I like to go with vintage themes when it comes to my design projects, as it's a part of my lifestyle. (My husband and I travel full time, love Rt. 66 and are working on our next home-on-wheels, which is a 1963 Starliner bus.) I'm not trying to copy Annica's vintage letters... promise! :-P
I don't have a lot of vintage signs near my current location, so I opted to use Pinterest images as inspiration.
Just as a fun tidbit, this is our "home on wheels." My husband and I are both photographers, and one of his ongoing projects is photographing vintage service stations around the country. (You can see why I lean toward a vintage theme :-) )
Here are my six concept sketches. With this style, it was tricky to visualize how this would look once colorized... especially with the shadows and glowing neon.
In tracing my alphabet, I'm working in three layers: One for the letter frame, one for the neon and one for the light bulbs. I'm not even sure that will be necessary, but at least I'll have the flexibility. This part is time-consuming! I look forward to getting these scanned and digitized :-)
I brought the individual elements into Illustrator and cleaned things up a little. I like the hand-drawn look so I tried not to smooth things out too much.
In my final alphabet, I added a drop shadow on the letters as well as a white element in the bulbs.