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Building A Semi-hollow Body

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I am beginning to build my second guitar. My first one turned out nicely, so I'd like to do some more complicated features on this one. My plan is to base the body and headstock on John Petrucci's Ernie Ball Music Man, but I would like to do a two piece carved top and a semi-hollow body similar to THIS ONE. Being the Dream Theater nut that I am, the sound hole will be the Infinity symbol like the one inlayed on bassist John Myung's 13th fret.

I took apart an old Jay Turser 7 string which I will be using the neck from. I Have already modified the headstock from being 7 on the left to 5 on the left and 2 on the right (like the JPM).

As for the body, I have a few questions for those who have built semi-hollow body guitars before. I am working with a 1 3/4" thick piece of mahogony for the back (which will be planed down) and a 3/4" thick piece of bird's eye maple for the top. I would like to carve both the front and back of this guitar like some PRS models. What is the best way to carve the body. I've heard of a method using a router and going up in steps from the edge of the body inward, followed by sanding to remove the "steps". I've also seen pictures of people carving the body with a small planer like this. Which is the better method of the two? What other methods are there? Is one method better for certain types of wood than another?

Any help or advice is very appreciated. Thanks in advance

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