I never said you shouldn't paint a guitar. The point of my critique is that I don't see the point of using a photo that doesn't suit the shape of the instrument.Thank you, naneek. The pictures aren't “random”. I'm guessing that you and other guitarists have heard of Leo Fender, so I thought it might be cool to feature him as one possibility. The cyclops is a “shock value” entry (it’s actually my own selfie that I then manipulated), and the girl is -- frankly -- about sex.
What I’m trying to do here is find an image that will “read” well at a distance. Most of the hand-painted guitars that I’ve seen have small images like flowers and birds; or they have easily-recognized iconic images like Frankenstein, Jimi Hendrix, the US flag, etc.; or they’re abstract designs. I don’t want to paint in any of those categories, but I’m not committed to the three pictures that I put up in this survey. They’re just layouts to get a conversation going. Better to spend a small amount of time on a photo mock-up that doesn’t appeal than spend a LOT of time to finish a painting that also doesn’t work.
Yes, the area on a guitar top IS awkwardly arranged. There isn’t much space to begin with, and that’s cut up with the weirdly-shaped scratch plate and that rectangular bridge. So, it’s tricky to find enough room for a large image that can be seen and understood by an audience.
Now, it may well be that most guitarists don’t want ANY image painted on an instrument -- which is a perfectly respectable opinion to have. (In fact, I added a fourth choice option: “None”.) After reading all the negative comments, I started to think that no one liked ANY of the images, but that isn’t true, either. Just look at the vote counts.
So, that’s where things stand. I’ve got a guitar body here and I want to paint it. If you or others have some ideas for me, let me hear ‘em. Alternatively, if you think that I shouldn’t “defile” an instrument by painting any kind of image on it, well… say so. That’s information for me, as well.
To quote the old Latin phrase: “De gustibus non est disputandum”. (There’s no disputing taste.)
Rather than blaming the shape of the instrument for the awkwardness of your layout, work with it.
I think you should create a design from scratch that is suited to the medium (paint) and the canvas (an oddly shaped guitar).
I don't think you will be likely to find an appealing layout with this photo mockup method. And personally, I think it would be more interesting to create a new concept or design than one from an existing photo.
I can tell the selfie is a mirrored iphone type effect, and I think when you paint it, it will still look like a cell phone picture. It's a fun idea, but the method used to create it is clearly visible in the design itself.
Why not dream up a cyclops self portrait with your imagination instead of using something so recognizable as a cell phone picture as your reference image?