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Draw an Electric Guitar in Photoshop

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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!


Tutorial Assets

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).


Step 2

You may also want to expand the canvas area so it is slightly bigger. Save the file.


Step 3

Open the file in Illustrator. In the Option Bar, click Document Setup.


Step 4

Click Edit Artboard.


Step 5

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.


Step 6

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.


Step 7

Start by tracing its main body.

See details below.


Step 8

Select the path and click Object > Path > Offset Path.


Step 9

Click OK to make new path.


Step 10

Trace its highlight too, still using Pen tool.


Step 11

Trace its pickguard.


Step 12

Use combination of rounded rectangle tool and elliptical tool to draw a screw.


Step 13

Select the screw and alt-drag to duplicate it.


Step 14

Repeat this process.


Step 15

Draw pickups, made from rounded rectangle and some circles inside it.


Step 16

Draw its boot straps.


Step 17

Trace its output jack.


Step 18

Manually draw its bridge and tailpiece.


Step 19

Draw its neck. Start by making a rounded rectangle and then pull its upper corner closer together.


Step 20

Draw some small rectangles for its frets.


Step 21

Select all the rectangles and then hit Command/Ctrl + G to put them on a group.


Step 22

Duplicate neck shape. Select both the neck and the rectangles group. Open Pathfinder panel and select Divide.


Step 23

Remove unneeded path.

This is the result. Add some small circles for position marker.


Step 24

Draw its headstock.


Step 25

Again, draw its rear shape.


Step 26

Trace the tuning keys and machine heads.


Step 26

Add screw on the headstock.


Step 27

Add line connecting machine heads and tailpiece.


Step 28

The first string should be thicker and gradually thinner.


Step 29

Select the string and then click Object > Expand. This will convert it from line into shape.


Step 30

Draw a big circle and a small circle inside it.


Step 31

Activate Rotate tool. Hold Command/Ctrl and drag its rotation pivot point to center of the big circle.


Step 32

Click once to open the rotate dialog box. Set its angle to 20 degree and click Copy


Step 33

HIt Command/Ctrl + D to repeat this transformation.


Step 34

Duplicate big circle and then resize while holding Alt to get smaller circle in same origin.


Step 35

Draw a line.


Step 36

Right click and select Rotate. Set its angle to 5 degree and click Copy.


Step 37

Hit Command/Ctrl + D to repeat the duplication process until we have full circle.


Step 38

Add text on center of the knob.


Step 39

Select the lines and set their Stroke width to 2 pt.


Step 40

Select all the lines and then click Object > Expand.


Step 41

Select all the lines and click Unite on the Pathfinder panel.


Step 42

Duplicate the knob by alt-dragging it.


Step 43

Draw a thick line.


Step 44

Click Object > Expand.


Step 45

Add a rounded rectangle on its tip.


Step 46: Export to Photoshop

Select all the paths. Click Edit > Copy.


Step 47

Open the image in Photoshop and then paste it as Path.


Step 48

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.


Step 50

Add following Layer Styles.

And here's the result.


Step 51

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.


Step 52

Hit Command/Ctrl + Alt + G to convert the layer to Clipping Mask. The dark pixels will goes inside the main body.


Step 53

Grab fine wood texture.


Step 54

Add layer mask and paint black to hide some of the textures.


Step 55

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.


Step 56

Command/Ctrl-click main body layer to make new selection based on its shape. Make new layer and then click Edit > Stroke.


Step 57

Select reflection path and duplicate onto separate path.


Step 58

Convert it to selection and then paint white and some black inside the selection.


Step 59

Reduce its layer Opacity and apply small Gaussian Blur to make it softer.


Step 60

Make random selection inside the main body and then paint subtle highlight.


Step 61

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.


Step 63

Command/Ctrl-click the layer to select it. Click Select > Modify > Contract.


Step 64

Make new layer and click Edit > Stroke. Select black for its color.


Step 65

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.


Step 67

Add some smaller circle with gray color. Add Gradient Overlay and Drop Shadow.


Step 68

Command/Ctrl-click the bridge main shape and make new layer behind it. Fill selection with black.


Step 69

Apply Gaussian Blur filter to soften it.


Step 70

Reduce its layer Opacity. This will become drop shadow of the bridge.


Step 71

Hit Command/Ctrl + J to duplicate the shadow. Click Filter > Blur > Motion Blur. Set its angle to match the lighting direction.


Step 72

Erase unneeded shadow. Use soft Eraser tool with low Opacity to get natural result.


Step 73

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.


Step 75

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.


Step 76

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.


Step 77

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.


Step 79

Add a smaller circle shape with darker color and apply these Layer Styles.


Step 80

Command/Ctrl-click the circle path. Make new layer and place it behind the shape. Fill it with black.


Step 81

Apply Motion Blur filter.


Step 82

Soften it by applying Gaussian Blur.


Step 83

Erase unneeded shadow.


Step 84

You can add more shadow by painting manually using Brush tool. Make sure to reduce its Opacity and erase some of its edge.


Step 85

Add new layer on top of the circle shape and paint black on its lower part. Convert the layer to Clipping Mask.


Step 86

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.


Step 87

Add following Layer Styles onto upper part of the knob.

Here, we have the result.


Step 88

Use small brush to paint more needed highlight and shadow to add more realism onto the knob.


Step 89

Add small circles surrounding the knob. Apply Inner Shadow.

Here we have the result.


Step 90

Add text on center of the knob.


Step 91

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.


Step 93

Command/Ctrl-click the shape. Make new layer and then click Edit > Stroke. Set its color to white.


Step 94

Soften the stroke line by applying Gaussian Blur.


Step 95

Erase some of the stroke line using soft Eraser tool.


Step 96

Make new layer and paint highlight on top of the shape by applying soft stroke of Brush tool with low Opacity.


Step 97

Keep adding this highlight. At some point, you will also need to paint shadow to add contrast onto the shape.


Step 98

Duplicate the shape and then add new rounded rectangle path in its lower part with mode Intersect.


Step 99

Apply following Layer Styles.


Step 100

Add small rounded rectangles for end of the strings. Apply following Layer Styles. Add new layer behind the tailpiece and paint the rectangles shadow.


Step 101

Draw stack of rounded rectangles with dark grey color. Apply Bevel and Emboss and Gradient Overlay.


Step 102

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.


Step 103

Add shadow behind each screws.


Step 104

Add rounded rectangle shape above each screw. Apply following Layer Styles.


Step 105

Add following shape and apply another Layer Style.


Step 106

Add new layer and then paint soft stroke along its edge.


Step 107

Add rounded rectangles shape and then apply following Layer Styles to convert them into holes.


Step 108

Add new layer and paint white on lower part of the indicated areas below. Reduce its Opacity.


Step 109

Add small circles inside for each string. Add following Layer Styles to turn it into a hole.


Step 110

Add a rounded rectangle with lighter color and then apply Gradient Overlay and Inner Shadow.


Step 111

Add plus sign on the rounded rectangle and add Layer Styles.


Step 112

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.


Step 114

Add new layer and paint random black shape on top of it. Convert the layer to Clipping Mask and then reduce its Opacity.


Step 115

Repeat this process.


Step 116

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.


Step 117

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.


Step 119

Make new layer. Command/Ctrl-click the shape and click Edit > Stroke. Use white to add highlights along its edge.


Step 120

Soften the stroke line by applying filter Gaussian Blur.


Step 121

Erase some of the stroke line.


Step 122

Add more highlights onto the surface by painting it manually.


Step 123

Draw this shape and add these Layer Styles.


Step 124

Draw smaller shape and add Gradient Overlay.


Step 125

Add new layer and convert it to Clipping Mask. Paint some highlight and shadow inside the shape.


Step 126

Draw its inner side and apply subtle Gradient Overlay.


Step 127

Paint highlight and shadow inside the shape.


Step 128

Draw a polygon and add Gradient Overlay.


Step 129

Duplicate and then move it a few pixels. This will add three-dimensional appearance.


Step 130

Command/Ctrl-click the shape and add black stroke line.


Step 131

Add another gradient inside the hole.


Step 132

Add new layer and convert it to Clipping Mask. Paint some white to add highlight inside the hole.


Step 133

Add soft shadow behind the jack.


Step 134

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.


Step 135

Paint highlight behind the ring shape.


Step 136

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.


Step 138

Add smaller shape inside previous and then apply Gradient Overlay to give it metallic reflection.


Step 139

Add new layer and paint its upper part with black.


Step 140

Draw its handle. Apply Layer Styles to make it 3D.


Step 141

Add new layer and draw highlight reflection on the surface.


Step 142

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.


Step 144

Add new layer and convert it to Clipping Mask. Paint another shadow and hghlight manually.


Step 145

Paint its handle. Apply following Layer Styles.


Step 146

Add a new layer and convert it to Clipping Mask. Paint more shadow inside the whammy bar handle.


Step 147

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.


Step 149

Add new layer and place it behid the neck. Paint neck shadow on the main body.


Step 150

Add fret shapes with #e1e3ce for its color. Add following Layer Styles to add 3D effect onto the shape.


Step 151

Below you can the result in bigger magnification.


Step 152

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.


Step 154

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.


Step 155

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.


Step 156

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.


Step 158

Add new layer and convert it to Clipping Mask. Add highlight onto the surface.


Step 159

Add smaller circle and apply Layer Styles Gradient Overlay. While the dialog box is opened, drag on the canvas to move the gradient center


Step 160

Add another highlight onto the shape.


Step 161

Paint highlight onto the surface manually.


Step 162

Add a small circle shape. Add Layer Styles and then draw highlight on its surface.


Step 163

Draw its lower part.


Step 164

Paint highlight on its surface.


Step 165

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.


Step 167

Draw its lower part with same color. Add another shadow onto its surface..


Step 168

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.


Step 169

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.


Step 172

Apply Bevel and Emboss onto the strings to turn into 3D.


Step 173

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.


Step 174

We will add a pattern onto the first four strings. Make new layer with canvas size 1 × 2 pixels.


Step 175

Fill its half with black. Click Edit > Define Pattern to save it as pattern.


Step 176

Command/Ctrl-click the strings to make new selection based on the strings shape. Deselect the last two strings.


Step 177

Make new layer. Click Edit > Fill. Select pattern we have just made.

Below, you can the result.


Step 178

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.


Step 179

Soften it by applying Gaussian Blur filter.


Step 180

Reduce layer Opacity.


Step 181

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).


Step 182

Activate Move tool and then hit right arrow a few times.


Step 183

You can make it softer by applying another Gaussian Blur.


Step 184

Add a rectangle shape with color #beb2a4. Place it on the headstock between 3rd and 4th strings.


Step 185

Apply following Layer Styles.


Step 186

Add new layer and convert it to Clipping Mask. Paint shadows on its edges.


Step 187

Draw a circle shape with similar color and apply simple Gradient Overlay from white to black with low Opacity.


Step 188

Add a screw on top of it.


Step 189

Add two rectangles with lighter color on its left and right sides.


Step 190

Apply Inner Glow and Gradient Overlay.


Step 191

Manually, paint its shadow on the headstock.


Final Image

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.

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