United Airlines DC-10-30 side view drawing

I just recently finished a blank McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30 template, and it’s no surprise that I chose the United Airlines Saul Bass livery as one of my first painted versions of it. This color scheme, combined with this aircraft, is pretty much exactly what I think of when I think of United Airlines to this day. Gee…can you tell that I am a child of the 80′s? I remember the sight of what seemed like an entire terminal at DEN (Stapleton) full of United Airlines DC-10′s during a stopover there during a family trip out west back in 1989, and that image has stuck with me pretty well. It was a pretty cool sight to see, but I was super-bummed that we didn’t get a ride on one of them. Instead, we got a lowly ‘ol 727 for our connecting flight to BOI. It totally bummed me out.

Anyway, I think this is a great livery. The cheat line is so 1980′s, and the colors are borderline tacky by today’s standards. But that’s what makes it so great! It’s iconic, highly representative of it’s time, and it helped build a strong identity for one of the largest airlines in the world. It’s a significant part of Untied Airlines history.

That’s precisely the reason why I was am disappointed in the latest United livery. To me, they missed a great opportunity to pay tribute to the United brand and evolve the tulip design forward into the future. Instead, we got the old Continental color scheme with United titles plastered on the front.

But at least I had fun creating this illustration. I love doing stuff like this!

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  1. Manuel

    Hello Scott;
    Great illustrations and thanks for posting them.
    I find myself at the cross-roads of 20 years of CAD (civil-drafting) and totally sick of it.!
    I bought a student licence for Solidworks, to begin my 3d walk.
    Can I ask you if / or what platform would you recommend for somebody like me to begin
    a 3d training? My dream has always been to be able to work or draw Aviation related subjects..
    and I’ll leave the civil opening for somebody who needs it…


  2. Norebbo Author

    @ Manuel – that’s awesome! It’s always nice to see people following their passions in life. I normally recommend FormZ for anyone looking to get started in 3d, but to be honest, my opinion is that it’s toolset is too complicated for complex / organic surfaces (which you’ll need to build if you want to do aviation-related work). I don’t have any experience with Solidworks, but have you considered polygon modeling with something like 3ds Max or Maya? I’ve been a solid modeler for years, but last year I started building polygon models in Maya I quickly found how easy it was to build really complex surfaces that I could never do in FormZ.

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