Since I did the skin mount LMB tutorial, and followed it up with the bluegill tutorial, I have had several people ask me to post a crappie tutorial. I think Blacks are harder to paint than Whites, so I figured I'd photograph the steps I used when painting a Black Crappie and share them. Keep in mind this is a commercial mount, and if you were planning on competing with a crappie the painting process would be much more involved. The blank I used for this customer is a Dennis Arp (Old series, not a 3-D) open mouth closed gill. The body detail was great on this cast, and the head detail was fair at best. That being said, I didn't fix anything on the blank so it was good enough for me. LOL The paints I used were a combination of Polytranspar and Lifetone lacquers. I started by attaching the fins. I will wait until after painting to attach the pectoral fin. It gets in the way of my painting and I find it easier just to wait. Normally I would tint my epoxy with some white tube acrylic paint, but I got lazy this time and didn't. Next I antiqued the blank by spraying it with Black Green, then steel wooling off the paint leaving color in the skin pockets. I also sprayed the fins with a fairly heavy coat of black green. Now you need to tone down the harshness of the antiquing. I did this by using a fairly heavy coat of Superhide White on the sides and belly, and a light shot of Black Green on the back. I then covered the entire blank with a heavy coat of Chrome Pearl. Now it's time to do the fin vermiculations. There are several ways to do these. Some like painting the vermiculations with a frisket, then removing that after spraying the fin with color. Others will paint the spots with white paint. My favorite way is to just remove the paint with a small brush and some lacquer thinner. It takes a while, but in my opinion leaves a vermiculation that isn't as harsh as some of the other methods. Here are the finished fins. Now it's time for the hard part, painting the markings on the sides. You can use some charcoal powder and blending stumps for more control if you need to. I just use my airbrush for speed purposes. Try practicing some of the basic shapes on a scrap piece of paper. I use the alphabet a lot when painting, and on crappies I use a combination of v's, n's, x's, m's, and y's painted right side up and upside down. Mix in some dots and dashes and you are good to go. USE REFERENCE!!!! This is the fish with the markings airbrushed. Notice the top of the fish almost looks striped like a white bass or striper, the sides have the markings I just demonstrated on the paper, and the bottom of the fish is mainly just a darkening of each scale pocket. Now time for some color. First I used some Payne's Gray on the top 1/3 of the fish. Then I hit the same area with Candy Bright Yellow, fading a little farther down the fish this time. I also used a medium coat of this color on the fins. It still wasn't as yellow as the reference I was using, so I used a medium coat of Waterfowl Base Yellow on the top 2/3 of the fish. Tough to see in the pics, but I next mixed some fleshy color in my color cup using one drop of Mars Red, four drops of Superhide White, and lots of thinner. (Probably 80% thinner) I used this thin flesh to accent the bases of my pelvic fins, as well as the entire base of the anal fin. I also colored some of the fleshy areas on the bottom of the head and throat. I got back out the black green, and darkened the trailing edges of the dorsal, anal, and caudal (tail) fin. I also did some detailing on the head. Also very hard to tell in the pics, but now I did my powder work. I used the same Pearl-X Powder pigments that I discussed in my other tutorials. I tipped the back scales with Iridescent Green, mixed in a few scales tipped with violet and gold, brushed a heavy coat of Iridescent Blue on the bottom 1/4 of the fish, and used it in the thin membrane areas of the head. I used Flamingo Pink and Bright Orange to do the fleshy areas on the head. You can lock in your powders with a quick shot of sealer so they don't rub off. At this point I had cleaned my eye and thought I was ready for gloss. One final comparison with my reference showed the overall tone of my fish was cooler than that of the real fish. To warm it up I used a light to medium coat of Chocolate Brown thinned with about 60% thinner on the top 1/3 of the fish. Go very lightly, you shouldn't even see it going on...but it should change the tone just a touch. Finally I was happy enough with the paint job to gloss it. I used a 2-part automotive gloss on this fish. Notice the vibrance it gave the colors when applied. Here is the finished fish attached to driftwood, ready for crating and shipping. Hopefully some of you will find this helpful.