Just in time for the holiday shipping season, it’s time to start focusing on some cargo aircraft! I’m at the point now where my airliner template collection it’s getting a bit too heavy on the commercial aviation side of things, and with the air cargo industry being as large and strong as it is, it’s probably a pretty good idea that I spend a bit of time going back and creating cargo variants of some of the passenger aircraft that I’ve already done.
Thankfully, cargo variants of commercial passenger aircraft are relatively easy for me to create since I’ve got most of the hard work done already. It’s just a matter of eliminating a few things, adding some cargo doors, and fine-tuning the details. There’s no need to re-create these aircraft templates from scratch, which is going to allow me to bang through these very quickly. Are you ready for this? Let’s do it!
Technical side profile line drawing of a Boeing 777F over a white background with and without the landing gear deployed
First up is the Boeing 777F, which is the all-cargo variant of the 777–200. Air France was the launch customer for this freighter, and they took delivery of their first airframe in February 2009. At the time of this writing, there are 128 777F’s flying for 30 different operators all over the world. That sounds like a success to me, and it’s only going to get better with so many cargo airlines looking to replace their older 747 and DC-10/MD-11 freighters with much more efficient and capable aircraft such as the 777.
As most of you have probably figured out by now, I’m pretty darn far from being highly-knowledgeable when it comes to anything aerospace engineering related. I am an artist, plain and simple, and I’m much more comfortable pushing pixels that I am trying to learn and understand the reasoning for the placement of every rivet on every aircraft ever made. I just don’t have the patience for that kind of stuff! That’s why I always learn a lot of interesting little things whenever I create a new aircraft template. What exactly did I learn by drawing this 777F? Quite simply, the cargo doors on this thing are really small and it doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense to me.
The only two other cargo aircraft that I’ve illustrated so far are the 767–300F, and the 747–8F. Those two particular aircraft have very large cargo door openings, so that’s why I was surprised to learn that the 777F has only one small door on the left side of the aircraft (towards the rear), and then two other small openings on the right side. How the heck do they manage to fit large stuff (like cars for example) into this aircraft? Wouldn’t they want to make the doors large so as to make loading and offloading cargo as painless as possible? My only theory for the use of small doors is that large doors might compromise the structural rigidity of the airframe. Sounds plausible, right? Please, if there is anybody out there who knows the reason for this, I would love it if you could leave a comment below and tell me that I’m exactly right. lol
The next aircraft template on my list is the cargo variant of the 747-400, which I’ve actually got a pretty good start on already. There will be two variants of that one of course (normal and stretched upper deck), and I hope to have those posted here to the blog very soon.
Have you been enjoying my A320 and A321 NEO side profile templates so far? I hope so. A lot of work goes into into each and every one of these illustrations, and it takes me a lot of time to get them looking as accurate as possible. As long as there are people out there like you who enjoy the work that I’m doing, that’s all I need to keep grinding out more and more templates of commercial airliners. I also like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who have purchased high-res vector and PSD source files of these templates on my online store – I hope those illustrations are useful for your projects and are helping you succeed in creating some really awesome content.
Now that I’ve got the A320 an A321 NEO templates out of the way, it’s time to post my favorite one of all: the A319. The big new engines combined with the short fuselage makes this aircraft look to be a tough little bugger with more than enough power for any mission, and it seems like it would be an awesome performer for long and thin routes across the US or the Atlantic.
Technical side profile line drawing of an Airbus A319 NEO with CFM LEAP 1A engines
Unfortunately, with only 51 orders for this aircraft on the books at the time of this writing (and no deliveries yet), most airlines don’t agree with me that this is the best Baby Bus of all. To put that number in better context, the slightly larger A320 NEO has 3688 orders on the books with 138 delivered to date. The A321 variant has 1429 orders with 6 deliveries so far. As much as I hate to admit it, things aren’t looking good for the A319 NEO.
This sort of thing isn’t new to Airbus. They faced a similar problem with the A350-800 – a smaller (but longer-range) variant of the A350-900 and -1000 that hasn’t seemed to catch on yet. As a matter of fact, the only airline with an outstanding order (for 12 frames) is Asiana. Rumor has it that Airbus is trying to talk them out of it and into another type of aircraft instead, and once that happens, this “baby” A350 will likely be killed. Will be A319 NEO face the same fate? If I were a betting man, I’d go all in on “you betcha.”
Side profile illustration of a white Airbus A319 NEO with Pratt & Whitney engines
Technical side profile line drawing of an Airbus A319 NEO with Pratt & Whitney engines
It’s easy to speculate what might happen in the long term, but the honest truth is that I really have no idea if this aircraft will see the light of day. Remember, the A321 wasn’t very popular when it was first released either, so maybe it’s just a matter of time for market conditions to evolve to a point where this re-engined A319 is an attractive option. Airbus obviously sees the potential in it, otherwise they wouldn’t have spent so much time and money putting it out there. Sometimes these things take time.
Until then, it will still be a lot of fun to see all of you take these templates and apply some really great liveries to them (both fantasy and real). And who knows? Maybe some of those illustrations will persuade some of the large airlines to think more seriously about this big-engined A319 and how well it would integrate into their existing fleets. Airbus needs your help! Do them proud.
Finally, I’d like to give you a little information about what is coming next. I’ve had a lot of requests for cargo aircraft, so I will likely do a 747-400F, followed up quickly by a 777F, and then a 757-200F. These shouldn’t take very long to do, so you can expect to see them on the blog (and store) relatively quickly. However, I will need to fit these in between the work I’m doing on my travel blog and some cleanup of some of my older templates. That’s right…I said cleanup.
For those of you who haven’t been paying attention, I’ve been working very hard over the past few months cleaning up and refreshing a lot of my old airliner templates for the online store. I’ve been adding more details, smoothing out the shading, and making the PSD files much more organized than the originals. It’s a lot of work to go back through and rework some of those old templates, but I feel it’s important because I want to give you guys the best possible product that I can. I know I’m a bit slow at times creating new templates, but it makes me feel good to take my time to get things right instead of rushing and pushing inferior illustrations.
Thank you as always for your support. You guys rock!
I suspect this is the one you’ve all been waiting for. The A321 NEO seems to be all the rage right now and I’ve completely lost track of the number of times that I’ve been asked to create these Illustrations over the past several weeks. I’m not really sure what happened, but all of a sudden everybody seemed to need this template right away and I was starting to feel the pressure to get it done as soon as possible. Was there a big airline order or something that I missed? I’m not really sure what the reason is for the sudden demand, but I’m happy (and a bit relieved) to post these side view templates today and make them available to all.
Technical side profile line drawing of an Airbus A321 NEO with Pratt & Whitney engines
The images above featured the A321 with Pratt & Whitney engines. Here are the CFM versions:
Side profile illustration of a white Airbus A321 NEO with CFM LEAP 1A engines
Technical side profile line drawing of an Airbus A321 NEO with LEAP 1A engines
The story of the Airbus A321 has been quite interesting to me. I remember vividly when it first came out in 1994, because it seemed to be a flop right from the start due to an apparent lack of demand – at least outside of Europe. There were no airlines in the US interested in it other than USAirways, and the only place that it seemed to get any traction at all was with the airlines in Europe needing an aircraft of this size. For medium density intra-European routes, it seemed to be the perfect aircraft that fit the gap between 737/A320 and larger aircraft such as 767 and A330. But here in the US (and the rest of the world), it just didn’t have the performance needed for difficult missions such as flying westbound Transcon US routes into strong headwinds without payload restrictions, and flying out of hot and high airports such as Denver and Salt Lake City. The Boeing 757 was much better suited for the US airline market at that time.
20 years later, and look where we are now. The 757 is long gone, and these new A321 NEO aircraft are selling like hotcakes all over the world. They simply can’t make enough of them! With the new engines and a plethora of other improvements, Airbus has transformed the A321 into what many consider to be the next-generation 757, and I’m willing to bet that the executives at Boeing are squirming in their seats a little trying to figure out how to gain back some of that lost marketshare. Boeing simply doesn’t have an aircraft that can compete with the A321 NEO right now, though the 737-900/ER (and the coming 737 MAX 9 and 10) comes close. This is a very subjective argument I know, and there are some who may disagree with me on this, but the fact of the matter is Airbus caught Boeing asleep at the wheel and took advantage of a gaping hole in the market left behind by the cancellation of the 757.
In Boeing’s defense, they had every reason to cancel the 757 program in 2004. The economy was still recovering from a deep recession at the time, and orders for the aircraft had completely dried up. It was a very dark phase for the airline industry, and the trend most analysts were predicting was that the airlines were going to prefer smaller aircraft and higher frequencies going forward. That’s when they went all-in on the 737 program and started pushing it as the ultimate 757 replacement with new longer-range variants with higher efficiency compared to the older models.
But here we are in 2017, and there are a lot of airlines with older 757s being retired that need to be replaced. Unfortunately for Boeing, Airbus simply has a better product right now with their A321 NEO. In my opinion, this was a big goof on Boeing’s part. US airlines in particular have depended on the 757 as the backbone of their route structures for years, and with the overall economy as strong as it is right now, there is a need again for an aircraft of this size. There are a lot of old and tired 757s out there, and now that they are starting to be retired in mass quantities, it amounts to a heck of a lot of airplanes that need replacing. Unfortunately for them, many of those replacement orders are going to Airbus.
As I mentioned in my last post, I’m pretty darn far from being an airline CEO, but it boggles my mind that Boeing hasn’t been working on a true 757 replacement for at least a few years now. Why they decided to go all in on the 737 (an aircraft that was originally designed in the 1960s) is something I can’t quite comprehend. I get the fact that it probably saved them a lot of money in the short term, but all they were doing was just kicking the can down the road and delaying the inevitable. They’ve done pretty much all they can to the 737 at this point, and if they want to compete with Airbus in the middle of the market (MOM) segment, it’s going to require an all-new aircraft. They need to get busy, but it may be too late.
My apologies for turning this into a history lesson/rant on the middle of the market airline segment, but as I said – this is the topic I find kind of fascinating and it’s been interesting to watch how Airbus and Boeing completely swamped leadership positions in that regard. Airbus has a hit with the A321 NEO on their hands, and we’re going to be seeing a lot of these things flying around for the next 30 to 40 years. Get ready.
My next side view airliner template (coming soon) will be the last one in the series: the A319 NEO. From a visual point of view, it’s my favorite one by far. Stubby bodies with fat engines…what’s not to like about that?!
Here we go ladies and gentlemen. Finally, after more than two years of procrastination and kicking the can down the road, I present to you my Airbus A320 NEO side view template set. In my defense, there was a pretty good reason for waiting so long to do these illustrations: the lack of accurate reference material. Now, we all know that these new aircraft have been flying around for a while now, but there is actually very little data out there on the Internet regarding the list of changes that went into this very big update for the Airbus narrowbody series. I found plenty of good information about the new CFM LEAP 1A and Pratt & Whitney 1000G engines, but it was surprisingly difficult to find information about other significant updates to the aircraft (if there were any).
I’d also like to point out that I’m pretty darn far from being an aircraft engineer. As a matter fact, I even struggle when trying to assemble IKEA furniture so it would be in your best interest never to depend on me for thinking too deeply about anything that could crash, burn and kill people. However, after weeks of research, I came to the conclusion that there are actually very few visual differences between the existing version of these aircraft (CEO, which stands for Current Engine Option) compared to the new-engine (NEO) variants. It’s basically the same airplane but with meatier looking and much more efficient engines, which actually surprised me a bit considering how much time and effort Airbus put into this update. I was actually expecting major wing modifications and taller landing gear to accommodate those larger powerplants, but nope. Other than general internal modifications to both, there isn’t much on the outside to differentiate them from the older versions. But wow – it’s amazing how much of a visual difference a big engine can make.
Technical side profile line drawing of an Airbus A320 NEO with Pratt & Whitney engines over a blank background with and without the landing gear deployed
You should all know my stance on beefy-looking aircraft by now, so it goes without saying that I’m pretty much drooling over the A320 NEO – especially the version with those fat Pratt & Whitney engines hanging under the wing. I was never much of a fan of the A320 before this, but now it may be one of my favorite aircraft in terms of visual appearance. This is what the A320 should’ve looked like from the beginning! I’m also thinking that it’s a bit of a shame that Boeing couldn’t find a way to put larger engines on the next-generation of the 737. Doing so would have required a taller (and all new) landing gear, which would have added significant cost to the program. Airbus got very lucky that that they didn’t have to do that.
The all white and line-drawing templates above are the version with the Pratt and Whitney 1000G engines. Here are the same templates with the CFM LEAP 1A engines. Which do you prefer?
All white Airbus A320 NEO with CFM LEAP 1A engines
Airbus A320 NEO technical line drawing with CFM LEAP 1A engines
To be honest, I actually prefer the look of the LEAP 1A engine, but it’s smaller size compared to the Pratt & Whitney is less appealing to me. And now that I think of it, it’s probably a pretty good thing that I don’t run an airline because the visual designer in me tends to make decisions based more on visual appearances than anything else. That may be very bad for running a profitable business, but I would have one heck of a good looking fleet that’s for sure.
For those of you looking for the A319 and A321 NEO templates as well, you’re in luck. Both are currently in progress and I’m very close to having the A321 ready to upload. The A319 will follow shortly thereafter (hopefully within a week). I’d also like to use this opportunity to ask those of you who know these aircraft well if I have drawn anything incorrectly in my templates. Because hey – if I’m struggling to assemble IKEA furniture, there’s a pretty good chance that I could have overlooked something huge without even knowing it.
One of the most common questions I get about my free JPG sideview airliner templates is how to add realistic color and highlights to them. There are many of you who are struggling with this, so I thought it would be good to explain just how easy it is using Photoshop. And as a matter of fact, you can use any graphics editing software you want. Any decent graphics or illustration program will do, but for the sake of this tutorial I’ll show you how to edit the JPEG files directly in Photoshop.
So go ahead and download one of my free templates – any one of them will do, fire up Photoshop, and let’s get started! In addition to writing this all out in an easy to follow step-by-step guide (below), I also created a video for those who prefer to learn that way:
Step one: tracing the entire aircraft
The easiest way to add color to these templates is to simply cover the entire thing, and then erase what you don’t need. For the sake of this demo, I’m just going to use red. It’s a bright color, and it will be easy to show how this is done.
In order to trace the entire aircraft, I just use the magic wand tool and click anywhere outside of the aircraft. What this does is selects the entire white area of the background – which is backwards from what we really want, but that’s okay.
Use the magic wand tool and click anywhere in the white space on the background.
Just go to the top menu and click Select > Inverse and now the active selection area has been switched to the edges of the aircraft instead of the background.
Choose Select > Inverse to change the selection from the background to the aircraft.
Create a new layer. This is the layer that we will be adding our color to.
Create a new layer in the layers window.
Change your primary fill color to red (or whatever color you want your aircraft to be).
To fill the selected area with color, just hold down Option + Backspace (or Ctrl + Backspace if you’re on a PC) on your keyboard and it fills in the selection area with your primary color. You’ll notice when you do that that the vertical stabilizer and other small details may not get filled in, simply because their color matches the white color of the background too closely and it was never selected in the first place. That’s okay. Just use the lasso tool to trace the outline of the vertical stabilizer (or any other part that was missed) and press Option + Delete on your keyboard to fill those empty spaces.
After applying the Fill command, you may get something that looks like this. Don’t worry – we can fix that.
Use the Lasso tool to trace around any areas that were missed in the original selection.
Once you’ve selected the missing pieces, go ahead and use the Fill command to fill it with your primary color.
Step two: adding transparency
Okay, now that you got your entire aircraft covered with red, you can easily see that it doesn’t look very good. There’s no detail! Don’t worry, this is an easy fix.
Everything is now filled with color, but it still doesn’t look very good.
Choose “Multiply” from the dropdown menu at the top of the layers window.
Step three: trimming your color layer
We obviously don’t want paint over top of the wings and other details, so it will be necessary to trim all those areas away. With your color layer selected, use the lasso tool to trace around any areas where you do not want color. I usually hold down the Option key on my keyboard and then click around the object to trace – this constrains the lasso to straight lines which makes it a lot easier to trace complex objects.
Now its time to go back and start trimming out all the areas you don’t want color. Use the Lasso tool for this.
Step four: adding highlights
Starting to look pretty good isn’t it? There are some more things we need to do in order for it to start looking realistic though. The biggest issue is the lack of highlights. The fuselage of an aircraft is essentially a large cylinder, and it’s not going to look realistic until you put a highlight right down the center of it. In order to do that, select the soft paint brush tool with a radius of 65 and change your primary fill color to white.
Create a new layer and simply draw a horizontal line with that soft brush across the entire length of the fuselage. Holding down the Shift key will constrain the line to be perfectly straight which really helps in situations like this. Don’t worry about coloring outside the lines – just put a nice highlight across the length of the fuselage, and we will trim away everything that spills over the edges in a moment.
Change your primary fill color to white and choose a soft brush with a radius of 65. Create a new layer, and paint a horizontal line with that brush across the length of the fuselage.
If it’s too sharp you can use the Gaussian Blur (Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur) tool to blur it out to your liking.
Once you got looking the way you like, we need to trim away all the white highlight that is spilling beyond the edges of the fuselage. Go back to your color layer, hover over the thumbnail icon of the layer and click it while holding down Command on your keyboard. This will select the entire color layer. Then go to Select > Inverse.
With the color layer still showing the marching ants around it, select the highlight layer and then press delete on your keyboard. This will delete all of the blurred white highlight that was extending outside the edges of the aircraft.
Don’t forget to trim away all the white highlight color that extends beyond the edges of the fuselage!
Step five: enhancing the details
Its starting to look like a real aircraft isn’t it? The only problem now is that we can’t see the windows anymore. While you could go through your layers and just delete everything that is covering each window, I would advise against that simply because you want to leave color and highlight layers intact as much as possible. Do not cut those up, because you never know when you need to go back and edit them in the future.
The easiest way to bring back the windows is to simply re-create them. It takes a few minutes but it’s totally worth it. You can do this by creating a new layer and then use the ellipse selection tool to trace an existing window. Fill that with black, and then duplicate that layer for each window using the position of the windows in my template as a guide. What you got all the windows re-created, it’s best just to combine all those window layers into one to keep things simple and organized.
With your bottom (aircraft) layer selected, recreate one window by tracing it with the ellipse selection tool, and then use a copy and paste command – this will automatically create a new layer with just this window in it.
Keep duplicating that new window layer until you have all the windows recreated. Then, combine all those layers into one and move them back into position. Make sure this new layer is above your color layer, or you’ll never see it!
Once you recreate your windows and place that layer over your color layer, this is what it should look like.
Step six: Bling!
One of my favorite parts about creating aircraft illustrations is adding the hard reflection on the vertical stabilizer. It’s the little details like this which will really make your illustration pop and give it tons of depth.
To create a hard reflection, simply trace the edges of the vertical stabilizer with the lasso tool.
Trace the vertical stabilizer with the lasso tool.
Create a new layer, and use the gradient tool to add a white gradient to the front edge of the vertical stabilizer.
As you can see, our first pass of this is much to bright. Since it’s on its own layer, increase the transparency of the layer so that it’s not so strong.
Select the linear gradient tool (foreground to transparent) with white as your primary color.
It’s a bit difficult to see in this screenshot, but notice how I am drawing a diagonal line with the linear gradient tool from the front edge of the vertical stabilizer to the center.
Then use the lasso tool draw a hard line down the center of the vertical stabilizer. Delete the left edge.
Trim away that gradient with the lasso tool. Select the area you don’t want, then press Delete on your keyboard.
This is what it looks like after trimming the reflection. Notice that I reduced the opacity of the reflection in the layers window – you don’t want it too strong!
It’s starting too look much more realistic now, but one thing that I don’t like about this is the hard reflection of the vertical stabilizer compared to the soft reflection on the fuselage. Let’s do something about that…
Selecting the layer for the soft highlight on the fuselage and then cutting it in half with the rectangular selection tool gives it the appearance of being a hard reflection – which matches the hard reflection of the vertical stabilizer. Much better!
So there you have it. Adding color to my free JPEG templates isn’t really that difficult, and you’ll get a lot better with practice. Of course my high resolution PSD templates are much easier to work with (because each element is on a separate layer), but working with these JPEG’s will seem like second nature once you get the hang of it.
Still have questions? Leave a comment below or feel free to email me if there’s something that you’re still getting stuck with. I’d love to help!
If you recall from my last post, I opened up the question about what my next template should be to all of you. I got a lot of responses and I really thank you for that – a lot more than I was expecting actually, which is quite good because it made my decision very easy. Most suggestions came in via email and Facebook direct messages, and I do appreciate everyone taking the time to offer suggestions for my next aircraft illustration.
The winner, which is not all that surprising considering recent events, was the Boeing 787-10. All of you aviation fans out there are probably aware that the 787-10 made it’s debut at the Paris air show this past week, and Boeing did an amazing job of showing this aircraft to the world. I know I was glued to the video stream when it was being announced – how about you?
The 787-10 has actually been at the top of my personal to-do list for quite some time. The problem was was there wasn’t really that much information about it up until this point and I didn’t really have enough reference material to go off to create an accurate template. But now that the aircraft is been officially announced with all the juicy specs and high res photos, it was perfect timing for me to go in and create these side view illustrations.
A technical side profile line drawing of a Boeing 787-10 over a white background with and without the landing gear deployed
I’ll be completely honest when I say it was a lot easier than I thought it was going to be. One of the things that I learned in my research was that it was Boeing’s goal to reuse as many components as they could from the 787-8 and -9, and that meant that I didn’t have to redraw a lot of new parts and pieces. The biggest change obviously, is the lengthened fuselage which is stretched nearly equally both front and rear. The other big change is the new main landing gear, but to me it doesn’t really look that much different from the previous version. So I didn’t have to do a whole lot with that – which is nice because it’s usually the landing gear mechanisms that take so long to draw. There were a few minor other differences and changes that I had to make but otherwise this was a very easy side view template to create.
Now that I’ve got three side view templates of the 787 completed, it feels natural for me to declare that I prefer the -10 the best. The -8 seemed a bit too short for my tastes, and while the -9 was starting to look better and more filled out, it just wasn’t enough. The proportions of this lengthened -10 seem to make everything right with the 787. There is just enough overhang front and rear to make it look substantial yet elegant and not at all awkward like the -8, though it almost seems like they could’ve used a taller vertical stabilizer and taller landing gear to help with the performance of this aircraft. But hey – I’m not aircraft engineer, and all I know is what looks good and what doesn’t. Math has never been my thing!
Speaking of not being an aircraft engineer, I have to wonder how much more Boeing can do with these existing components. Any larger versions of the 787 are most likely going to require a new wing, bigger engines, and a whole lot of new stuff under the hood for increased efficiency. At that point, will it still be a 787? I really have no idea and all we can do is just wait and see what Boeing is going to do.
I’d like to take this opportunity to say that the NEO versions of the Airbus baby buses (A319, A320, and A321) were the second most requested aircraft templates in my survey. Therefore, I will do those next. However, I need to manage expectations by letting you all know that there really isn’t that much of a visual difference from the current engine option (CEO) so please don’t expect something amazing! As far as I can tell, the new engine is only slightly larger than the current cm56 engine option and it’s a bit hard to see the differences in side view. No matter though – I will get started on them soon!
I’ve been looking forward to this one. The Boeing 717 is probably one of my all-time favorite airplanes due to how squat and tough it looks, and I’m convinced that it may be one of the best aircraft designs ever (well, besides the 757 that is). That’s just my option of course, but the proportions of each element are so perfectly balanced with one another that I can’t help but feel the urge to create illustration after illustration of this thing adorned in my favorite liveries (both real and fictitious). I haven’t been doing as many livery illustrations as I’ve wanted to lately, so this sounds like the perfect excuse to reprioritize my busy schedule…
I actually learned quite a bit about the 717 while creating these templates. For some reason or another I had always thought that the size of the wing had been increased over what was on the DC9 and MD80, but it’s actually the other way around. The wing has indeed been redesigned, but its actually quite a bit smaller with a shorter overall wingspan. It’s probably the greatly shortened fuselage that distorted my reality a bit, but I could have swore they made a much more agressive wing for this model.
Many other elements of the 717 have been greatly enhanced over it’s older siblings, however. The vertical stabilizer is an all new design, along with a much larger horizontal stabilizer. The engine is the other big change (both figuratively and literally), which to me, is what gives the 717 such an agressive look. I guess it’s just a guy thing. Those big Rolls-Royce BR715 turbofan engines look great on this little fuselage.
A technical side profile line drawing of a Boeing 717-200 over a white background with and without the landing gear deployed
The forward section of this airplane is largely a carryover from earlier versions, but combined with those big new engines and tail section, it looks like a totally new design. And can you imagine what this would look like with a more aggressive wing and winglets? There is most certainly no chance of Boeing re-opening the production line of the 717, but I really can’t help but wonder what 2017 tech the engineers would add to in now to make it even more efficient and powerful. I’m sure it would look even better than it already does!
My only complaint with the Boeing 717 is the name. Sorry Boeing, even though you merged with McDonnell Douglas in 1997 and took over every single part of that old company, the 717 will never truly be part of the Boeing family in my mind. A fine aircraft it is, but I kind of which they would have kept the MD name out of respect for the history of the brand.
Now that this template is complete, I’ve caught up with my own personal needs. There aren’t any other airliner templates I need to create for my travel blog right now, so I’m going to open it up to you and ask for suggestions. Please email me or leave a comment below with your suggestion as to what my next template should be. I’ll tally the responses and pick the #1 most-requested aircraft type. I really mean it! I feel like I’ve been really selfish over the last few months creating only what I want to create, so I encourage you to speak up if there is an aircraft you desperately need side view templates for.
Ok, here we go. My first Cessna template, and the smallest aircraft I’ve ever illustrated! I realize that the 208 is probably not the first aircraft people think of when imagining “Cessna”, but it’s a pretty neat little airplane that I’ve been lucky enough to fly on a few times over the years. It’s not exactly what I would consider “pretty” either, and as a matter of fact, this might be one of the least attractive airplanes I’ve ever drawn. But that doesn’t stop me from liking these things so much.
The 208 was a challenging aircraft to create a fully-detailed template for, and I ran into some issues that I haven’t had to deal with on any of my other illustrations. The biggest one was the windows. The windows of the 208 are so big and such a prominent part of the illustration, and I had a hard time trying to figure out how to illustrate them. Do I make them transparent or fully opaque? What about reflections? They take up so much surface area that I struggled to find ways to illustrate them in a way that wasn’t so plain and boring.
As you can see, I ultimately decided to make them black without any refections (or detail) at all. The problem with making them transparent was that there is very little detail that could be seen on the inside of the aircraft, so there was no point in making clear windows that didn’t reveal anything. And adding fancy details (such as reflections) was starting to call to much attention to the windows, when in reality, they are far from the most important part of the aircraft. So I just made them black. I figure that I would leave the detail up to you, the livery designers who use my templates, to decide how you want to illustrate them. If you don’t like the way I did it, you can simply trace over the windows I’ve made with something else that suits your style. And as always, I encourage that – do whatever you can to make these templates your own so you can stand out from the crowd!
A technical side profile line drawing of an Cessna 208 Grand Caravan over a white background
Another challenge of illustrating such a small aircraft was the fact that the scale is much different than some of my other (larger) airliner templates such as the A380-800 or 747-8i. This meant that all the little details such as hinges and sensors had to be a bit more detailed than usual, causing this template to take as much time to create as some of my other ones. It’s hard to hide little mistakes when the scale is so large! And on a related note, that need to be more accurate put a little bit more pressure on me as well. Why is it that the seemingly easiest templates to create are always the hardest?
Anyway, despite the challenges, I had a lot of fun creating a fully-detailed side view template for the Cessna 208 Grand Caravan. It was a nice change of pace from all the other types of aircraft I have done so far, which was kind of refreshing in a weird sort of way. These templates are so intricate and take so long to create, and my short attention span has a difficult time staying focused on the same thing over and over again. Maybe that’s a sign that I need to start finding some of the most oddball aircraft I can find if I have any hopes of spitting these things out at a more frequent pace…
I hope you like this one. The Boeing 717-200 is up next!
Now that I’ve got most of the current large airliners from Boeing and Airbus illustrated, it’s time to turn my attention toward some of the prop aircraft that I’ve been neglecting so badly over the last few years. I’ve received countless requests for both the ATR 42 and 72, and my apologies for not getting to them until now. I’ll get to everything, I promise! I may be old and gray by the time I finish, but as I said before, this airliner template thing is a lifelong project of mine that I’m never going to abandon completely.
So here we go. These are the side view templates for the ATR 72! It’s a neat little aircraft, and I’m fully willing to admit that I wasn’t all that familiar with it before I created these illustrations. They just aren’t that popular here in the US, and as a matter of fact, I travel quite a bit domestically and I’ve only been on two ATR 72’s in my entire life. That was with American Eagle between STL (St Louis, MO) and SBN (South Bend, IN) way back in 2001 and I’ve never run across another one since. However, there is a chance that I’ll get to fly on one between KOA (Kona, HI) and HNL (Honolulu, HI) on my Hawaiian vacation later this month. The website for Island Air says it’ll be either a ATR 72 or Q400, so I’m not really going to know for sure until the day of the flight. By the way, those of you who might be interested in reading about my travels can check out my travel blog – there’s lots of good airliner geek stuff over there too!
A technical side profile line drawing of an ATR 72 over a white background with and without the landing gear deployed
The ATR 72 ended up being a relatively easy aircraft to illustrate. There’s nothing cutting edge about the design at all, and the thing that made it especially easy was the fact that the majority of the landing gear is hidden behind the wheels and door flaps. Illustrating the landing gear mechanisms is by far the most time consuming part of every airliner template that I create, so not having to do it (or much of it) saves a ton of time. The main (rear) landing gear mechanism is exposed a bit, but it wasn’t too difficult to recreate the portions that are visible. I don’t recommend creating detailed engineering drawings from any of my templates though – there are a lot of details that I don’t draw in order to keep the drawings clean and nice.
I still need to tackle a couple other higher-priority aircraft first (Cessna Grand Caravan and the Boeing 717), but after those are complete I’ll circle back around and create the ATR 42 templates. It usually doesn’t take me long to create a derivative of an aircraft that I’ve already illustrated, so hopefully that remains true when I start taking sections out of this 72 to create the smaller version. More stuff coming soon!
Have you ever been so busy that you start feeling hopeless and just stop trying to keep up anymore? That’s the way I’ve been feeling about some of my side projects lately (including this blog), so I do apologize for the lack of posts recently. I’m still here – up to my eyeballs in Maya and Form Z 3D work as a matter of fact, as well as chipping away on my side view airliner template project. Trust me – there’s a lot going on even though it may not look like it! That’s the problem with being so busy unfortunately. Many people think I’m slacking because I haven’t made an appearance in a while, but the truth is that I’m probably the most productive I’ve ever been in my life. I just haven’t had the time to post anything…
I’ve got three more airliner templates I need to make over the next several months, so I figured that I’d post these 757-300 side view templates before getting started with those. I completed these illustrations about 6 weeks ago, but my lack of free time has kept me from posting these here. My apologies. I don’t think that the 757-300 is a very popular aircraft anyway – heck, I think I’ve received only 1 request for it since I started this template project so I know there are very few of you who are salivating at the mouth for it. But I needed it for another project of mine (which is starting to become a pattern, I know) so it was necessary to roll up my sleeves and stretch the 757-200 template I created two years ago.
A technical side profile line drawing of a Boeing 757-300 with winglets and rolls royce engines over a white background with and without the landing gear deployed
Stretching an existing template is always an uncomfortable experience for me. It may seem like the easiest thing in the world to anyone who hasn’t done it before, but once I start pushing and pulling the pixels to fit the proportions of the real airframe, I always take a step back, scratch my head, and start to wonder if I’ve made a huge mistake. Especially for oddballs like the 757-300 (and the A340-600 I just completed). The proportions of this thing are downright weird, with it’s super-long forward section and relatively stubby rear-end. I couldn’t believe that was right, even after double-checking the dimensions and making sure I didn’t make a mistake by adding one too many fuselage sections. But everything checks out – it’s an accurate template. Well, I wouldn’t build a real aircraft off of these drawings, but they’re close enough!
Apologies again for the gap in posts. And as far as the next four templates, I have to get started on those relatively soon since the completion of another project depends on them. If you want to know, those three templates are: the Boeing 717, the ATR 74, and the Cessna Grand Caravan. Time to get busy!