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new .. need guidance and critique

Discussion in 'Fish Taxidermy' started by tfrenzel, Aug 12, 2011.

  1. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    When you lay your ego out there, don't get defensive when someone steps on it. So it IS your second one and it MAY look better than some professionals out there, but YOU ARE AN ART MAJOR. To me, that doesn't cut you as much slack as a rank beginner as I'd expect you to take reference pictures and simulate them better. I would expect a better representation from someone with your background.

    I'm using the word "harsh" even though some back off that. The spots MAY look like SOME bass, but the majority of them don't. The spot pattern is random but still organized and as they work up and down the vertical line of the fish, the top ones fade into the dark dosal and the bottom ones (which are nonexistant on your fish) fade into the off-white of the belly.

    In your winter spare time, why not invest in a couple videos by guys like Matt Thompson or Rick Krane to see the subtleties that can make your work stand out better. Go to the tutorial section here and look for a world class one from Cole Cruickshank on how he paints a largemouth bass. Then if you scroll a bit farther, you'll see another world class paint job on a salmon by Jeff Lumsden. What those two guys show is the difference between a "commercial" guy like me a a person who "majors in fish art."
  2. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    I have a similar background as yourself. So, my opinion carries a LOT more weight than everybody elses's opinion here - lol! J/K of course.

    Anywho... I also see a lot of good. And, I would say most any customer would be happy with that replica. My biggest issues with your pant job is you have a lot of green going on there. AND, that MAY have been how the fish looked, but I tend to add a little more color here and there to spice things up a bit. In your case, some fleshtones/pinks will compliment those greens nicely. I don't like the pec fin - looks painted to me. I think the spot pattern looks pretty darn good for the most part except you lose it a bit at the tail. Your spots look better than 80%+ of the mounts I've seen out there.

    My advice is a bit different than most others. It couldn't hurt to get a DVD or training, but I think you can manage just fine with subtle improvements via just paying a little closer attention to reference pics. You obviously have artistic ability and are starting out WAY above most just cutting your teeth. But, as George said I think having the Art background the expectation is higher and hence the reason why many are SO critical. Being an Art Major you also understand that critiquing your work is the way you improve. But, you also know MANY people are LOOKING for problems and many only look at this and not the plus side of things. I'm sure you have thicker skin than most because of your background. Keep in mind also that many on this site have very high expectations that (again) most if not all customers won't have. If you're going to want to make money at this - forget what the perfectionists say because one thing they won't tell you is that they are hobbiests and they don't even know or care how much money they make. IF you want to make a decent wage at this as a side job you must learn what is important and what's not when it comes to painting fish. Learning techniques that give you the most bang for your buck. Certainly improve, but you do need to swallow your ego and cut the umbilical at times. Even the best will admit that they get overly retentive at times and (again) most customers aren't going to notice the difference between those that tip all those scales once or the ones that tip them three or four times. Do a couple more replicas and hang them in your office for potential customers to see. Let them decide if you're ready. You'll improve with each fish you do and you'll begin to see things for yourself. Again, good reference is critical. Go to garage sales and buy some fishing mags and cut photos out of them. Many great closeups in fishing magazines and oftentimes you can get a box of them at a G-sale for a song. Not having to rely on paint schedules and others techniques will help you develop your own style. You are light years ahead of most of us when we started...

  3. if art is what you love i say go with it. i think your second is nice and you will improve as you go. i think its great to offer your clients the service. you can take pis of their catch measure order repro and you have a pic with customer and their fish that you could use for reference. nothin the matter with releaseing those big fish though i like a good skin mount but unless thats what you want them big fish usualy are not that good of eatin and up were im from in mich there are also some advisorys in some locales warning on eating larger specimens because they cary more mercury dioxins etc. so in my opinion go for it!
  4. den007

    den007 Active Member

    I will agree with Joey. I have seen many fish of poorer quality from full time taxidermists. Yeah, it is a little green, yeah the lateral line marks could be delineated a bit, some scale tipping,, whites are a bit too white. However, overall, nothing to be ashamed of especially for a second mount. Better than many.
  5. J_Guid

    J_Guid New Member

    X2. Keep it up buddy. That fish looks pretty damn good.
  6. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    You guys do realize I hope that this is a REPRODUCTION FISH. We are addressing the PAINT JOB only.
  7. wishbone

    wishbone New Member


    ha! i like this.....fish TAXIDERMY is a different ballgame!
  8. J_Guid

    J_Guid New Member

    Yep... Its what he said he wanted to do right? Reproduction.... He is well on his way.
  9. Those spots look like 90% of the bass from Table rock lake. Thiese lakes a clear clean and cold below 25 feet. sometimes the clarity down deep can be 100 ft.

    Maybe and I am getting the funny feeling most of the fishheads dont have clear water. The olny time we get the dafed spots is on durty water bass or stressed bass. Also dont get those halos int he line down the side like the souther bass have.

    I have fished over most of the area of the USA from Arkansas to Flordia and to the West coast and caught bass and trout in many many places and I seldom see faded fish, this inclides Milford and Tuttle Creek in Kansas, when its been raining those lakes bass will be faded but in the hot summer when the water clears they also have a hard defined line.

    Hence the name linesides bass as the oldtimers call them.
  10. http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2474/3766103803_9d05dbdcc2_z.jpg
    Notice the cloudy water. line not extremely defined.

    Very defined but narrow line. Cant really tell about the water but I think it was spring and the temps low.





    Here hard line even underwater, buggedeyed not the rolled laying on the deck eye. oh small small pupil in that eye too.
  11. tfrenzel

    tfrenzel New Member

    Re: Re: new .. need guidance and critique

    I eventually will possibly school on the taxidermy side but I send the dead fish to the taxidermist. That's a whole other beast. I enjoy the pointers and even some criticism.. as long as its on the art.. ;) I'm putting some of the advice to use right now. Ill post an improved pic or two when I can get the good cam on her.

    Thank u all for your help.. I will definitely continue pushing to improve.

    Outdoor Hub mobile, the outdoor information engine
  12. George

    George The older I get, the better I was.

    John you and I haven't disagreed much but I guess its time. I wasn't talking about the distinctness of the spots but rather the PATTERN of them. Even your references show the distinct "3 line" pattern common to all largemouth.
  13. George, I was showing everyone the line on most of the bass from table rock is distint and not the faded soft line they get fromt heir shollow clouded water lakes.
    While Frenzels first few fish are going to be lacking he will get better I am sure. Even some who have spent several thouasand dollars going to shcools are lacking real looks.
  14. fishhead990

    fishhead990 Grinning about the 16 lb steelhead you can't see!

    I think some of you guys missed this little statement along the way, i.e. fading markings on the lower side, scale tipping......."it's just half done".....

    From what I see it looks like you're on the right track but as others have said nothing beats the price of at the very least a DVD by a really good fish taxidermy artist. Take that advice and run with it. The money you spend on that will FAR outweigh any critique you will get on here at the stage you are right now, especially with a half done paint job. Gloss changes everything from intensity to shades of color, even more so if you haven't applied sealer coats along the way.

    Maybe some of you guys who have used them could suggest some good DVDs on painting largemouth bass for our new friend here....I could use a couple myself!!

    As for your idea about combining the two careers I think it's a grand idea because the two go perfectly hand in hand. Don't let a few naysayers discourage you. The combination may be a bit unconventional but it is logical I'm all for that!! Catch and release is very important to a person in your position so staying away from skin mounts is a good idea for you and in the end it's your choice anyway.
  15. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    AND.... it's just replicas. It's not like you'd be screwing up somebody's skin mount trophy of a lifetime. IF for some reason a customer doesn't like their replica, offer their money back. No big deal.

    Also, take much of this critique for what it's worth. Like I said many people in this thread are extremely OCD and don't make any money at this and are highly critical. Also remember, this is the internet and ANYBODY can post. Many never post pics of THEIR own work and you have to wonder if some are even qualified to critique. Take it with a grain of salt....
  16. fishhead990

    fishhead990 Grinning about the 16 lb steelhead you can't see!

    Check out this photo it shows exactly what George is referring to on the lower fish.

  17. marshy creek

    marshy creek New Member

    John C....you need to have your dive tank mixtured adjusted...or maybe it is the two part car epoxy you use to gloss your fish....I have yet to understand the need for UV protection from an ordinary house light source....with all your experience, you should write a book....maybe call it " How to change a real fish into a mount with a camera"
  18. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    UV protection certainly couldn't hurt. No matter what recommendations you give your customer, ultimately many will hang their fish where it WILL be exposed to sunlight part of the day. Two schools of thought here. One, you're being proactive and helping protect your customers fish. And, two you don't worry about it, the paint fades and you get the repaint work in 10 years - lol!

    I've switched from Triple Thick to the Painters Touch 2X. Which does offer UV protection w/o the worries of the ill-effects from a two part gloss (I gloss outside). 2X is some pretty nice stuff it's a lot less temperamental than T.T. AND it's half the price of Triple Thick!!!!
  19. Brian W

    Brian W Well-Known Member

    Just to clarify and correct, contrary to the statement made that some guys on here think skin mounts are holy, I would have to disagree. I would venture that the majority of fish heads on this site are "pro-choice", meaning they're not 100% C&R nor C&K. They honor both orders as it means money in the bank. Give the customer what he wants, price it reflective of the value they are getting and you have a successful win/win proposition and long range customer satisfaction.
    I stand by my statement also as to get a little more experience before turning on the open sign. I'm a little shocked at some of the experienced guys telling you to dive in and do it with you having little to no tenure. I wonder how many of those guys followed the same advice they are giving to you when they opened their business, with just 2 repros (or 2 skin mounts for that matter) under their belt (que the cricket sound).......
    Listen, you obviously have talent and drive. That's great. You also have an Ace in the hole with your background. Two gold stars there. Let me ask you though, did you start your guide service after catching just two fish or does a person open an auto repair shop after just two tune-ups? NO. What are you going to do when the client catches a pike, or smallie, or steelhead or anything other than the two you have done.
    I'm just saying back the boat up a little, get better prepared and THEN start your business. But dont take my advice, I'm just a hobbyist that knows nothing about running a successful business...... ;)......Much luck to you and look forward to seeing more of your stuff. You have a great start........
  20. FishArt

    FishArt Well-Known Member

    Brian, you are correct - I wouldn't touch a customers mount until I felt comfy doing so. But, that's because I do both skin mounts and replicas and it took me a good two-three years before I was comfy taking in customer's work. IF one is just doing replicas - and doing a pretty darn good job as this person is - why wait those two years? That number is just relative. It's not like he's going to ruin their fish. Replicas nowadys (as you know) you can order ready to paint and other than possibly using something incompatible and issues stemming down the road I just don't see the big deal. Skin mounts, no question. The difficulty factor and margin of error goes up exponentially with skin mounts. But, I just don't see much risk involved with purchasing ready to paint blanks and going for it. I've seen many folks open their doors for business with far less realism going on with their mounts and many doing it for many years in the same boat. Yeah, I could see one's reputation being on the line. But, again we're talking store bought replicas here. This guy obviously has some talent - much more than many doing this for many years. JMO dude - and you KNOW I love you like a bro!!!!