The 30 second plane project

How do most people draw an aeroplane? With a 30 second time limit and banned from doing any research, our artists were asked to draw a plane. Let’s have a look at the results. If you’d like to add a drawing to this project, please send it to @hush_kit on Twitter. 

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Joel Tom Long is a rapper and charity fundraiser based in Bristol. His drawing appears to be of of a mid-wing, high-tailed airliner. The swept wings suggest that it would be jet-propelled but no engines are apparent (maybe he ran out of time). The pitot or instrumentation probe suggests this may be a prototype or test aircraft. The undercarriage consists of a single nose wheel and no main unit. The high wing sweep makes it likely that it is an aircraft that operates at speeds above Mach 0.8. The operator is one previously unknown ‘Cunt Airways’. It is not known whether this fictional airline is based on the now-defunct Madrid-based Air Comet (who lost the author’s bags and took four days to return them). The form is an expression of speed which may have been influenced by the cancelled East German Baade 152.

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This friendly, rather fish-like machine was drawn by the animator Ruth Lingford. Its elliptical wings are reminiscent of R.J Mitchell’s Spitfire and its general ‘doughiness’ reminds the viewer of Maurice Sendak’s dough plane from his ‘Midnight Kitchen’. This aeroplane has no visible means of propulsion or windows for its crew. The tail assembly is very small, meaning that this design could have serious controllability issues. The overall shape suggests that this would be a pre-1950 piston-engined aircraft. The organic lines call to mind the aborted Bugatti 100P Racer.

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Krystal Turner’s aircraft is a happy living entity. It is doubly anthropomorphised–  having both a friendly mouth and being able to talk. This is yet another 30-second plane without engines but does score highly in having windows for the crew and passengers as well as a front and rear undercarriage, though it does lack a horizontal tailplane. It appears to be a jetliner but with a large bulky fuselage suggesting a strong secondary freighting role.

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Charlotte Florence Wormley-Healing’s very stylish aircraft lacks in realism but gains points for its expressive dash. This advanced airliner has no tail assembly and large, possibly variable-geometry wings. Perhaps this is based on Barnes Wallis’ futuristic Swallow proposal from the 1950s? According to Charlotte the aircraft features ‘Jazzy wings’, reference to the exciting wiggly mural emblazoned on the upper-surfaces of the wings. An advanced fly-by-wire control system would be necessary to solve the severe centre of gravity issues caused by the unorthodox arrangement. The confident line work and baguette-like form are delightful and make you want to eat a sandwich.

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Artist and guide Edward Ward’s aircraft scores the highest in terms of both realism and inclusion of parts. To be fair though, Ed cheated as he is a professional illustrator and aviation expert. However, he gains back points for how cute and lovely this radial-engined open-cockpit aircraft is.

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Kane Martindale’s drawing is very exciting and suggests an aircraft with a story. It combines the happy dog-like features of some of the earlier images with the doughy-fish-like forms introduced by Ruth Lingford. Its well-depicted turbofan engines are a breath of fresh air as are its Soviet air force markings and the inclusion of the call to action slogan,’Yeah!’. Like Joel’s aircraft, it includes a nose probe of some kind. The large dorsal shark fin is a surprising feature that may have been added to cure directional issues or to house an electronically scanning radar or satellite communication device. It is not known where the air intake for the rear central reheated engine is located (unless this is a rocket engine). The aircraft has a crew of two and room for at least twenty passengers (assuming a two abreast configuration).

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Heathcote Ruthven has drawn his aeroplane on the side of a pear. His Primitivist depiction may be a reference to the Cargo Cult or a general reflection on how low-technology societies would view the modern aeroplane. It has many windows on the side and appears to have a sensor turret below the forward fuselage (perhaps indicative of an intelligence, surveillance or reconnaissance role).

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Clemens Vasters from Viersen-Dülken, Germany has gone for an aircraft based on Concorde but with some influences from the Avro Vulcan. Clemens demonstrates a good understanding of the shape of aeroplanes combined with an unwillingness to use paper the normal way up.


9. Michael Piper’s highly unorthodox aircraft combines features of a fighter – the bubble canopy, large radome and sharp forward fuselage features – with a capacity for passengers and forward swept wings. Forward swept wings, despite their aerodynamic advantages have rarely made it onto production aircraft, perhaps the wings on this are a reference to the Hamburger Flugzeugbau HFB-320 Hansa Jet. I’m not sure why so many 30 second aircraft look like obscure German jetliners. Attention is drawn away from the absence of horizontal tailplanes by the operator’s logo- a large vampire baby’s head.

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James Sanna’s moving portrayal of the last few moments of a crashing C-47 is a stark reminder of our mortality. Showing through the back of the paper are voyeuristic glimpses into Sanna’s early works which are full of an optimism absent from his submitted work. The viewer is forced into becoming a peeping tom in this dangerous and confrontational debate on life and sexuality.

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Despite having a sophisticated grasp of perspective, Sally Megee’s piece is about innocence, just one of the many contradictions in this work. Why is the nose a motorcycle helmet? Perhaps because this is not an aeroplane at all but an adventurer on a journey into a dreamworld. Despite the quaint Saint-Exupéry-esque stars this is a dark metaphorical flight – could it be a reference to the metaphysical, while very real, ‘Flight to Arras’? And why is God striking the wing with lightning and punishing this gentle traveller? Perhaps this is a fierce critique of a 20th Century robbed of God by Nietzsche and destroyed by the wills of ambitious and cruel men.

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A very lovely Blackburn Roc from a man by the unusual name of Mossie 633 (60yrs, male, Japan). Confident, skilled line-work and an excellent memory of what a Roc looks like combine in this very pleasing doodle. Was his choice of such a terrible aeroplane a subtle criticism of Britain and a comment on how a post-colonial power has lost its way? I guess we’ll never know (unless we ask him).





Add your 30 sec plane to the gallery!


  1. spyintheskyuk

    A little bit scared by the thought of someone actually analysing a plane doodle as a comment upon the loss of ‘God’ in society in the past century and the resulting evil of mankind. Time perhaps to stop being an ‘psycho analyst’ and start seeking one perhaps.

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