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How to Create Motorcycle Paint Schemes

Updated April 17, 2017

What's the fun in owning a motorcycle if you can't add your own personal style to it? One of the best ways to set your ride apart from the rest is to create and apply your own motorcycle paint scheme.

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There are endless options. Do you want a bold look, or something subdued? Is a classic, streamlined look better than an over-the-top detailed design? The choice is yours. You can even choose a theme: there are motorcycles on the road with paint schemes that range from Superman to Skittles.

Before you break out your paint gun, take the time to create a motorcycle paint scheme on paper or on your computer graphics program. Check out these tips below to get started.

  1. Draw your motorcycle on a piece of paper. You need to include the left- and right-side views, front view and overhead view. Instead of using paper, you can make your drawings on a computer graphics program.

  2. Colour in your desired motorcycle paint scheme. If you will be painting by hand, try to create a design you can easily paint onto the motorcycle: your drawing shouldn't be so complicated that it's impossible to recreate on the actual bodywork.

  3. Make sure your design looks good from all views: left, right, front and overhead. The left and right sides will often mirror each other, but they need to meet seamlessly along the top of the motorcycle (usually on the tank and tailpiece).

  4. Step back from your drawing and consider how the design will look while riding. You want your motorcycle paint scheme to look good when you're both riding and parked. Ask yourself: Do the colours stand out? Is the design big enough to be easily seen?

  5. When you design your motorcycle paint scheme, take openings in the bodywork as well as curves into consideration. What looks good on the flat surface of your paper may not look as good on a curved piece of bodywork.

  6. Tip

    If you don't like your design, start over: that's the beauty of drawing before you paint. If you're using decals, remember to incorporate them into your design.


    Don't make your design details so small that they aren't easy to see. Don't design a paint scheme so intricate that you can't recreate the look on your motorcycle.

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Things You'll Need

  • Computer graphics program
  • Paper
  • Coloured pens

About the Author

Elizabeth Dolgner

Elizabeth Dolgner is a freelance writer with over a decade of experience. Dolgner now works in the motorsports industry, writing for "2Wheel Tuner," "Roadracing World," "Grassroots Motorsports," and other publications. She is also an author and has published two books. Dolgner holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Florida Atlantic University.

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