In this tutorial, I will teach you how to create an illustration of a fedora hat in Photoshop. If you’re a beginner to intermediate user, the hat is a fairly complicated illustration, and while we’re at it you will also learn the benefits of the liquify feature, to provide the hat with some shape.
This tutorial should take about an hour if you’re familiar with the Photoshop interface already.
Here’s a look at the end result of what you’ll be putting together today:
You’ll need a couple of extra resources for this tutorial. You can grab them at these links:
Step 1: New Document
Create a New Document in Photoshop. The size of my canvas is 600px by 700px, at 72 dpi.
Step 2: Background
Apply this gradient to the background by using your layer styles. Double click the background layer to bring Layer Style up, and use the screenshots as a guide for the gradient settings.
Step 3: Drawing the Hat in Illustrator
Now open up Adobe Illustrator. I will be using the pen tool in Illustrator to create the shape of my hat. I feel as though I’m able to control it more easily than in Photoshop. Create the same size canvas that you did in Photoshop. There are three different parts to my hat so I made three different shapes. Fill them with any color because we will change them once we bring them into Photoshop.
Now transfer these shapes over to Photoshop — I just use the ‘drag and drop’ method. Make sure that you have ‘rasterized’ all three parts of the hat once you have transferred them over to Photoshop — this is a menu option you can access by right-clicking on each layer.
Change the name of the layer containing the rim of the hat to ‘Rim’ and change the color overlay using Layer Style. Now it is best you duplicate each layer so that we can add the pattern in a little bit.
No need to change the color of the bow (leave it black #000000) that goes around the hat but you can change the name of this layer to ‘Bow’.
Now for the top of the hat (you can name this layer ‘Top’) change its color in Layer Style.
This is how your fedora should look so far now that you have applied the color changes. Make your backup layers invisible by clicking the eye icon next to that layer.
Step 8: The Rim
Select your ‘Rim’ layer then use the menu option Layer > Layer Style > Create Layer. Now make sure that Rim’s ‘Color Fill’ layer is selected. Let’s darken some areas on this rim. Grab your Burn Tool, start out with a 52px soft round brush, using the settings Range: Midtones and Exposure: 86% and go along the edges.
Now change the Range to shadows and darken it a bit more with a 75px soft round brush.
Now grab your Dodge brush and brush in some highlights. I used a 72px soft round brush, with the settings Range: Highlights and Exposure: 48%.
Step 11: Pattern
Make your duplicated ‘Rim’ layer visible. Make sure that this layer is above the rim’s ‘Color Fill’ layer and rename it ‘Rim Pattern’. Now right click the layer and click ‘Convert to smart object‘ and then rasterize it. Make sure that this layer’s Fill setting is at 0% and add this layer style:
Now convert this layer to a smart object and rasterize it as well. Change this layer’s blending mode to ‘Soft Light’.
Now the pattern looks a little ‘flat’ — let’s change that. Go to Filter > Liquify and try your best to alter the pattern and give it some shape.
This is how it should look so far:
Step 15: Top
Now on your ‘Top’ layer go to Layer > Layer Style > Create Layer. Now make sure that you have selected ‘Top’s Color Fill’ and Burn and Dodge the top of the hat. It is best to use a mixture of Ranges and play with the Exposure also.
Now grab that invisible ‘Top’ layer and make it visible. Make sure that it is above the ‘Top’s Color Fill’ layer and add the pattern. Make sure that this layer’s Fill is at 0%.
Convert this ‘Top Pattern’ layer to a smart object and rasterize it. Change this layer to ‘Soft Light’ and change the Fill to 57%.
Now alter the pattern to give the hat some shape. Go to Filter > Liquify, I used a 69 pixel brush for the outside edges of the hat and a smaller brush for the top.
This is how it should look after liquifying:
Now create a new layer above the pattern and grab your paint brush tool. With a 135px soft round brush (#d0a054) brush in the soft highlights. I made a ‘V’-like slash on my hat for the highlights.
Change the Opacity of this layer to 60%:
Create a new layer. Now we will darken the ‘Top’ in a bit more. With the same soft round paintbrush (#2e1b01) darken it up around the left side edge. Then change this layer to ‘Soft Light’:
Create a new layer and with a soft brush (#ffffff) add in some more highlights to the top:
Change this layer to ‘Overlay’ with an Opacity of 55%:
Create a new layer and add some more shine. I also used the ‘Smudge tool’ to smooth it out
Change this layer to ‘Soft Light’ with an Opacity of 87%:
Now create a new layer above your ‘Bow’ layer and with a 83px soft round brush (#ffffff) brush in some shine. I usually like to make a selection of the ‘Bow’ so that I don’t have to worry about erasing. To make a selection just hover over the square next to the ‘Bow’ layer while pressing Control or Option and click that square.
Change the Fill of this shine layer to 57%:
Now go to Filter > Blur > Motion Blur and blur this layer using these settings:
Add some noise by going to Filter > Noise > Add Noise and use the following settings:
You may have to erase some areas to make this highlight look more natural.
Add in shadows and highlights by using the black and white Paint Brush Tool (soft round brush). Also remember whenever you add white strokes to add some noise to it, as in Step 30. Add in highlights until it looks like a bow, such as in the image below.
Now go to your ‘Bow’ layer that is invisible and make it visible and duplicate it. Make sure ‘Bow Copy’ and ‘Bow Copy 2’ are beneath the original bow layer. Take one of the duplicates and blur it using Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and these settings:
Move this layer downward a few pixels:
Repeat the Gaussian blur again but apply it to the other duplicated layer, and then move it upward.
Download the PSD of the Feather and drag and drop it over to your canvas. Resize it if need be.
Add in a drop shadow for the feather:
Create a new layer and, with your Pen tool, create a line as shown below. Make sure that your Paint Brush tool is set to a 3px soft round brush #FFFFFF. Right click the Pen tool line and select Stroke Path. Also make sure the ‘Simulate Pressure’ box is checked.
Change this layer to ‘Soft Light’:
Create a new layer above your ‘Background’ layer. Place a highlight behind the hat on this layer using a #FFFFFF 499px soft round brush.
Change this layer to ‘Overlay’:
Create a new layer above the ‘light’ layer and with a #FFFFFF soft round brush, brush along the top outer edges of the hat.
Change the Opacity of this layer to 32%:
Create a new layer and again add shadow to the bottom. Change this layer’s blending mode to Overlay with an Opacity of 71%:
Now place everything pertaining to your fedora hat in a group (except for the shadow layer, Light layer and background layer). Place it in a group by selecting all of the layers and dragging them to the Folder icon. Duplicate this folder and convert it to a smart object and apply a Gaussian Blur.
Here’s what your hat should look more or less like. Congratulations!
Ashlee Harrell is a student majoring in Graphic Design at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida. She currently works with the Women's Basketball team at her school as their Graphic Designer.