Just to preface this post. Buy and use OEM if available, any pictures are (c) their respective brands or companies. None of this is for sale and for my own learning exercise & personal use.
It’s too easy to use the Internet for pictures, logos or files when you’re painting something, restoring it back to how it was or how it should have been. eBay has a vast number of listings for decals, logos or stickers to replace the one(s) you have. Also, Google as it does has nicely indexed a plethora of sites that have pictures of what you need. You can always buy OEM, preferable in my opinion, if available.
Excluding the OEM option there’s pro’s and con’s to the others, my thoughts are always:
- It’s too easy
- Where’s the fun in that
- I’m not learning while doing
- Making mistakes whilst painful is progress
If it’s a very complex logo, sign or script, sure there are some great companies out there like Classic Transfers, I’ve used them for many many year for my own projects.
If it’s something more manageable, I may use it again or it’s unobtainable then I’ve found this process to be useful albeit it has some caveats.
The learning process
- Find an original. Always best to work from a good known original ‘physical’ item. Not a picture taken by someone you don’t know. Take dimensions, you may have to return an original if borrowed.
- Camera angle can skew your final result
- A lack of detail will mess with your results
- Trace. Use a very thin sketching paper, something like the link shows. On a roll, very thin and transparent.
- Stretch and tape over the original item and trace with a fine nib pen. Be as accurate as possible but it doesn’t matter if you wobble or make mistakes as this is only used as a reference.
- The paper will take on the contour of any non flat item which is really useful.
- Scan. Flatten the paper after tracing and scan in to your computer. VueScan is a great tool if you have old/new scanners and old/new computers. It’s worth registering.
- Vectorise. Using something like Affinity Designer, trace your scanned image carefully. It’s worth buying as it’s just a single perpetual license, great value.
- Check. Use the dimensions taken earlier to scale and print your image or logo. I stick this on to a clear plastic sheet or cut down folder sleeve and check agains the original by overlaying it.
- Finesse to a good replica of the original
The results can be exacting giving you great results, especially when the item may not be available and you need to paint it yourself.