing 737 carrier since they launched back in the 1970’s. They did lease a few 727’s from Braniff for a few years, but other than that, Southwest has never operated another aircraft type.

I couldn’t resist creating an illustration of the E190 in the Southwest livery as soon as I heard this news. Of course this is the outgoing (old) livery, but since it’s a conceptual rendering anyway, I thought I’d do this one first since it’s my favorite of them all. I like the way this design flows nicely from the front of the aircraft to the rear, and it really grew on me over time. I didn’t care so much for the bold blue and red combination (with bright yellow and orange highlights) when it was first unveiled, but after seeing this design for so many years it almost became “normal” for me. It was definitely better than the original “mustard rocket” colors though – that livery was the worst of them all. But I will admit that now that some time has passed, it does have a sort of cool retro vibe to it that was lacking in the 1990’s. Back then, it was just downright ugly.

southwest e190 side view

Side profile illustration of a Southwest Airlines Embraer 190 regional jet over a white background with and without the landing gear deployed

Anyway, I believe the Embraer 190 will be a good fit for Southwest. It’s a smaller aircraft than the 737, and the lower seating capacity will allow them to enter (and augment) smaller markets that wouldn’t support the larger aircraft. Southwest has always been pretty good about serving the smaller and secondary markets that the larger legacy airlines choose to pass over, and having the ability to dig deeper into untapped (and profitable) routes is going to be necessary going forward. The E190 is a fine choice, and I also believe that the CS100 would be a viable option as well. But then again I’m not an airline executive, so what do I know?

Hope you like this quick conceptual rendering. It was fun to put together really quickly just for fun, but if Southwest does announce an order for E190’s you can be sure I’ll do another version in the latest livery. I may even do some special liveries too if I can ever find the time.

AeroMexico 787-8 side view rendering
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There hasn’t been much time for aircraft illustrations in my busy life over the past 6 weeks or so, but I have been tinkering here and there with some AeroMexico renderings for my travel blog whenever I could find spare time. I’m also trying to get Airbus A340 templates created, but those kind of technical drawings take a lot longer to do compared to these livery illustrations. And I fully admit that the livery illustrations are a million times more fun than the templates are – playing with graphics and color will always be much more interesting than drawing part lines on fuselages!

AeroMexico used to have a pretty cool livery. It was polished aluminum (just like the old American Airlines livery), and it looked downright awesome in bright sunlight. It probably pissed off other pilots every now and then due to how reflective that color scheme was, but it was a real looker for sure. But then the aircraft manufactures started building airplanes with non-metallic composite skin materials, which meant that all those beautiful polished-aluminum liveries of old had do go. You can’t polish carbon fiber, so the best the airlines could do was to start painting airplanes white. American Airlines is using silver paint instead of white at the moment, but to be honest, it looks like dull gray unless you see it in bright sunlight.

aeromexico 787 side view white background

Side profile illustration of an AeroMexico Boeing 787-8 over a blank white background with and without the landing gear deployed

The new livery that AeroMexico came up with is represented here on both the 787-8 and 737-700. I will give them credit for being creative with the curved two-tone blue tail section that blends into the white fuselage, but it seems as if they ran out of ideas (or budget) with that random red “stripe” on the forward section of the aircraft. That splash of color is nice – I think the red goes very nicely with the white and blue, but it simply doesn’t integrate with any other design element in a meaningful way. My experience as a designer tells me that it was likely added at the last minute by a non-designer executive who thought that “a little splash of red would be nice” even though there wasn’t enough money in the budget to add more paint to the airplanes. I can’t imagine that any designer, who after designing such a good looking tail section, thought that slapping that random swoopy red stripe to the forward section was a good idea.

AeroMexico 737-700 side view white background

Side profile illustration of an AeroMexico Boeing 737-752 over a blank background with and without the landing gear deployed

On a final note, I didn’t realize it until I made these illustrations that the engine covers are not painted blue on the 787. I assumed the liveries were the same across all AeroMexico aircraft, but I actually think I like the white engines better since it puts more emphasis on the tail section (and that ever important logo).

white sukhoi ssj-100 side view
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At first I thought this was something that I was embarrassed to admit, but now I think that I’m proud of the fact that before I created these SSJ-100 (Sukhoi Superjet) templates, I always thought that Sukhoi was a Japanese company. I’d be willing to bet that most people could admit that it is a very Japanese sounding name, so you can’t blast me too hard for thinking something like that. But why am I proud of this? Quite simply, its confirmation that I’m not as much of an airplane nerd as I thought I was! 😃 Not that being an airplane nerd is a bad thing – but I’ve always been a car guy and I have been feeling bad about neglecting my main hobby so much over the past few years. I love to draw cars (and the automotive industry in general), so it was a bit disconcerting that my aviation knowledge was slowly surpassing my knowledge of all things automotive.

So yeah. Sukhoi is a Russian company with a Japanese sounding name. I’m actually glad I received so many requests to illustrate this aircraft because it opened my eyes a bit to how large (and amazing) the Russian aerospace industry is. The Russians definitely know how to build airplanes, and a bit of research resulted in a long list of new aircraft I want to illustrate – starting with the Antonov 225. That thing is a beast!

Another thing I learned while doing this template of the SSJ-100 is the fact that Boeing was a consultant for the design and engineering phases of its development. I never would have expected that, simply because Russian aerospace technology is very advanced and I would think they would prefer to keep everything “in house” rather than seek the help of an American company. But that’s globalization for you!

sukhoi SSJ-100 line drawing

A technical side profile line drawing of a Sukhoi SSJ-100 Superjet over a white background with and without the landing gear deployed

Stylewise, the Superjet isn’t really pushing the envelope. To me, it looks like a less-aerodynamic Bombardier CS100 with small Rolls Royce Trent 700 engines, and that’s unfortunate because most commercial airliners are starting to look the same these days. I will give the Sukhoi designers credit for the really aggressive (and cool looking) windshield though – it’s not so impressive from a side view like this, but the shape is very pointy and sleek from the front view and unlike anything I’ve seen on a commercial aircraft before.

Unfortunately, the SSJ-100 isn’t so common here in the US yet (much like other Russian aircraft) so if you want a ride on one you’ll have to catch an Interjet flight out of Houston or Miami to Latin America. I’ll admit that I’m a wee bit tempted…

Airbus A330 white side view
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I really wish that I could work on these side view airliner templates full time, because things would happen a whole heck of a lot faster than they are right now. I’m almost embarrassed that it has taken this long to create these A330-300 illustrations – after all, it’s basically an A330-200 that’s just a little bit longer. My apologies for dragging my feet on this one.

That’s not to say this was super easy and it only took me ten minutes to put together. The fact that the vertical stabilizers are different between the -200 and -300 made this a slightly more involved project than simply stretching the fuselage, and it did take a bit of time to make sure that I illustrated the differences correctly. Making matters worse was the fact that I realized that the vertical stabilizer on my original A330-200 illustrations wasn’t totally correct so I had to go back and update those as well. It wasn’t a big deal, and it actually felt very satisfying to have made those updates. Like I said – the more accurate these illustrations are the better. I still don’t recommend building actual airplanes from my drawings though. They aren’t that accurate.

The image at the top of this post is the all white version of the -300 with General Electric (GE) engines. Here is the wireframe line drawing for that model:

a330 ge engines wireframe

A330-300 line drawing with GE engines

Next up is the Rolls Royce Trent option. This is the version that the designer in me likes the least, as I just can’t seem to get over the fact that the long and thin shape of this powerplant looks out of place on a modern airliner. But the “Trent” name is super cool – I can’t put my finger on exactly what it is about it, but to me the name is powerful and fitting for a large aircraft engine.

a330-300 white side view rr engines

All white A330-300 with Rolls Royce engines

a330 RR engines wireframe

A330-300 line drawing with Rolls Royce engines

Last but not least, here is the A330-300 with Pratt & Whitney engines. The proportions of this powerplant look the best to me, and is perfectly matched (aesthetically) for a large airliner like this. She’s a good looking bird, for sure.

All white A330-300 pw engines

All white A330-300 with Pratt & Whitney engines

a330 pw engines wireframe

A330-300 line drawing with Pratt & Whitney engines

On a side note, I’m still planning on creating templates for the A330-200F. I’m also still working on gathering reference material for the next generation A330 (-800 and -900), but I haven’t been able to find much other than low resolution renderings from odd angles that don’t provide much detail. I’ll continue to keep looking though, because the A330 is one of my favorite commercial aircraft types at the moment and I’m looking forward to having a full set of templates covering the entire lineup.