Looking over the internet traffic reports for the first year of Ken’s Corner, I have noticed that fish painting schedules are quite popular. Reprinted from 2001’s “North American Taxidermy News”, here is a classic set of instructions for painting a black crappie originally written by fish artist extraordinaire, Tom Sexton of Iowa. It is also one of the featured paint schedules in “The Breakthrough Fish Painting Encyclopedia” published by WASCO. This book contains step-by-step airbrush instructions for over 50 commonly mounted species and is available through McKenzie Supply.
The information that was presented in these older paint schedules can still be very useful to fish taxidermists, so I am happy to offer them here to anyone who might benefit from them. Here in Ken’s Corner they will find a new audience and will remain accessible for years as a searchable online resource. Even though the painting steps are simple, this schedule produces beautiful results.
Black Crappie Paint Schedule by Tom Sexton
from The Breakthrough Fish Painting Encyclopedia
using Polytranspar Airbrush Paints
The colors of the black crappie vary to some degree depending on where the fish is found, the time of year, type of habitat and even the mood of the fish. This schedule, reprinted with permission from “The Breakthrough Fish Painting Encyclopedia”, was developed by Tom Sexton and should work well for most color variations.
Step 1. FP220 Fungicidal Sealer — Clean the head and body with acetone or lacquer thinner. Any raised scales should be layed down with Super Glue or similar adhesive. The entire surface should then be sealed with Polytranspar FP/WA220 Fungicidal Sealer by applying a flash coat, followed by two or three wet coats and allowed to dry completely. There should be a definite sheen to the surface after the application of the sealer.
Step 2. FP/WA10 Superhide White — Lightly apply this color to the yellowed skin areas only. This include areas such as the anal opening, the interior of the mouth and the gills and gill flaps. Do not apply to the side of the body, just the “yellowed” areas.
Step 3. FP/WA110 Bright Silver — Very lightly apply this color to the upper two-thirds of the body, including the opercle (gill cover) and cheek. Position the fish with your lighting so you can watch this color go on. Be careful not to apply too much. It should be just enough to barely cover.
Step 4. FP/WA402 Silver Pearl Essence — Apply a moderate to heavy coat to the entire body of the fish. Do not be concerned with incidental overspray on the fins.
Step 5. FP/WA425 Yellow Gold Pearl — Apply a light to moderate coat on the upper one-half of the body of the fish.
Step 6. FP/WA240 Wet Look Gloss — Spray a light to moderate coat over the entire fish.
Step 7. FP/WA260 Bright Yellow — Mist a light spray to the upper two-thirds of the body and head (be careful of overspray). Next spray a lighter coat onto all of the fins. Be sure to mist the edges of the maxillary and mandibles (lips).
Step 8. FP/WA300 Sailfish Blue — Lightly mist this color on the upper one-third of the body from the maxillary and mandibles (lips) to the base of the tail. Control overspray.
Step 9. FP/WA65 Scale Detail Black — Detail the fish with black following the existing spot pattern. Do not forget the fins. After detailing, darken the upper back, the dorsal fin, the tail and the anal fin to the desired value. Mist the edge of the “lips” and the upper maxillary plate.
Step 10. FP/WA440 Shimmering Blue Iridescent — Position the fish with your lighting so that this color can be seen as it goes on. Mist the entire fish with a very light coat. Next, spray a few small spots on the upper one-third of the fish, using no particular pattern.
Step 11. FP/WA442 Shimmering Gold Iridescent — Follow the same procedures as in step 10. Include the random spots, but do not spray these spots directly over the previous spots.
Step 12. FP/WA441 Shimmering Green Iridescent — Mist the upper one-fourth of the fish from “lips” to the base of the tail. Then randomly apply spots to the upper back as in step 10 and 11.
Step 13. FP/WA444 Shimmering Violet Iridescent — Spray a mist on the lower one-quarter of the body, then “spot” the upper back as in the previous steps.
Step 14. FP/WA443 Shimmering Red Iridescent — Mist an even coat over the lower one-half of the body.
Step 15. FP/WA240 Wet Look Gloss or FP241 Competition Wet Look Gloss — Depending upon the intensity of the gloss desired, choose one of these glosses to apply to the fish. Begin by spraying a light flash coat over the entire fish and allow it to dry to the touch before spraying a heavier wet coat.