How to Shade and Highlight in Serif DrawPlus X8

In today’s lesson, we are going to learn highlighting and shading in Serif DrawPlus X8. If you are already reading this article, I will assume you already have DrawPlus. If not, it’s a great illustration program which can be purchased from Amazon for about $25.

There are perhaps other ways to do this, but I’ve found using an object duplication method to be easiest.

If you would also like to watch a video, here it is;

If you would like to follow along, you can download the alien buddy DrawPlus file here.

main body

The first thing we’re going to do here is select the main body of our little purple friend.

Copy and paste the object to duplicate it in place. You can see the new object is now our top layer.

Our newly created object is going to be the highlight object. Select the fill button in the color tab and slide the “lightness” slider to 100%; or just pick white as the color.

fill and line

Then, change the fill opacity to 25%. Instead of using the slider, you can type a value in the opacity label by double-clicking on it.

Now, since our highlight object is not going to need a border, we’re going to click the line icon in the color tab and set it to none or transparent.

Next, we are going to select the “Erase” tool. You can change the eraser tool size using a slider on the toolbar.

The erase tool will subtract the shape of the “brush”, or the circle we’re using here, from the selected object. This basically simulates erasing.

Use the eraser to remove the portions of the object which you do not want to be highlighted.

Now, to add the shading layer, we are going to duplicate the main body object again with copy and paste.

HSL and opacity sliders

This time, we are going to fill the object with black, using either the lightness slider, or just selecting black.

Personally, I like using the hue sliders because I find it easier to select the right color.

Change the opacity of the black layer to 25%; just like on the highlight.

Erase the portions which you do not want to appear shaded.

Okay, let’s work on our little buddy’s arm.

Let’s select the arm and bring it to the top layer. We can do this by choosing Arrange, Order Objects, Bring to front.

We have a problem with his right arm. The problem is that the object is not closed; it is an automatically-filled line.

In order to use the eraser, we are going to have to close the shape, but first I will explain to you what happens when we don’t.

arm with implicitly-closed object

Duplicate the object using copy and paste.

We’re going to change the color for shading and use our eraser tool. When you attempt to use the eraser tool, the arm shading now has a straight line.

What’s happening is that we’ve now changed the start and end points of our open object, so DrawPlus is now implicitly drawing a line between the new start and end points.

Let’s delete/clear that object.

In order to use our highlighting/shading trick, we are going to have to explicitly close the object.

The arm object was created using the b-spline tool, but we’re going to convert it to B├ęzier curves by clicking the “Tools” menu and “convert to curves”. Alternatively, you can also right-clicght the object.

close curve button

Now, let’s choose the “Node” tool. There are at least two ways we can close the curve. We can select the two ends and then click the “close curve” button, or the easier way is to select the shape with the node tool and without selecting the points, just click the close curve button.

Once you do that, you will see there is a line connecting the two points and the shape is now closed.

Now we can make two copies of the arm; one for the highlighting and one for the shading. Use the steps above to shade and highlight the arm.

Some objects you may want entirely shaded or entirely highlighted. For this, you can simply select the object and adjust the “L”, or lightness slider, in the color palette.

There we go! You are now on your way to shading and highlighting DrawPlus objects!


Carl Mann

Full-Stack Developer

Former owner of an I.T. consultancy business in Southampton, NY, Carl gave up the hustle-bustle of I.T. to live his dream of becoming a full-time application developer. When not busy blogging or programming, you might find Carl out taking a ride on his motorcycle or hiking off in some woodland trails.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *