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how to draw planes filled with beautiful shadows

How to draw planes

Learn how to draw planes using this fun tutorial featuring a nice version filled with cool digital effects. Indeed, I will show you how to add shadows and highlights to create a vehicle that is visually appealing and quite realistic (for a cartoon illustration that is). Let's see how we can come up with the cool illustration below in eight easy steps using a vector application.

creating the body of the objects

First, we need to sketch the fuselage, the wings and the stabilizers. To do so, you need to add a wide variety of long curved lines as shown below. We can add a little bit of perspective too using an angle that is more dynamic rather than simply drawing a front view or a side view.

How to draw planes

adding more details inside the plane

Next, we can draw four small windows and sketch a few lines on the wings and stabilizers. Of course, it's always possible to add more details or textures in this image if you want to, but for now I think this version is more than enough to create something appealing.

How to draw planes

Colors to begin with

In this step, we can add some plain colors to begin our journey in the most challenging part of this lesson. Windows are blue and the top of the fuselage and the wings are filled with a light gray color. A darker color is used on the tip of all wings and stabilizers as well as on the bottom of the fuselage.

How to draw planes

gradient fills to create some depth

Adding a second color inside a shape can help create more depth and volume. For instance, you can use a dark blue color on the bottom of the windows and a brighter version on top. Use the same recipe for all elements visible on this cartoon plane.

How to draw planes

Now the real fun begins

It's time to create a few shadows to create even more volume inside this illustration. All these new shapes are dark and partially transparent to make sure that the result is realistic and genuine.

These new shadows are added on the bottom of all windows, on top of the fuselage, near the tip of the plane and below both wings that are located on the right of the image.

How to draw planes

highlights to go one step further

So far in this lesson on how to draw planes, we have created a few dark shadows to create more depth inside the picture. The next step is to draw solid shapes (colored in white) to form highlights (or brighter areas). Let's start with the windows. Just like the shadows drawn previously, we need to make sure that these white shapes are partially transparent on the bottom.

How to draw planes

More highlights to create more reflections

Use the same technique on the other parts of the planes to create a shiny object. Creating realistic reflections is extremely important to turn an average illustration into something cool and special.

How to draw planes

Learning how to draw planes can be a fun exercise

Below you can see the final version of the illustration. See how adding simple shadows and highlights can make a huge difference? If you want to try a simpler version, then you can also learn how to draw a cartoon plane in just a few basic steps here.

How to draw planes
How to draw planes

Above you can see all eight steps required to illustrate this plane quickly and properly. I hope you had fun learning how to draw planes and don't forget to practice often using new angles, new textures and new airplane models. As long as you are drawing every day, you will get better and better without even noticing it! More vehicles can be found below. :)

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