All posts tagged: 777-200
boeing 777f cargo side view
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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!

boeing 777f side view line blueprint

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.

british airways 777 side view illustration
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One of the most interesting things about being a visual designer is that it is very easy to track personal growth over the years. I learn something new with each illustration I create and it’s fun to look back and see how far I’ve come! This British Airways 777 illustration is a perfect example of that. Let me explain…

I was quite proud of my British Airways A380 illustration two years ago when I created it, but comparing that drawing with this 777 is a night and day comparison. The Union Jack colors on my A380 are dark and muddy, and some of the details on the aircraft itself are too bold and heavy (such as the part lines). I’ve since learned to exaggerate colors a bit, keep the shadows light and transparent, and tone town the little details as much as possible. This helps to make the illustration to look more like a photo rather than a drawing, and I feel like I’m making pretty good progress with this stuff. I’m far from an expert at airliner art, but it’s fun to keep learning and refining my craft.

The flip side of all this growth is that it makes me feel ashamed about some of my older work and it’s difficult for me to resist the urge to delete it all from this blog. Of course I’m not going to do that – being able to see (and analyze) a linear path of growth and learning is an essential part of being a successful illustrator. But it still doesn’t make me feel comfortable!

Anyway, creating this British Airways 777 was fun – and challenging. I didn’t realize it before doing this illustration, but there are several versions of the Union Jack flag on these BA 777’s. The shape and complexity of the wave is different, and the newer version is a bit more wavy with smoother highlights. This illustration, by the way, features the older version on aircraft G-YMMS. I’m surprised they even made that change at all because I’m willing to bet that most people wouldn’t even notice that kind of thing.

Malaysia Airlines 777-2H6ER 9M-MRO
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Approximately one week ago, Malaysia Airlines flight 370 went missing on a routine flight from Kuala Lumpur (KUL) to Beijing (PEK). Most naturally assumed that it crashed into the sea somewhere between Malaysia and Vietnam, but no wreckage has been found as of yet – and the fate of the 227 passengers and 12 crew onboard is still unknown. There have been conflicting reports of what really happened, but the fact of the matter is that a week of intense searching has turned up nothing. It’s certainly one of the most bizarre (and sad) aviation incidents that I have ever followed.

I had a half-finished Malaysia Airlines 777-200/ER illustration in my archives for about a year now, and I decided to finish it up last night. These illustrations are really time consuming, and I usually spend hours pouring over reference photos of real aircraft to make them as accurate as possible. Being so intensely focused on the details of this particular 777 (registration 9M-MRO) made the process difficult, as I couldn’t help but think about what those people onboard went through. Or perhaps they are still alive and waiting to be rescued? It’s chilling to think about, and I can’t even imagine what the family and friends of those onboard MH370 are feeling at the moment.

AA 777-200 in the One World livery
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It’s been about a year now since American Airlines introduced their new livery, and it’s been controversial to say the least. So controversial, in fact, that American Airlines recently asked their employees if it should stay or go. The results of that poll were close, but long story short – this color scheme is here to stay.

Personally, I really like this new design. It’s a modern take on an old classic, and I’m glad they took some risks to make a livery that stands out from the crowd. The tail art is busy but fresh, and it blends well with the new silver paint applied to the fuselage. The only issue I can see is that the new corporate logo they designed doesn’t seem to have any relationship to the tail art (at all). I don’t think that it necessarily has to, but a lot of people see that as a huge disconnect.

Anyway, I had fun creating these side-view illustrations of this One World livery Boeing 777-200/ER. I chose to do the One World livery instead of the standard AA version, being that it’s slightly more interesting and rare. And now that I’ve spent some time working on it, I’ll go as far to say that it’s one of my favorite airline liveries now – even more so than the Sun Country 737-800 I just illustrated. I’m a fan.

AA 777-200

Side view illustrations of a Boeing 777-200 with the American Airlines / One World livery over a white background

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Although I’ve seen this livery in pictures, it wasn’t until I actually saw it up close and personal at Tokyo Narita International Airport (NRT/JRAA) a few months back that it really caught my attention. I’m a pretty big fan of airline logos and branding, and this Skyteam example is a pretty good example of what I like in airline livery design.

I’m well known for my simplistic approach to illustration and design, so it shouldn’t be surprising to know that I’m drawn to clean solutions to complex design problems. The complexity in creating an alliance-themed airline livery (as shown in the illustration above) is the fact that it ultimately needs to promote the alliance without obscuring the owner / airline of the airplane. This Korean Air Skyteam livery does both fairly well, though I personally would like to see better integration of the Korean Air titles into the design. I’m not sure how realistic that would be, however, as other Skyteam airlines use this livery on some of their aircraft – so I understand why the designers just placed it where they did without much integration. This allows the most flexibility for all applications.

The colors are balanced, and the Skyteam logo lends itself well to be used in such a large way on the rear section of the fuselage. It’s hard to tell in pictures – as well as my illustration above – that the gray background color is actually a highly metallic silver that looks downright incredible in the right light. knowing that I approach my airliner art with archival purposes in mind (rather than artistic) I resisted the urge to blast it with harsh warm light that would make this illustration really sing.

new american airlines livery on a boeing 777-200
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Like it or not, this is the new look for American Airlines. Even though we all knew this was coming, I was actually at a loss for words when I first saw it. It was nothing like I thought it would be. I knew that the iconic polished aluminum fuselage was history, and that silver paint would be used instead. And I had a pretty good feeling that they would stick with a red, white, and blue color scheme. But the tail. That tail! I was hoping to see something a bit organic and flowing, but instead we got hard-edged and highly abstract American flag. The concept in and of itself is good – I like the idea of incorporating the flag into the livery. But I personally feel it’s too busy and not complimentary to the new logo (which, as a matter of fact, I love).

Now that this new livery has had a day or so to sink in, I thought it would be good to create an illustration of it on a Boeing 777-200LR (N773AN). This helps me to examine the livery on a nearly microscopic level, in much more detail than I ever could just by looking at a few low-res pics found on the internet. And you know what? I think American Airlines has got itself a winner here. Yes, now that I’ve had the chance to have a really deep look at it, I love the attention to detail – especially in the tail. I do still think it’s too busy and not playing well with the logo, but there are some beautiful gradients and textures in the tail that I didn’t notice until I did these illustrations.

The new American Airlines logo is the best part of this livery, and I think it’s a natural evolution of the classic “AA” eagle logo of today (er..yesterday). It’s unfortunate that they didn’t place it on the tail though, as the darn thing is in the shape of an aircraft vertical stabilizer for crying out loud. And since I’m talking about things that I would do different, don’t you think that some color on the engines and /or winglets would look sharp? I do.

Hey – I know it’s easy to be a critic, and even though I have a lot of bad things to say about this, I still think that Futurebrands did a great job. It’s not easy to take something as iconic as the 30+ year old American Airlines identity and give it a modern look. No matter what they did, they were undoubtedly going to tick some people off. But this shall pass, and this new livery will seem “normal” in no time at all.

star alliance 777 drawing
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I’ve never been a big fan of the recent white and black Star Alliance liveries, mostly because I think they are too plain and unimaginative. My perception has changed slightly after creating this illustration – primarily because it was necessary to really study this design (more than I ever have in the past) and I started to see details that I never saw before. First, I think the Star Alliance font is simply beautiful. It’s the perfect weight and thickness for a billboard-style use such as this, and it’s san serif style oozes class and professionalism. Second, the Star Alliance logo really is nice. Yes, I’ve seen it a million times before, but it wasn’t until I recreated it myself for this illustration that I realized how elegant it really is. The subtle gradient and silver tones really pop against the black tail color.

This particular United / Star Alliance livery was based on the 1998 United color scheme designed by Pentagram, so that’s the reason for the blue engines (which would otherwise look out of place if it weren’t for this relationship). I also find it interesting that United’s most recent Star Alliance livery doesn’t have any blue in it – or any color at all – and it’s kind of dull compared to this one.

On a side note, I think it would be interesting if the Star Alliance liveries had a lot more silver and black in them. The white fuselage is clean and simple, yet oh-so-boring. These are special liveries after all, so I think they should have went all-out and done something really different. Perhaps a silver fuselage with a black tail? I know, that’s probably too similar to the SkyTeam special liveries – but it is really sharp.

emirates 777 side view drawing
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I finally finished illustrating a Boeing 777-200 template! Yeah, my time has been severely limited with a crazy work schedule and the Thanksgiving holiday a couple weeks ago. All in all, it took about two weeks to create the line-drawing and about another week to do the livery. But now that I have the basic all-white version of this 777 illustrated, new liveries shouldn’t take so long (probably just a day or so each).

Even before I started gathering reference material to draw this aircraft, I knew that I wanted to paint it in the Emirates livery. I like big airplanes – so it probably makes a whole lot of sense that I have developed a strong interest in this nearly all-widebody airline. I’ve never had the chance to fly with them (yet), but my bucket list includes a trip to DXB aboard an Emirates A380 in first class. I’ll do it someday, but right now there are no immediate plans for a trip like that.

As far as the livery goes, Emirates is one of my favorites. The abstract UAE flag at the rear of the plane flows beautifully from the vertical stabilizer into the fuselage, and the gold billboard titles at the front compliments the colors of the flag nicely. But just like all modern airline color shemes, there is a bit too much white for my liking. I know, I know. Paint is costly (in both labor and weight) but I think they could have done some really interesting things with the flag extending further into the fuselage than it does now.

Anyway, I’m glad to have the basic 777-200 template completed so that I can start creating some more.

blank 777-200 illustration
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Finally! I finished my latest airliner template set! I’ll tell you what, these blank templates take a long time to create, and its hard to keep the motivation to finish as I’m sorting through piles of reference material to make sure that I’m illustrating these as accurately as possible. To be honest though, this Boeing 777-200 wasn’t as bad as the DC-10 and 737-800 that I’ve already created. Since this is a relatively new (and highly popular) aircraft, there are tons of good photos and illustrations floating around that I can use to help me make these drawings.

Boeing 777-200 line drawing

Technical line drawing of a Boeing 777-200

I did have a bit of trouble with the landing gears though – so don’t blast me too hard if they don’t look totally accurate. I drew them way too large at first – and I didn’t notice it until I finished these drawings (it always happens that way). I kept looking at them thinking that something was wrong, but I just couldn’t put my finger on what it was. I compared them to my reference photos, and I ultimately made the realization that I had made them too big. So I spent a little bit of time fine-tuning the scale of those components, and the result is what you see here. But now I’m starting to wonder if they are still a bit too large…

I’m also quite anxious to make a template for the 777-300. Considering that I should be able to reuse a lot of what I’ve already done here with the -200 variant, I don’t expect that to take too long to do. So be on the lookout for that.