here are three photos of a black crappie I just finished. Please tell me what you think I need to improve on the most. I used a half cast method and painted the fish more silver then yellow. Is this acceptable for customers work. Thanks for your time and judge it from a stand point of NOT a beginners fish. I want you to bash me if needed.
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Is a blacknose if that matters or you are wondering about the black streak down the nose.
not familiar with that term, although it may be local lingo to your neck of the woods. It looks like a Black Crappie to me, there are alot of variables and coloration can change from location to location, time of year, spawning, water quality,etc so the main thing is , if you and your customer are both satisfied, that's all that matters. Try to use as much reference photos as you can get your hands on, and you'll see your work improve, also take some seminars at your next convention. P.S. You may want to add a little more flesh tones to the mouths interior, and gills, otherwise keep it up! Marc R
I think your customer will be quite happy. There a lot of crappies going out to customers that don't look that good. It looks natural and you didn't overdo the painting which many do on crappies.
I would prefer to see you fill in the fins with backing but that's my opinion and I know you disagree.
and I did use silk span on this fish. His tail was ripped up bad. The anal and dorsal weren't to bad, but i used it on them as well. I just tore it off while the glue was still wet and a couple places went a little far. I just can't cut that stuff without getting what I want to achieve. I will never be happy with anything because I see at least ten flaws in this fish. I just had to at some point stop trying. at least I didn't lose any scales maybe one but I don't guess thats to bad. This fish was super fresh though. the real test will come this week on a 9.5"er.
Marc I agree I think about the flesh tones everytime I get done. Like I said at some point I just have to stop. I know it wouldn't take much longer I just have top work it into my routine.
little light on the black and white to me but thats just me. Also it doesnt look like u used silkspan on all the fins....? I would be happy with it though good job
I didnot use it on the pectoral or pelvic Fins. I think I just figured out how to use it. I am working on a small crappie and I tore it before appling the glue and it looks like I will have something close, not prefect but close. We will see!
...the paint job looks fairly nice. The gill lay down area and throat latch area both look pretty good. This is an area that many don't get right.
Overall, I think you need to work on your positioning and the way things flow, the transition areas. I believe you overfilled some areas with your filler as well. It should be a bit thinner at the anal fin. This area really flattens out on a Crappie. It starts flattening out well before the fin itself. The upper part of the body looks too full to me also. You can see this in the front view photo. Top fins look off center. Eyes are a bit off. Painting in mouth looks painted - work on your control with the air brush. Fins ragged looking as mentioned but also they look "wavey" from front to back (as if you didn't have them carded tightly enough and they dried the way THEY wanted to). Same with the gill cover - very ragged looking and not smooth on the edge. Looks like the vent is off center along with a few scales missing near it. But it could be the reflection from the flash I'm seeing. Overfilled the anal fin root area slightly. And backside pectoral fin is off it's mark (why not just clip it if it's a wall mount?)
Several little issues, all in all it is a better job than many out there. Generally speaking, work on your symetry, clean lines and artistic presentation. If you're seeing things wrong then that is a good thing because YOU SEE them. With practice you can improve upon these issues. Unfortunately you'll then see ten more things you want to improve! It never ends actually...
That's the kinda busting I need. really, maybe on my thrid crappie I will get it better thanks to your time to point out things to me.
I will never clip a wall fin. The fish has two when it come to me. I don't care why others do it,I just think It is unexceptible(sp) to do so. Things like that and one eye and goofy looking seams are just some of the reasons I got started in this. Maybe I am just to picky, I don't know. I just don't see how it makes sense to clip them and or why. They can and will be seen at some point in the room they are placed in. I have only done 28 fish to date so we'll see. Thanks for your time Marty. I going to get these fish close to right one day. Maybe I am just rushing things to fast and not relying on reference enough. The fins are killing me though. I don't like anything I do to them yet, may never.
I WILL BE THANKFUL AND IT WILL HELP =Sorry shift stick. please tell me the good and the bad.
...it will go on for eternity. Quite frankly, I think the eye manufacturer's and the EZ Scaler companies are the ones who did a great job of convincing TAXIDERMISTS that these areas are important. Because I've yet to have a customer complain for either of those two issues with my mounts.
You'll find out through time Joey that with commercial taxidermy EVERY taxidermist has to make decisions at where they draw the line. You simply cannot spend the time you would on a competition piece. You've probably inherited many beliefs from whomever you trained under. And through time you will probably drop some of those beliefs and formulate new ones of your own as well.
By not clipping that backside fin on a Crappie, you now have it considerably farther from the wall and you're right, people will see the backside more. All you're doing is creating extra work for yourself on things that are relatively benign. Why not take that 30 minutes working on things only the wall will see and spend that extra time tipping scales and getting the fins lined up better?
I never set backside eyes on my fish until I was convinced (on this website) by others that it was important. I've since gone back to not setting a backside eye on all flat fish like Crappie and Bluegill because it's a waste of time. Depending on the positioning and specie I may not set a backside eye on many other species. I quickly sculpt in the eye and scolateral band and it gets hit with black paint. Guess what? You can't even tell it's not a real eye UNLESS you take the fish off the wall and turn it around. If you clip that backside fin now that Crappie is closer to the wall. Customer's will NOT see that backside eye or fin unless they pull the fish from the wall. Plus, by keeping that backside fin your fish is now another 2" away from the wall. Which will necesitate finishing more of the backside in the head and tail area as well. You're really setting up yourself for a lot more work doing these things that are meaningless to all but a handful of customers. Plus, if you're going to do them, get 'em straight! I do not associate crooked fins and eyes with quality work. Neither will your customers. Don't you think your customer would've loved to see some blues and greens and golds tipped in that upper back instead? You know, the side that they're viewing?
Fyi, one of the best commercial fish taxidermists whose done more mounts for famous fishermen than anybody else. And has done more State and World record fish than anybody else out there does NOT set a backside eye. You would think guys like Babe Winkleman and Spence Petros would know better eh? Nuff said...
The back side is important to me should be nuff said, but lets go on and on. The first guy that taught me In no way influenced me, and I dropped his techniques as soon as I walked out the door. Cecil taught me some good stuff but, I also drop a few things I learned from him. Four to be exact. One is the back seam, One is the back fin, The silk span thing I use on bad fins but not the way Cecil taught, And the I don't scale tip like he taught me. I will one day get the fins right I don't think I am far off on them.
My thing is this. There are taxidermist everywhere around me that do cheap crap like leaving out eyes. What does that save two-three bucks? I use apoxy sculpt on the back seam and have used the ez-scaler, but if you don't feather the machined edges out they look like junk. I now use a, Thanks to Cecil, A silicon mold to mark the back seam. The back seam takes me about ten minutes to get close and what's that 10-15 bucks. I am going to be the Highest guy around here within two years. I want to get it right.
I live in an area that will allow the limit of what one could charge, or so I think. In time I hope to go train under Gary B, and/or Rick K. Guess what, I will Probably drop some of their techniques as well. I know I will because I will always be looking for a better mount.
Remember I am starting out here Marty, and IMHO I don't want to start with low quality fish one eyed type of fish fish. I think They will make or break you in the end. You have said, that you have been doing this for 8 years do you still do the same things you were taught from the start? I never will is the point I am trying to make. Someone if not all who read this ia going to think I am an ass, because of what I said here. I have a hard time getting my point across to mean what I am thinking and was hesitant about submitting this.
Just to let you Know. I don't care to ever win a National or world title, Its just not me at this point. Five or Ten years down the road I might change my mind and really want to get one. I just want the type of fish mount that would lead in that direction. Not just another fish on the wall. Good day and thanks for your opinion and time.
...yes I do many things I was taught from the start because I had an excellent teacher with proven methods. Some I've discovered on my own, bit the foundation is still there. We're not re-ionventing the wheel here.
If you associate the backside of the fish not being finished to perfection, then that is the line you've drawn. That's fine, to each his own. Keep up your energy level in good luck in all of your endeavors...
I don't care to re-invent anything just improve upon it If I can! To make the ride smoother, you know! Later
...there ain't a whole heck of a lot in this industry that hasn't been done. We're doing taxidermy. And although there are improvements in products and such, the basic principles of taxidermy will always be the same...
and I did get you. I just think that there is a lot more to come. And I am going to strive for higher standards from myself and set a new one each time i mount something.
How the anatomy was off on Joey's fish when he used the half cast method. You really can't get any closer to the anatomy of something when you use a mold.
Cecil, But I will admit I over filled it and the back Or wall side Is a bit off and to thick at the anal fin joint. The front is fine and this fish was a thick dude, throughout the belly and back area so the photos are hard to really tell. That's what I hate about Photos.
but I like how Marty pointed some things out to me Even though the fins aren't wavey, like he thinks. I did put some curl in them though as this is the first in a series of 5 that will be chasing some shell crackers off. If I get the rest to do.
This was a test fish for the customer so to speak. I think he is going to be one of those good ones yall talk about. He wants a red fox I am working on when I get it finished. But best of all he never asked how much it would cost to mount these fish, just asked what the deposit would be when he came to drop off the fish.
See I can spell it if i want. Though and thought get me every time..The end.
...but Joey beat me to it (caught me actually working - lol!). You're still relying on the person filling in the voids properly with the half-cast method.
The gill cover is certainly "wavey". You want a nice flowing curve when you card it. Probably didn't use enough paper clips. Fins I couldn't tell for sure.
Cecil might think I'm picking on you Joey, but I'm not. You asked for opinions on your mount and you wanted folks to be honest - not the sugar coated "fluff" that a lot of folks hand out. And you certainly didn't expect folks to mistake your mount for a real fish now did you? Until that happens, we ALL could use some critique. (Well, maybe not Gary and Frank and a couple of others!) Perhaps I should have emailed you instead, but then others wouldn't benefit from some things I may have gotten right. I was being highly critical and I thought that's what you wanted so please don't take it personally. (I did say some positive things as well btw...)
That's why I started to not reply to you. I didn't want you to misunderstand what i was trying to say. I am happy you took the time to give me a honest opinion, Ta=hats what i wanted. I wish you or others could see it in person so the photos couldn't lie. The coloration in the photos is off from what the fish really looks like. The gill covers are wavey the next time I will use more clips I think I used three or four. Plus I beat it up some trying to get n there to paint since I barely openned them. really thank you. If I thought you were being anything, it was honest. later,
The customer will see it thursday or friday so I guess that when it will count.
since you brought it up. If a fish that i am working on ever jumps out of my hand into the water and swims off, I will be happy. until then feel free to give the the bucket. I really need it. I went back and reread what I typed to you and it seemed that I was defending my work i didn't mean it that way. Thanks
...your stuff if you feel that there's a difference of opinion. Heck, arguing (I mean "debating") is what this site is all about - lol! Sometimes photos are indeed deceiving. I've become a master of hiding all my mistakes on my work via different camera angles - lol!