Archive for the ‘Fish’ Category

How to Paint Fish for Taxidermy

Taxidermy Fish Painting

Taxidermy Fish © by Ryan Somma

If you are performing taxidermy on a fish and it requires painting then one of the most useful things a taxidermist can do is obtain an original photograph of the fish. This is usually easy to do if you have been given the fish by someone else as they usually will have taken a photo of their prize catch. However, if no such photo exists then the next best solution is to obtain another fish of the same pieces so it can be used as a comparison when colouring the fish it.

The reason why it is so important to have another specimen or photograph to look at is because a fish must be thoroughly dried if taxidermy on it is to be performed. Unfortunatley this drying process, whilst it helps to preserve the animal, usually ends up fading away any of the color left on the skin, although some colors may still be present. Also, you should paint the fish soon after the rest of the taxidermy process has been complete as otherwise the colors will soon fade even further.

As a rule, the colors of fish are always much darker on their topside which has their back to the light, compared with the underside of the belly which is usually lightly coloured. The reasons for this coloration is because it helps to camouflage the animals.

The first layer of paint should be applied quite thinly so that the any mistakes with the color can be easily corrected. After this have been applied and you are satisfied with the coloring another more heavily layer can be applied on the top and sides of the fish. If mistakes are made and the paint is applied too heavily then to remedy this solution then take a fine brush and reapply the colors of the previously present scales.

Looking at the photographs taken (or another specimen), the next stage is to apply the details and spots of the fish. This may include any unique markings and stripes that may have been lost during the drying process. If you have found during this process that the head of the fish is too bumpy then a small application of wax should be placed on the head before any paints are applied.

Once you are satisfied with the result you may have to wait for a day or so before the paint has fully dried. This may be especially true if you are using oil paints for the coloring. However, once the paint is fully dry then a layer of varnish should be placed onto the fish to ensure its preservation. This also adds a wet look to the fish, as if it has just been caught out of the water.

Did you find this article useful? Then find more useful taxidermy information available in Taxidermy Made Easy – available now!