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Create a Google Docs Icon

FanExtra Launch Week (Day 1)

As part of our FanExtra Network launch, we will be publishing one tutorial every day for our launch week. We hope that you enjoy them.

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FanExtra Launch Week:

DAY 1:

FanExtra Network Launch
Create a Google Docs Icon

DAY 2:

30 Minute Redesign – GymDJ
Master a Professional Photo-Retouching Workflow

DAY 3:

Design a Textured Portfolio Website

DAY 4:

Members Area Tutorial: Digital Painting Lesson: Scarecrow’s Joyride

DAY 5:

Create a Stylized Photo Montage From Scratch

DAY 6:

Design a Grungy Rock & Roll Gig Poster


Design an Awesome Paint Splattered Dancer

Google Docs Icon Tutorial

Last year I created some icons and released them to the public for free. I created a tutorial which went down well explaining how to create one of those icons. It’s time to go through another, don’t you think? The free icons are all available on my blog. There’s a link to my website in the “About the Author” box down below the tutorial.

This guide will walk you through how I created the Google Docs icon. There’s a total of 50 steps, so it’s another reasonably long tutorial. Like last time, you’ll be required to spend a few moments at various points in the tut to draw shapes freeform so please, take your time, and enjoy the experience.

Let’s get started!

Final Image

As always, this is the final image that we’ll be creating:

Step 1

To begin, create a new Photoshop file that is 512 pixels by 512 pixels in size like in the snap below.

Step 2

Let’s start up by making a new layer. Using the Polygonal Lasso tool (L key, or Shift+L to toggle through the Lassos until you get to the one seen in the snapshot) and draw a loose, freeform, angled square. Fill this square with black, either by using the Paint Bucket tool (G on the
keyboard.) Deselect your selection with Command+D.

Step 3

Right click on your new layer in the layers panel, and select “Blending Options.” Click “Stroke” (the word, not the tick box), found at the bottom of the new panel that will have popped up.

Step 4

Select the red that’s in that panel, and a Stroke Color window will pop up. Select black, and OK through both panels that you have up. We want to flatten down this blending option; what I do for speed is to create another layer underneath this layer, select “Layer 1? again, and hit Command+E (Ctrl+E for PCs) to merge them on top of one another. All Blending Options bake down too.

Step 5

Using the Polygonal Lasso tool again, create another freeform shape on a new layer (below the current one) in a different color to simulate a facade to the square that we’ve just made. We’re building up a 3D looking “surface” here, which we’ll put the calendar bit onto. Deselect again. I’m making each piece a different colour for my own benefit; if you want to do the same, hit Cmd/Ctrl+Optn/Alt+U and use the Lightness slider to change the tone.

Step 6

Next up we’re going to create the little calendar bit that sits underneath the main wad of paper. Make a new layer and use the Lasso tool to create a box similar to the one in the screenshot. Deselect.

Step 7

Quickly name your layers so that you (and I) don’t get lost in layers.

• Layer 1: Base
• Layer 2: Base Side
• Layer 3: Paper 1

Create another layer above all the others and call it “Paper 2″. Draw a shape with the Lasso tool again like the one in the screenshot. Deselect.

Step 8

Same again as before, use the Stroke to give the shape some nice rounded corners.

Step 9

Another layer now, called “Other Pages”. Draw a shape like the one in the screenshot, and slip it underneath “Paper 2″.

Step 10

To get all these Blending Options flattened down so they’re out of the way, right-click/second-click on the blending option from the Layers panel and hit “Create Layer”. That’ll make the effect its own layer. Select that new layer and the original it just spawned from, and hit Cmd/Ctrl+E to merge the two together into one single layer.

Step 11

Take a breath and take check on your Layers panel; this is where we should all be up to so far! Time to start taking what we’ve made and make ‘em look pretty.

Step 12

Select “Paper 2″ and hit Cmd/Ctrl+L to bring up the Levels pane. Drag the Black Output Level nozzle over to the right to remove those darks from the layer, making the paper lighter. You’ll want it almost completely white.

Step 13

Make a new layer above “Paper 2″, and with a gray brush ready and no Hardness on your brush, draw an unsightly line across your work like in the screenshot. No, I’ve not lost my mind, work with me here!

Step 14

Cmd/Ctrl+click on the thumbnail of “Paper 2″ in the Layers panel to auto- select all the pixels on that layer.

Step 15

Right/Second-click on the canvas with the Marquee tool selected, and click “Select Inverse”.

Step 16

With everything that isn’t “Paper 2″ selected, and the gray blob layer selected in the Layers panel, hit the backspace key to delete everything we don’t want.

Step 17

Drag the Opacity slider down the left to around 25% to make the gray blob little more than subtle shading on the paper.

Step 18

Underneath the “Other Pages” layer, make a new layer. Now you’re a dab-hand at making unsightly brush strokes, it’s time to do it again, with a big black brush. The trick here is to get the “spray” of this brush peeping through the side of the left side of Paper 2.

Step 19

Use the “Select Inverse” routine again, with “Paper 1″ as your selection.

Step 20

There we go! A little shadow from “Paper 2″ is being cast over “Paper 1″. Very nice. Grab the brush layer and the “Paper 1″ layers, and Merge Layers (Cmd/Ctrl+E)

Step 21

Cmd/Ctrl+U brings up your Hue/Saturation pane. Brings this up with “Paper 1″ selected, and drag the Lightness slider over to the left a little to make “Paper 1″ a little bit darker than “Paper 2″.

Step 22

Select the “Other Pages” layer, and in the Blending Options panel, select Gradient Overlay. I used the default White>Black gradient, reversed it, tilted the angle a bit so that it’s in line with the paper, and changed the scale to get both black and white parts of the gradient visible on-screen.

Step 23

Merge these Blending modes down like before, by right/second-clicking on the effect, creating a layer, and merging them with Cmd/Ctrl+E. It’ll look a little different in the Layers panel this time around, but don’t worry, do it like before and it’ll all be fine.

Step 24

The “Other Pages” layer (which probably has a weird long title at this point) needs duplicating so that we can create multiple pages. Cmd/Ctrl+J three times will duplicate the layer to make a total of 4 “Other Pages”…

Step 25

…Like this…

Step 26

…For you to push around with the Move tool (V) to make a stack of pages.

Select them all in the layers panel…

Step 27

…and Merge the layers with Cmd/Ctrl+E. With the Lasso tool, draw a selection around the page edges. We’re going to want to make these edges more defined, as they’re quite unpronounced at the moment.

Step 28

Cmd/Ctrl+L for the Levels pane again. Drag the Input Levels around until you get a nice and pronounced edge to the pages.

Step 29

Missing those unsightly brush blobs? Yeah, me too. Let’s make some more. Create a new layer above “Other Pages” (or whatever it’s called itself at this point) and make a blob of white, and a blob of black. You want these just touching the edge of the pages on the “Other Pages” layer like in the screenshot.

Step 30

Select Inverse again, from a cmd/ctrl+click selection from “Other Pages”.

Step 31

Hit the backspace key to take out all the mess, then set the layer blending mode to “Overlay” to leave the “Other Pages” with some subtle variation in brightness.

Step 32

Duplicate the “Paper 2″ layer and push the one underneath down a little, and make it completely white with the Brightness slider (Cmd/Ctrl+U). While we’re here, now is a good time to play with the brightness of various parts of the layer (brush blobs, select inverse … you know the drill now!)

Step 33

Select the “Other Pages” and go to Filter:Noise:Add Noise…

Step 34

Add some very light noise, just to add some papery grain to those lower pages.

Step 35

Time to add some color. Grab the “Base” layer, and bring the Blending Options up (double-click the layer in the Layers Panel; I know, I randomly forget these things too sometimes) and add a Color Overlay. Fill it up with a nice blue like in the screenshot.

Step 36

Do the same for “Base Side”, but with a slightly darker blue.

Step 37

Duplicate the “Base” layer with Cmd/Ctrl+J. Go to Filter:Noise:Add Noise… again, with this new “Base” layer selected, but add a nicer burst of noise this time around.

Step 38

Go to Filter:Blur:Motion Blur… and blur the noise in the direction of the layer.

Step 39

Cmd/Ctrl+L for the Levels panel again, to drag the Input Levels around to get some better definition in these new “grooves”.

Step 40

Use the Lasso tool and grab the very bottom edge of the noisy, blurry version of “Base” that we have. With the Levels panel again, drag the
highlights to the left like in the screenshot. This’ll give a little highlight to add some depth to the base as a whole.

Step 41

Merge together the two “Base”s. Create a new layer above our newly unified “Base” layer, and using the brush tool again, create a big white blob in the centre of where “Base Side” is.

Step 42

Trim up this blob with the Select Inverse process we’ve used over and over, and dim the result down so leave us with what appears to be a highlight on the “Base Side”. Merge it down.

Step 43

Looking good so far! Push the “Paper 1″ layer upwards a little like in the screenshot (don’t mind that it got renamed in the screenshot!)

Step 44

Using the Lasso tool, make selections across “Paper 1″ to create a grid like in the example, and fill it all in with the brush tool. Do it in a few
separate selections if you, like me, like to keep selections simple if possible. Take your time. I’ll wait right here.

Step 45

Lastly, we want to make a pen to sit on top of everything, to wrap things up nicely. I made two layers (one for the blacks, one for the whites) but you could just as easily do it all on one layer if you prefer. If you need a helping hand, run a Google Image search for some pens to get some ideas before you start.

Step 46

Just like Step 18, get a big brush and draw with the spray, to get some detail on the side of the white elements of the pen. Cmd/Ctrl+clicking on the respective pen layer will make sure that there’s no mess outside the area you want to draw in.

Step 47

Keep on doing this to add details across the whole pen.

Step 48

Create a new layer and, using the Lasso Tool, make a selection that looks like the nib in the screenshot. Use the brush tool to color in your
selection black.

Step 49

Finally, make a layer beneath the pen and, using the brush tool, color in underneath the pen. The splash from the brush will leave a slight black blur around the outside of the pen, that looks like a shadow.

Step 50

Drag the background layer into the trash and we’re all done! Check out what YOU made! I didn’t know you could make that! You’ve clearly been practicing, you dark horse, you.

Speak soon!

And We’re Done!

You can view the final outcome below. I hope that you enjoyed this tutorial and would love to hear your feedback on the techniques and outcome:

Download Source File for this Tutorial

About the Author:

Adam is a web and graphic designer with a passion for design, and runs boutique design firm Fairhead Creative full-time. Fairhead Creative offers creative design solutions to businesses and projects big and small.

Leave a comment


  1. Childmonster says:

    Nice tutorial. But why you dont use wood texture for the Base ?

  2. Same reason as I didn’t use a real pen or real paper: to show you how to make it yourself :D

  3. Great tutorial. Really detailed and in easy to follow steps. I’ve never really tried to create proper icons but I will have to try this out and use the techniques to try and create other icons. Thanks.

  4. Bryan says:

    Can’t wait to try this one out.

  5. Ali says:

    nice to create a book

  6. Cgbaran says:

    Great design thanks

  7. TheShadow says:

    Thanks for this wonderful tutorial

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