Some people use other techniques such as pricking through a paper template, taping it to the boat panel and then applying a dusting of chalk so that when the template is removed you have an outline in little chalk dots to work to. That could work and I might try it yet.
Others use stencils, but I can't see that working all that well - too much risk of paint bleed under the edges I would have thought.
The best real signwriters of course do it entirely freehand using a practiced eye for proportion and spacing and a steady hand with the brush. I would dearly love to do that, but I'm not sure I dare. Using my method I get some freehand, but guided by measured lines top and bottom.
I must be mad to take this on with all the other things we have to do.
In the meantime, I have not been slacking. I have stripped the majority of the rear deck sides and bulkheads down to bare metal, just leaving the nooks and crannies to do by hand. The amount of dust generated is phenomenal. When I finished yesterday my face had a colour not unlike an American native Indian. Rather sexy I thought, although I don't think anyone else did.
Its a good job I wasn't attempting signwriting last night. My hands were still shaking from having been using the angle grinder for hours. Instead I went out with Rob and Pete and we played at a local music session where I found I had developed a very impressive vibrato on my smallpipes!