In this tutorial, we will draw an electric guitar in Photoshop. We will start by tracing its shape in Adobe Illustrator and then export those paths to Photoshop to add the final touches. Let’s get started!
The following assets were used during the production of this tutorial.
Step 1: Tracing
Grab the stock photo from Photodune and then open it in Photoshop. We want to rotate the guitar. Activate Crop tool and then click and drag outside the crop selection area to rotate the guitar. In earlier versions of Photoshop, you need to select all (Command/Ctrl + A), cut it to new layer (Command/Ctrl + Shift + J), and then rotate it (Command/Ctrl + T).
You may also want to expand the canvas area so it is slightly bigger. Save the file.
Open the file in Illustrator. In the Option Bar, click Document Setup.
Click Edit Artboard.
Drag the canvas bounding box until it fits the image. Now, the canvas size is equal to the image. This way, our path will be easier to export to Photoshop later in this tutorial.
Activate Pen tool and set Fill and Stroke to None and Black. Make new layer to place traced path in separate layer. Make sure to lock the reference photo.
Start by tracing its main body.
See details below.
Select the path and click Object > Path > Offset Path.
Click OK to make new path.
Trace its highlight too, still using Pen tool.
Trace its pickguard.
Use combination of rounded rectangle tool and elliptical tool to draw a screw.
Select the screw and alt-drag to duplicate it.
Repeat this process.
Draw pickups, made from rounded rectangle and some circles inside it.
Draw its boot straps.
Trace its output jack.
Manually draw its bridge and tailpiece.
Draw its neck. Start by making a rounded rectangle and then pull its upper corner closer together.
Draw some small rectangles for its frets.
Select all the rectangles and then hit Command/Ctrl + G to put them on a group.
Duplicate neck shape. Select both the neck and the rectangles group. Open Pathfinder panel and select Divide.
Remove unneeded path.
This is the result. Add some small circles for position marker.
Draw its headstock.
Again, draw its rear shape.
Trace the tuning keys and machine heads.
Add screw on the headstock.
Add line connecting machine heads and tailpiece.
The first string should be thicker and gradually thinner.
Select the string and then click Object > Expand. This will convert it from line into shape.
Draw a big circle and a small circle inside it.
Activate Rotate tool. Hold Command/Ctrl and drag its rotation pivot point to center of the big circle.
Click once to open the rotate dialog box. Set its angle to 20 degree and click Copy
HIt Command/Ctrl + D to repeat this transformation.
Duplicate big circle and then resize while holding Alt to get smaller circle in same origin.
Draw a line.
Right click and select Rotate. Set its angle to 5 degree and click Copy.
Hit Command/Ctrl + D to repeat the duplication process until we have full circle.
Add text on center of the knob.
Select the lines and set their Stroke width to 2 pt.
Select all the lines and then click Object > Expand.
Select all the lines and click Unite on the Pathfinder panel.
Duplicate the knob by alt-dragging it.
Draw a thick line.
Click Object > Expand.
Add a rounded rectangle on its tip.
Step 46: Export to Photoshop
Select all the paths. Click Edit > Copy.
Open the image in Photoshop and then paste it as Path.
Reposition the path onto the reference until both are match. Hit Command/Ctrl + T and resize the path if necessary.
Step 49: Main Body
Select the main body path using Path Selection tool. Duplicate it to separate path by copying it and paste it on new path. Click Layer > New Fill Layer > Solid Color. Select #cc6a07 for its color.
Add following Layer Styles.
And here’s the result.
I notice that its upper part is not dark enough. Activate Brush tool and then Command/Ctrl-click its upper to sample its color and paint on those area.
Hit Command/Ctrl + Alt + G to convert the layer to Clipping Mask. The dark pixels will goes inside the main body.
Grab fine wood texture.
Add layer mask and paint black to hide some of the textures.
Change its blend mode to Multiply and reduce its Opacity. Convert the layer to Clipping by hitting Command/Ctrl + Alt + G. This way, no texture spilled outside the main body.
Command/Ctrl-click main body layer to make new selection based on its shape. Make new layer and then click Edit > Stroke.
Select reflection path and duplicate onto separate path.
Convert it to selection and then paint white and some black inside the selection.
Reduce its layer Opacity and apply small Gaussian Blur to make it softer.
Make random selection inside the main body and then paint subtle highlight.
Reduce layer Opacity to make it appears realistic.
Step 62: Pickguard
Select pickguard and then make new Solid Color based on its shape. For its color, use #fdfae9.
Apply following Layer Styles.
Command/Ctrl-click the layer to select it. Click Select > Modify > Contract.
Make new layer and click Edit > Stroke. Select black for its color.
Reduce its Opacity.
Step 66: Bridge
Draw a rounded rectangle shape with color #fcf5e5. Add following Layer Styles to add three-dimensional appearance onto the bridge. Below, you can see the result before and after adding the Layer Styles.
Add some smaller circle with gray color. Add Gradient Overlay and Drop Shadow.
Command/Ctrl-click the bridge main shape and make new layer behind it. Fill selection with black.
Apply Gaussian Blur filter to soften it.
Reduce its layer Opacity. This will become drop shadow of the bridge.
Hit Command/Ctrl + J to duplicate the shadow. Click Filter > Blur > Motion Blur. Set its angle to match the lighting direction.
Erase unneeded shadow. Use soft Eraser tool with low Opacity to get natural result.
Duplicate the bridge until we have two more bridges. Rotate the bottom bridge. For this one, you will also need to modify its shadow direction so it matches the lighting.
Step 74: Screws
Draw a circle shape with color #ded3bd. Apply following Layer Styles to turn it into a half ball shape.
Click and drag on the canvas while activating this Gradient Overlay to move its gradient start point.
Make new layer and paint random white spots using soft Brush tool as highlight on the screw surface. Convert the layer to Clipping (Command/Ctrl + Alt +G) to make sure everything we paint will goes inside the screw.
Add a cross on top of the circle, made from two overlapping rounded rectangles. Use #70654f for its color. Add following Layer Styles to add Emboss effect.
Place the screw inside a separate group layer. Alt-drag the group to duplicate it. You should rotate the screw a bit so we have unique screw, not exact duplicate from the first screw.
Step 78: Control Knob
Draw a circle shape with color #dfd9cb and apply these Layer Styles.
Add a smaller circle shape with darker color and apply these Layer Styles.
Command/Ctrl-click the circle path. Make new layer and place it behind the shape. Fill it with black.
Apply Motion Blur filter.
Soften it by applying Gaussian Blur.
Erase unneeded shadow.
You can add more shadow by painting manually using Brush tool. Make sure to reduce its Opacity and erase some of its edge.
Add new layer on top of the circle shape and paint black on its lower part. Convert the layer to Clipping Mask.
Duplicate lines on the knob. From it, make new shape with color #bfb9ad. Make new layer again and convert it to Clipping Mask. Paint lower part of the shape with darker color. Add lighter color circle on top of the knob.
Add following Layer Styles onto upper part of the knob.
Here, we have the result.
Use small brush to paint more needed highlight and shadow to add more realism onto the knob.
Add small circles surrounding the knob. Apply Inner Shadow.
Here we have the result.
Add text on center of the knob.
Duplicate the knob by Alt-dragging its layer.
Step 92: Tailpiece
Using path we have made earlier in Illustrator, draw its basic shape with color #42433e. Apply following Layer Styles.
Command/Ctrl-click the shape. Make new layer and then click Edit > Stroke. Set its color to white.
Soften the stroke line by applying Gaussian Blur.
Erase some of the stroke line using soft Eraser tool.
Make new layer and paint highlight on top of the shape by applying soft stroke of Brush tool with low Opacity.
Keep adding this highlight. At some point, you will also need to paint shadow to add contrast onto the shape.
Duplicate the shape and then add new rounded rectangle path in its lower part with mode Intersect.
Apply following Layer Styles.
Add small rounded rectangles for end of the strings. Apply following Layer Styles. Add new layer behind the tailpiece and paint the rectangles shadow.
Draw stack of rounded rectangles with dark grey color. Apply Bevel and Emboss and Gradient Overlay.
Add new layer and then paint white on center of each screw and black on its both sides. Hit Command/Ctrl + Alt + G to convert it to Clipping Mask.
Add shadow behind each screws.
Add rounded rectangle shape above each screw. Apply following Layer Styles.
Add following shape and apply another Layer Style.
Add new layer and then paint soft stroke along its edge.
Add rounded rectangles shape and then apply following Layer Styles to convert them into holes.
Add new layer and paint white on lower part of the indicated areas below. Reduce its Opacity.
Add small circles inside for each string. Add following Layer Styles to turn it into a hole.
Add a rounded rectangle with lighter color and then apply Gradient Overlay and Inner Shadow.
Add plus sign on the rounded rectangle and add Layer Styles.
Add screws on the upper part. You can just copy screw from previous steps.
Step 113: Boot Straps
Draw this shape and place it behind the main body.
Add new layer and paint random black shape on top of it. Convert the layer to Clipping Mask and then reduce its Opacity.
Repeat this process.
Add new layer on top of it and paint black along its edge using soft Brush tool. Convert the layer to Clipping Mask. Paint highlight inside the shape.
Repeat the same process to draw bootstraps on upper part of the main body.
Step 118: Output Jack
Draw a dark shape with color #353736. Apply Layer Styles.
Make new layer. Command/Ctrl-click the shape and click Edit > Stroke. Use white to add highlights along its edge.
Soften the stroke line by applying filter Gaussian Blur.
Erase some of the stroke line.
Add more highlights onto the surface by painting it manually.
Draw this shape and add these Layer Styles.
Draw smaller shape and add Gradient Overlay.
Add new layer and convert it to Clipping Mask. Paint some highlight and shadow inside the shape.
Draw its inner side and apply subtle Gradient Overlay.
Paint highlight and shadow inside the shape.
Draw a polygon and add Gradient Overlay.
Duplicate and then move it a few pixels. This will add three-dimensional appearance.
Command/Ctrl-click the shape and add black stroke line.
Add another gradient inside the hole.
Add new layer and convert it to Clipping Mask. Paint some white to add highlight inside the hole.
Add soft shadow behind the jack.
Draw a ring shape made from two overlapping circles. The smallest circle should be set to Subtract to create hole. Add following Layer Styles to add emboss effect.
Paint highlight behind the ring shape.
Add small screw on of end the output jack base. You can just simply duplicate screw we have drawn earlier.
Step 137: Selector
Draw a dark gray rectangle shape. Add Layer Styles.
Add smaller shape inside previous and then apply Gradient Overlay to give it metallic reflection.
Add new layer and paint its upper part with black.
Draw its handle. Apply Layer Styles to make it 3D.
Add new layer and draw highlight reflection on the surface.
Paint soft shadow underneath the selector.
Here’s the result in smaller magnification.
Step 143: Whammy Bar
Draw whammy bar basic shape, use white for its base color. Apply following Layer Styles.
Add new layer and convert it to Clipping Mask. Paint another shadow and hghlight manually.
Paint its handle. Apply following Layer Styles.
Add a new layer and convert it to Clipping Mask. Paint more shadow inside the whammy bar handle.
Manually, paint its shadow on the pickguard. Reduce its Opacity and then erase its upper part using soft and low Opacity Eraser tool.
Step 148: Neck
Add its neck. Use #73644d. Add Layer Styles.
Add new layer and place it behid the neck. Paint neck shadow on the main body.
Add fret shapes with #e1e3ce for its color. Add following Layer Styles to add 3D effect onto the shape.
Below you can the result in bigger magnification.
Paint some shadow between each fret. We don’t want it to be too clean or too flat.
Step 153: Headstock
Duplicate headstock path we have made earlier. Turn it into a shape layer with color #f6d3ab and then apply some Layer Styles.
Add new layer and convert it to Clipping Mask (Command/Ctrl + Alt + G). You can add more shadow or highlight onto the headstock if needed.
The headstock is made of wood. We want it to have the right texture. Paste the fine wood texture on top of the headstock. Command/Ctrl-click the shape to select it. Add layer mask onto the texture layer.
Add rear part of the headstock. This area should be darker than its front.
Step 157: Machine Heads
Draw a gray circle attached on the headstock. Apply following Layer Styles.
Add new layer and convert it to Clipping Mask. Add highlight onto the surface.
Add smaller circle and apply Layer Styles Gradient Overlay. While the dialog box is opened, drag on the canvas to move the gradient center
Add another highlight onto the shape.
Paint highlight onto the surface manually.
Add a small circle shape. Add Layer Styles and then draw highlight on its surface.
Draw its lower part.
Paint highlight on its surface.
Copy the machine head by Command/Ctrl-dragging it.
Step 166: Tuning Keys
Draw tuning keys basis shapes. Use #949993 for its color. Add new layer and convert it to Clipping Mask, paint shadow on top of it.
Draw its lower part with same color. Add another shadow onto its surface..
Duplicate the shape we have made in Step 166. Change it to lighter color and then modify its shape. We want it to be front side of the tuning keys and make it three-dimensional. Add new layer and paint shadow and highlight onto the shape.
Keep drawing random highlight and shadow onto the surface. Don’t forget white thin lines onto its side to add highlight using small brush.
Step 170: Position Marker
Draw some small circles on the fret. Add following Layer Styles to make it appears natural.
Below, you can see the details in bigger magnification.
Step 171: Strings
Select the strings that we imported earlier from Illustrator. Turn it into a layer with color #a1a19f.
Here are the details.
Apply Bevel and Emboss onto the strings to turn into 3D.
Make new layer and then paint lower part of the string with black. Right at the place where the strings enter the holes. See the difference below.
We will add a pattern onto the first four strings. Make new layer with canvas size 1 × 2 pixels.
Fill its half with black. Click Edit > Define Pattern to save it as pattern.
Command/Ctrl-click the strings to make new selection based on the strings shape. Deselect the last two strings.
Make new layer. Click Edit > Fill. Select pattern we have just made.
Below, you can the result.
Let’s add the strings’ shadow. Command/Ctrl-click the strings to select them. Make new and place it behind the string. Click Edit > Fill with Use: Black.
Soften it by applying Gaussian Blur filter.
Reduce layer Opacity.
We want the strings shadow on its main body much further than the shadow on the guitars neck. So Command/Ctrl-click the neck and then inverse selection (Command/Ctrl + Shift + I).
Activate Move tool and then hit right arrow a few times.
You can make it softer by applying another Gaussian Blur.
Add a rectangle shape with color #beb2a4. Place it on the headstock between 3rd and 4th strings.
Apply following Layer Styles.
Add new layer and convert it to Clipping Mask. Paint shadows on its edges.
Draw a circle shape with similar color and apply simple Gradient Overlay from white to black with low Opacity.
Add a screw on top of it.
Add two rectangles with lighter color on its left and right sides.
Apply Inner Glow and Gradient Overlay.
Manually, paint its shadow on the headstock.
In this tutorial you learned how to trace a reference photo in Illustrator and then add lighting, texture, and realism to it with Photoshop. Hopefully, after completing this tutorial you should have a fairly good grasp of how to use both Photoshop and Illustrator to create stunning icons and graphics for your design projects.