It’s so easy to get excited over a new project involving your rolling pride and joy, but it’s a whole other thing to actually make it turn out as expected. Before idea meets car, you need a plan, so here’s Daniel Maffett with advice on how to turn your thoughts into “Your Drive.”

DANIEL MAFFETT: The most important part of any project, or as I like to call it, a build, is the visualization process. Whenever someone comes to our shop with an idea, the first step of the process is visualization. You can use an online digital version of a visualization or, as I like to use, pen and paper. I like to draw out every idea we have on pen and paper, because you can get an idea very quickly of where the light hits it, where the shadow falls, where the highlights might be, and what area of the project might complement with a graphic.

So, what I like to do is get all of my lines out, figure out where everything’s gonna be, and then, start just drawing in where I might see a graphic on this project. Once you get a solid idea where your graphics going to fall, and you’re happy with it on pen and ink, then you go to your car.

And on the car, I like to use simple painter’s tape. This is paint safe, you’re not going to damage the project by using it for reference. But, you start with a fine line, and you figure where you want that line to start, and this body line on this car is really great; curves right around here all the way to the back of the car, so that is the one that I’m going to accentuate here. So, with that fine line on here all nice and curved, that’s going to be my guide for my thicker tape. Now, this is thicker, it’s not going to bend as easy as this, but it’s good for reference. Pull a big line like that, follow it all the way down the hood, and don’t worry about creases or wrinkles, cause it’s just so you can get your idea out; it’s kind of a sketch on the car with tape.

Now, if you want to get complex and a little more advanced, you can use an even thinner piece of tape, and lay out what I like to do in my shop is I use this to lay out flames and complex graphics just like this. You can get a really quick line like that and you can lay it right back over itself and it gives you a very fast idea of where your graphics might go. So, once you have your idea down on pen and ink, and visualize it there, you can move to a physical, on the car, with some design aids like tape. If you have any questions, hit us up here, at MotorWeek.