Practice: HTB Worm
Practice: HTB Worm
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The Shading Course

Module 8 - How to Invent Shading

Practice: HTB Worm


Practice: HTB Worm



In this project, we'll practice "Halfway to Black" (HTB) shading by drawing a striped worm. 


  1. Draw the outline of your worm.
  2. Draw the floor.
  3. Divide the worm into 5 sections/bands as in the example above. (If you add more sections, you'll create a lot more work for yourself.)
  4. Make the light direction in this scene come straight from the top. Draw your estimation of the terminator on the worm and a cast shadow on the floor.
  5. Draw 3 light probes, representing 3 different local colors for: 
    1. The floor
    2. The lighter "skin" of the worm
    3. The darker "skin" of the worm
  6. Find the shadow value on each light probe by using the "Halfway-to-Black" method and shade in your picture.
  7. Upload your image.


Meet these Challenges

  • Draw smooth, clean tones. (See this how-to article.)
  • Maintain a clear difference between the light value and shadow value. Especially on dark materials.
  • Take into account the environment. Bright environment = a lot of ambient light -> adjust halfway-to-black shadows a little brighter. Dark environment = less ambient light → adjust halfway-to-black shadows a little darker. 


This project should take 30–60 minutes to complete.

Optional: Refined HTB Worm

If you like, you can add occlusion shadows, reflected light, and shading in the halftones to create "refined Halfway-to-Black shading".



You are welcome to use this shorthand "HTB-Scale" to find the pairs of light value + shadow value.

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Former program director at Barcelona Academy of Art. Passionate about teaching craft and exploring the inner game of art.
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