1. Body Patterns
Every country has their unique body pattern. Whether it's the USA's classic Hill Scheme, to the JASDF Maritime Blue, or Russia's beautiful camos, each faction and air force have their own unique body pattern, bland or colorful. A body pattern can simply be one flat color, two colors, and can range to a whole mix of colors. But the key to defining a body pattern is that it needs to encompass the whole aircraft (in most cases). They are the easiest way for identification, and if used correctly can have some really amazing results. Here are some examples for you:
2. Body Shapes/Markings
Another option you can add to your aircraft are body shapes. The shapes can contour with the aircraft, or be completely random. Whatever the case is, body shapes, if placed correctly, can be amazingly beautiful and make your aircraft stand out even more. Careful to be subtle with body shapes, however - a general rule of thumb for me is if the more intricate the design is, the less colors you should use, and vice versa. Choosing a 2 color scheme can be easily made to look nice if the patterns are intricate, while a strong contrasted shape can dramatically change the attitude of your paint scheme. Examples:
3. Tail Designs/Art
Generally, tail designs, markings and art are the pieces that "tie in" the whole design. If a tail is left blank, more often then not the plane almost looks unfinished. But defining your tail markings and designs are one of the best things to make your aircraft different from everyone else's. There are so many different ways to do tails - here are just a few examples for you:
1. Be creative...
This one is a given. The more creative you are with your squad schemes, the better they turn out to be. But you need to be careful about putting TOO much or too intricate stuff into your squad paint job, which brings me to my next point:
2. ...but don't over do it.
Designs that are too colorful hurt the eye, and make you stand out like a sore thumb. Your squad paint scheme has a practical purpose (somewhat) as well, so try to select your squad's colors based upon your preferred style of play. Refer to the examples given below.
3. Draw it out first.
Grab a screencap of your plane or a three view off the internet, and bring it into MSPaint or Photoshop, whatever you prefer. Photoshop obviously works the best, but if you don't have access to photoshop, try GIMP. The more planning and testing you do before hand, the better your paint jobs come out to be. Ask people! Look at other countries or video games for inspiration. Color schemes can be easily found many places on the internet. Refer to racing car paintjobs, display teams, and even graffiti as examples.
4. Make it serve a purpose.
My general rule of thumb is this: The camo marks the purpose of the aircraft, the markings/shapes identify the squadron, and the logo/decals finish it off with a trademark. If you're a recon squad that flies high altitude recon missions during the day time, consider a white or light blue underside to your aircraft, with a medium grey to cobalt-ish top. If you're a group that takes priority as low strikers in forest/grassy areas, consider green upper camo and gull grey underside. And if you're a forward air control group, bright patterns would be your thing.