Easy Flying V Guitar in Illustrator


Hi everyone, hope you guys had fun with my last tutorial about a realistic PS3 controller. For today's tutorial we will follow the same idea and keep practicing our vector skills. We're going to create a classic Gibson Flying V guitar using a similar process of rendering using Illustrator.

This is intermediary tutorial, so if you have any problems with some parts, don't worry. Try to redo that or come up with work arounds, it's the best way to learn how to use any tool. That's another reason that in order for you to make this study more useful I decided to leave some decisions up to you guys, you wil see it further, hope you have fun.



Let's open Adobe Illustrator and start by creating a new canvas (command + N / ctrl + N) with 24 x 55 cm, RGB, 300 dpi.

Using the rectangle tool (M), create what will be the arm of the guitar. Use the direct selection tool (A) to ajust the lower vector points  so they will get more wide open.

Use again the rectangle tool (M) then use the selection tool (V) + alt to copy the same shape until you have 21 frets. There's no shortcut to adjust the distance between them, you will have to do it manually, just make their width vary as the fret board get's larger. Or you can use the Blend Tool for the same purpose.

Using the ellipse tool (L) make a little circle and duplicate it 10 times. These will be the position markers, they are traditionaly placed as I did in the image bellow.

Now using the pen tool (P), let's create what will be the V body shaped. Create first the left side, then using the selection tool (V) + alt duplicate it, right click over the new shape then go to Transform > Reflect and choose to rotate the Verticas axis.

Use the rounded rectangle tool to create the strap pin, use the pen tool (P) to create the vertical shape, duplicate and mirror it.

Here're the settings to create this rounded rectangle. Later you will duplicate this whole shape to make the other strap pin.

Let's draw the humbucker pickups. It's quite simple, you just have to create it using this measures with the rounded rectangle tool.

Now using the ellipse tool (L) and the pen tool (P) we will create the pattern for the screw we will use along the guitar. The trick here is to rotate the center shape so it won't look the same screw when you look at.

You're going to just copy and paste them for now on. After you finished the first humbucker, you can duplicate and mirror it horizontally.

Let's skip to the tail piece, using the pen tool (P) make this triangle, duplicate and mirror ir vertically.

Add some screws on it and the strings hole using the ellipse tool (L).

Now let's do the adjustable saddle, first make two ellipses, then a rounded rectangle, rotate it a little bit until it gets a bit in a diagonal angle.

Add some screws.

And using the rectangle tool (M) create the saddles hoels and the saddles. It's really important to make this saddle holes parallel to the rounded rectangle. Display the saddles like the image bellow.

Now let's draw the jack output. First make the structure using the ellipse tool (L). Using the polygon tool create this hexagon then make two circles inside of it.

Don't forget to add some more screws.

Using the pen tool (P) let's draw the guitar shield.

Now using the ellipse tool (L) let's make the knobs used for tone and volume. They may look like a bunch of circles, but this will make sense later.

Finally, let's draw the pickup selector, first draw this couple of circles.

Later, using the rounded retangle tool and the direct selection tool (A) you will create the selector.

Don't forget to add the screws again.

Now we have already created the lower part, let's go to the upper parts. Using the rectangle tool (M) make the nut above the neck of the guitar.

Using the pen tool (P) make the headstock, first draw the right side, duplicate it and mirror it vertically.

Using the rounded rectangle, make the tensor cover. Add some crews later.

Using the rounded rectangle and the ellipse tool (L) you will create machine heads.

You will notice that the pin on them gets thinner as their position gets higher, this is due to the fact I wanted to give some perspective to it.

I added the Abdz logo, but you can add wherever you want to. Let's draw the tuner, you're going to use the rectangle tool (M), the rounded rectangle tool and the pen tool (P) for this, it may be harder than it looks like. Later just duplicate and place it as the image below.

The strings are pretty much the easiest part, using the pen tool (P) make a line from the machine heads to the bridge holes as the sample below.



So, now that you have all the shapes you will need, you should use the Unite command (find it on the pathfinder panel) on all the mirrored pieces, this will be necessary for the next steps. Now we will procced to a step that I find very important for the organization of the image. Let's add the flat colors I used on each shape, this way you will adjust the layer other and won't miss any shape placement.

I advise you to duplicate the sketch shapes and make a new layer for this step (command + L / ctrl + L). To add the colors of the color pallete, just use the selection tool (V) to select the shape then use the eyedropper tool (I) to get the color.

Here're a couple of screengrabs that will help you a bit to figure the best colors to use:



Now that you got all the colors we can skip to the gradient part. As you noticed, I created two color palletes: one for the flat color process and one for the style we want to give to our design.

Let's star by apllying it on the top to the bootom of the instrument. The process will be always the same: use the selection tool (V) to select the shape, use the eyedroppper tool (I) to get the gradient color and use the gradient tool (G) to adjust the range. You already got the pallete, so you will just have to do it, not a big deal, don't you think?

You're going to use two golden gradient for the machine head: one radial for the pin and a linear for the rest of the shapes.

It's really important to apply this same gradient scheme on all screws, I know, this will take time, but great work only come with great efforts. It's basically a radial and a linear gradient, find them on the gradient pallete.

The tuners also got two types of gradients, take a look on the scheme.

On the gradient pallete you will find a relly intricated linear silver gradient, this one is for the strings.

I added a radial gradient on the logo, on the tensor cover and on the head stock, they make look similar but have some slight differences.

The nut and the frets have all the same linear gradient, just to get some volume on them.

I also added a linear gradient on the position marker to make them look a bit shinning.

The neck got a brown linear gradient to mek it look more like wood.

Don't forget to add the same scheme on the screws, we don't want to create any Frankestein here.

Use this linear golden gradient on the pickup cover, you will see that I got pretty addcited on it, because he's actually pretty good for almos t all metallic shapes.

On the saddles, start always with the screws. later you're going to add the previous golden gradient on almost every shape, waht's going to vry it's how you posicionate the gradient, this is what gives depth to the image.

On the bridge, start with the srews, than add again the golden gradient.

On the jack output, make the screws first, than add the golden metallic gradient on the requested directions.

I also used a radial grey gradient on the platform.

On the shield, star with the screws.

Them get the gradient selector, add a radial grey gradient on the selector and a the golen gradient on the rest of the circles.

The volume and tone knobs and just a few radial and linear gradients as you can see below.

Be careful with this shade of gradient, as you're going to have to adjust this parameter on the gradient panel lowering it's opacity to get this effect.

You can add the same radial gradient used on the jack output platform on the guitar shield.

I also added the same radial grey gradient used on the head stock into the body of the guitar. This will give it some volume.

Finally, on the stripe pin, you're going to use a radial golden gradient and a linear golden gradient like the pics below.




Download the Adobe Illustrator File

Download the Adobe Illustrator file used for this tutorial

Written by

Marcos Torres

I'm Marcos Torres, I'm a Graphic Artist from Brasil. You can know more about me at my Website, at my Tumblr or at my Flickr.