Practice: HTB Head
Practice: HTB Head
This lesson is premium only. Join us in the full course!

The Shading Course

Module 8 - How to Invent Shading

Practice: HTB Head


Practice: HTB Head



In this project, we'll apply the "Halfway to Black" (HTB) shading method to a simple head.



  1. Download Project File – If you prefer, you can also draw your own head or build it in a 3D program like Blender. If you do, keep your design very simple! This is important. Every surface you add will create a lot of additional work when you start shading. Make sure you only use flat surfaces. Except for the eyes, which should be half-spheres.
  2. Choose Light Direction – Make sure you have a good 1-2-3 Read. (See the lesson "7 Tools for Showing Form".) Create two light probes: one for the floor and one for the head. You can omit the cast shadow for now. We'll add it in the next assignment. 
  3. Apply HTB Shading – Create 4 variations of different local values for the floor and head. (See examples.) Don't draw reflected light or ambient occlusion yet. That's also for the next assignment! :) 
  4. Upload – Share your work.

Meet these Challenges

  • Draw correct perspective.
  • Use two different local values for the floor and head.
  • Make each of your four variations unique.


This project should take 1–3 hours to complete.

Common Mistakes

  1. Undefined light type.
    Decide whether your blockhead is lit with natural light (parallel light rays) or artificial light (a nearby point light source that radiates rays).
  2. Inconsistent light directions.
    Make sure you have the same light direction and 1-2-3 read on the head and the floor.
  3. Outlines.
    Don't show outlines in your final image.
  4. Light from below.
    Choosing a light direction lower than the floor will create a cast shadow of the floor onto the head.

Additional Examples

Submit your assignments here
Drop images here to attach them to the message
Give a gift
Give a gift card for art students to use on anything in the Proko store.
Or gift this course:
About instructor
Former program director at Barcelona Academy of Art. Passionate about teaching craft and exploring the inner game of art.
Browse the FAQs or our more detailed Documentation. If you still need help or to contact us for any reason, drop us a line and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible!
Your name