How to Use Photoshop & Illustrator to Create a Fedora Hat

Ashlee Harrell

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.

Step 4

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.

Step 5

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’.

Step 6

Now for the top of the hat (you can name this layer ‘Top’) change its color in Layer Style.

Step 7

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.

Step 9

Now change the Range to shadows and darken it a bit more with a 75px soft round brush.

Step 10

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:

Step 12

Now convert this layer to a smart object and rasterize it as well. Change this layer’s blending mode to ‘Soft Light’.

Step 13

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.

Step 14

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.

Step 16

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%.

Step 17

Convert this ‘Top Pattern’ layer to a smart object and rasterize it. Change this layer to ‘Soft Light’ and change the Fill to 57%.

Step 18

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.

Step 19

This is how it should look after liquifying:

Step 20

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.

Step 21

Change the Opacity of this layer to 60%:

Step 22

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’:

Step 23

Create a new layer and with a soft brush (#ffffff) add in some more highlights to the top:

Step 24

Change this layer to ‘Overlay’ with an Opacity of 55%:

Step 25

Create a new layer and add some more shine. I also used the ‘Smudge tool’ to smooth it out

Step 26

Change this layer to ‘Soft Light’ with an Opacity of 87%:

Step 27

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.

Step 28

Change the Fill of this shine layer to 57%:

Step 29

Now go to Filter > Blur > Motion Blur and blur this layer using these settings:

Step 30

Add some noise by going to Filter > Noise > Add Noise and use the following settings:

Step 31

You may have to erase some areas to make this highlight look more natural.

Step 32

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.

Step 33

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:

Step 34

Move this layer downward a few pixels:

Step 35

Repeat the Gaussian blur again but apply it to the other duplicated layer, and then move it upward.

Step 36

Download the PSD of the Feather and drag and drop it over to your canvas. Resize it if need be.

Step 37

Add in a drop shadow for the feather:

Step 38

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.

Step 39

Change this layer to ‘Soft Light’:

Step 40

Create a new layer above your ‘Background’ layer. Place a highlight behind the hat on this layer using a #FFFFFF 499px soft round brush.

Step 41

Change this layer to ‘Overlay’:

Step 42

Create a new layer above the ‘light’ layer and with a #FFFFFF soft round brush, brush along the top outer edges of the hat.

Step 43

Change the Opacity of this layer to 32%:

Step 44

Create a new layer and again add shadow to the bottom. Change this layer’s blending mode to Overlay with an Opacity of 71%:

Step 45

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.

Final Results

Here’s what your hat should look more or less like. Congratulations!