This design tutorial is meant to explain how to draw a 3D book icon from scratch with the help of Photoshop. We will use tools such as the Pen Tool, Polygonal Lasso Tool, and Gradient Tool, among other things. A strong proficiency in drawing shapes is needed in order to complete this tutorial.

Preview

Preview

Step 1: Set Up the Photoshop Canvas

Open a new file using File > New (Ctrl/Cmd + N). We will use a canvas dimension of 300x300px.

Set Up the Photoshop Canvas

Step 2: Draw the Book Cover

Use the Pen Tool (P) to draw a shape above the Background layer. Notice that the left corners curve inside.

Draw the Book Cover

Double-click on the book cover’s layer to view the Layer Style window. Give the shape a red (#c44d3c) to pink (#dc5542) Gradient Overlay.

Draw the Book Cover

Draw the Book Cover

Step 3: Draw the Book Binding

Above the book cover, create a shape to represent the book’s spine/binding.

Draw the Book Binding

Double-click on the layer to access the Layer Style window, and give the layer a blue (#323656) Color Overlay.

Draw the Book Binding

Draw the Book Binding

Step 4: Draw the Top Edge of the Book

Create the green shapes shown below.

Draw the Top Edge of the Book

Give the shapes a Color Overlay and Drop Shadow.

Color Overlay

The color of the Color Overlay is a faded pink (#fc9271).

Color Overlay

Drop Shadow

The Drop Shadow color is white (#ffffff).

Color Overlay

Color Overlay

Step 5: Draw the Side Edges of the Book

Create the side edges of the book.

Draw the Side Edges of the Book

Give the side edges a dark pink (#9b4737) Color Overlay layer style.

Draw the Side Edges of the Book

Step 6: Draw the Curved Top Edge by the Binding

Draw the shape shown in green below.

Draw the Curved Top Edge by the Binding

We will give this shape a Color Overlay and Drop Shadow.

Color Overlay

The color of the Color Overlay is blue (#868ec5).

Draw the Curved Top Edge by the Binding

Drop Shadow

The color of the Drop Shadow is white (#ffffff).

Draw the Curved Top Edge by the Binding

Draw the Curved Top Edge by the Binding

Place all of the shapes thus far into a layer group.

Step 7: Draw the Inside of the Book

Create a new shape (shown in green) above the Background layer using the Pen Tool (P). This will be the inside of the back cover of the book.

Draw the Inside of the Book

Give the inside of the back cover a dark pink (#d74f34) Color Overlay.

Draw the Inside of the Book

Similarly, use the Pen Tool to draw the shape for the binding.

Draw the Inside of the Book

Give this a dark blue (#323657) Color Overlay.

Draw the Inside of the Book

Step 8: Create the Book Pages

Draw a shape to represent the front part of the book pages.

Create the Book Pages

Give this shape a gray (#e0dfdf) Color Overlay and a black (#000000) Drop Shadow layer style.

Create the Book Pages

Draw the shape for the top of the book pages and give it a white (#ffffff) Color Overlay.

Create the Book Pages

Draw vertical lines at the front part of the book pages to give the book pages definition. Afterwards, reduce the layer’s Opacity to 18%.

Create the Book Pages

Similarly, create lateral black lines for the top of the book and reduce their layer’s Opacity to 8%.

Create the Book Pages

Create a tiny detailing shape where the top and side parts of the book pages meet (shown in green). Give this shape a white (#ffffff) Color Overlay layer style.

Create the Book Pages

Step 9: Draw the Book Cover’s Inner Shadow

Now we need to create a faint shadow that the book cover casts on the pages. Draw a black shape similar to the shape shown below using the Pen Tool (P). Set the layer’s Opacity to around 5%. The shadow is practically invisible because there is very little space between the pages and the cover.

Draw the Book Cover's Inner Shadow

Step 10: Shading and Detailing the Cover

Create a new layer (Shift + Ctrl/Cmd + N) on top of the book cover. Use the Polygonal Lasso Tool (L) to make a selection of the front cover. Switch to the Gradient Tool (G) and set it up such that it is at Radial Gradient and using a white to transparent color gradient. Draw the gradient diagonally (from the top right corner to the bottom left).

Shading and Detailing the Cover

Switch the Blend Mode of the layer to Overlay and Opacity to 70%.

Shading and Detailing the Cover

Create a very thin white line on the right edge of the book cover. Set the line layer’s Blend Mode to Overlay and reduce the Opacity to 50%.

Shading and Detailing the Cover

Use the Polygonal Lasso Tool again to draw two selections on the side edge of the book cover. Do this by completing one of the selections and then pressing Shift to create another selection. Use the Gradient Tool (G) with a white to transparent linear gradient and draw it from top to bottom. Then just switch the layer’s Blend Mode to Overlay and reduce the Opacity to 15%.

Shading and Detailing the Cover

Duplicate the layer above (Ctrl/Cmd + J) and set the Opacity of the duplicated layer to 15%.

Shading and Detailing the Cover

Create a very think black line at the top edge of the front cover. Use a Color Overlay to set its color to a brownish color (#be715a).

Shading and Detailing the Cover

The joints of the front top and right edge of the book cover (shown in green) is not properly lit, and we should do something about it. On a new layer, draw a white line where the top edge and left edge meets.

Shading and Detailing the Cover

Set the Blend Mode of the white line layer to Overlay and Opacity to 70%.

Shading and Detailing the Cover

Use the Polygonal Lasso Tool again to make rectangular selections on the top edges of the book cover. On a new layer, use the Gradient Tool to give the area underneath the selection a white to transparent linear gradient. Finish off the top highlight by setting the Blend Mode to Overlay and reducing the Opacity to 27%.

Shading and Detailing the Cover

Step 11: Highlighting and Detailing the Book’s Binding

Let’s move to highlighting and detailing the binding now. Make a Polygonal Lasso Tool (L) selection that’s oriented along the top section of the book’s binding. On a new layer, use the Gradient Tool (G) to create a white to transparent linear gradient starting from the top. Set the Blend Mode of the layer to Overlay and lower the Opacity to 40%.

Highlighting and Detailing the Book's Binding

Now create a white shape on a new layer. Set the Blend Mode of the layer to Overlay and lower the Opacity to 20%.

Highlighting and Detailing the Book's Binding

Now make a very thin 1px black line where the binding and front cover meets. Duplicate the black line 5 times. Use the Move Tool (V) to arrange the duplicated lines along the width of the binder. Merge all the layers with the black lines into one layer (Ctrl/Cmd + E). Reduce the Opacity of the merged layer to about 20%.

Highlighting and Detailing the Book's Binding

On the layer with the vertical lines, add a layer mask by clicking on the Add layer mask icon at the bottom of the Layers Panel. On the mask, use a black to white linear gradient going from right to left. This will make the lines appear more subtle on the right side, reinforcing the 3D look we are trying to achieve.

Highlighting and Detailing the Book's Binding

Step 12: Make the Cover Art of the Book

The cover art is the most distinguishable feature of the book. I chose to go with a Yoga theme for this book, but please feel free to use another theme.

To draw the flower-like shape, first set your Foreground Color to white. Then activate the Custom Shape Tool (U). In the Options Bar, under the Shape dropdown menu, look for the custom shape named Flower 6. Draw it on the canvas on a new layer. To hollow out the center of the shape, just use the Elliptical Marquee Tool (M) to create a circle in the middle, then go to Edit > Clear.

Make the Cover Art of the Book

Give the white flower a Gradient Overlay (from #f9cabd to #ffffff) and Stroke (#000000) layer style.

Make the Cover Art of the Book

Use the Horizontal Type Tool (T) to type "Yoga Secrets" below the flower. Give it the same layer style as the flower. Do this by first copying the layer style from the flower by right-clicking on its layer and then choosing Copy Layer Style. Then paste the layer style into the "Yoga Secrets" text layer by right-clicking on it and choosing Paste Layer Style.

Make the Cover Art of the Book

Select the flower layer and the "Yoga Secrets" text layer, and then go to Edit > Transform > Skew. Drag the top-left and bottom-right transform controls so that the objects match the angle and perspective of the front cover.

Make the Cover Art of the Book

Now select the Move Tool (V) to move the cover art at the center of the front cover.

Make the Cover Art of the Book

If you want extra detail, you can add a sort of barcode graphic on the bottom right of the front cover using similar techniques as above.

Make the Cover Art of the Book

Step 13: Give the Front Cover Light Effects

Switch to the Brush Tool (B). Select a soft brush at about 100px Master Diameter. Set your Foreground Color to white. On a new layer, apply a stroke at the center of the book.

Give the Front Cover Light Effects

Use the Elliptical Marquee Tool (M) to make a wide ellipse toward the bottom of the white paint stroke. Then go to Edit > Clear (Delete) to remove the area selected by the elliptical marquee. Then simply switch the layer’s Blend Mode to Overlay to finish off the effect.

Give the Front Cover Light Effects

Use the same technique (on different layers) to produce more light effects.

Give the Front Cover Light Effects

Step 14: Create a Highlighting Detail on the Front Cover’s Corner

Create thin white lines using the Pen Tool (P) located at the top right corner of the book cover. Create a layer mask by clicking on the Add layer mask button at the bottom of the Layers Panel.

Create a Highlighting Detail on the Front Cover's Corner

On the layer mask, use the Gradient Tool to create a diagonal white to black linear gradient so that the white lines gradually fade out as we get farther from the book’s edges. Set the layer’s Opacity to 40% to finish off the highlighting effect.

Create a Highlighting Detail on the Front Cover's Corner

Step 15: Adding a Shadow to the Book

This is our last step. Create a new layer just above the Background layer. Use the Polygonal Lasso Tool (L) to draw out a shape for the book’s shadow. Switch to the Gradient Tool (G) and create a black to transparent linear gradient on the new layer.

Adding a Shadow to the Book

Set the Opacity of the layer to around 25%.

Adding a Shadow to the Book

Again, use the Polygonal Lasso Tool to create a selection as shown below. On the canvas, right-click inside the selection and choose Layer via Cut from the menu that appears to transfer the selected parts of the shadow into a new layer. Lower the new layer’s Opacity to about 10%.

Adding a Shadow to the Book

Tutorial Summary

In this tutorial, we created a 3D book icon using Photoshop. We used various tools such as the Polygonal Lasso Tool, the Pen Tool, the Gradient Tool and layer masks to create the book. We paid attention to details by making sure we create highlights and details where necessary. I hope you have found this tutorial to be useful.

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Author:

Supratim is an Electronics and Communication Engineering student in India. He has a strong passion for Icon Design, GUI and User Interface Design, with a lot of experience in all fields, but is also very versatile in other design fields. See his work on deviantART where he goes by the name HYDRATTZ. Follow Supratim on Twitter as @nsupratim and contact him via email.