I suggest using Guitar Reranch nitrocellulose lacquer spray cans and following their instructions.
In general, it will be sanding sealer, primer, color coat, clear coats, buff out.
If you want a perfect gloss use clear coats on top, and then use Micromesh to buff out. Best finish I ever got.
If you just want some color and don't care if it's super glossy, you can stop after the color coats.
Stew Mac also has an excellent book called Guitar Finishing Step By Step.
Be sure to practice on a scrap piece of wood first so you don't ruin your guitar.
1) sanding sealer to plug up the pores in the wood
2) primer to obscure the color of the wood and let the paint stick well
Sound like I have to learn to be patient and meticulous to get the finish I'm looking for.