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Some Painting Questions

Discussion in 'Fish Taxidermy' started by h20halo, Jan 19, 2020.

  1. h20halo

    h20halo Member

    Hello all. First post here. I'm very interested in learning fish taxidermy as a hobby. I work with the local high school bass fishing club and run the jr. division which is for kids up to 8th grade. Before I work with any actual specimens I need to know if I can paint. Obviously, its a total deal breaker for me if I can't learn that aspect. To me, that's the talent that really separates the good from great mounts I see. If I can't learn to do it well AND have fun doing it, fish taxidermy won't be for me. I won't waste anyone's time on which airbrush to buy, I see there are tons of threads and answers on that. I have a few questions on paint though:

    1: Water based seems to be the popular choice for a variety of reasons, mostly health based I'd guess. Is this the best choice for someone new like me? Is it best to pick one manufacturer of paint and by a starter kit? Which line do you recommend?

    2: what is the best surface to practice on? I want to practice blending, thinning, layering, scale tipping, etc.

    3: I can't seem to open any of the 52 week Q & A threads in the sticky. Is it something with my chromebook or are those links not active

    Thanks in advance!
  2. jrandall71

    jrandall71 Member

    Get a half cast from a supply company. There like twenty something dollars and have several species to choose from. Try different paints and see what works for you. If the finished product is not to your liking.. wipe it clean and try again.
    msestak and h20halo like this.

  3. h20halo

    h20halo Member

    Thanks for your input, I looked at the price of replicas and ruled them out for practice but hadn't really checked into the half casts.
    msestak likes this.
  4. Frank E. Kotula

    Frank E. Kotula master, judge, instructor

    Ok the fallacy on water vs lacquer is a bit out there.
    Water is safe if you get it on your skin compared to lacquers.
    The big thing is read your msda sheets as once airborne their just as bad for your health. So it ends up as your choice.
    If your going waterbase look at golden paints. Their one of the best on the market but you’ll have to learn on how to mix your own colors.

    As stated above, get a cast and play.
    GuessWh0 and h20halo like this.
  5. Tony Corleone

    Tony Corleone New Member

    Polytranspar Lacquers have dominated the competitions for over thirty years. It's not even close.
    Gary R and h20halo like this.
  6. Richs Taxidermy

    Richs Taxidermy Well-Known Member

    A half cast is a good way to learn on mixing and thinning paint but a white replica will be different then a dried out dark bass,learning scale tipping is another battle,Golden paints are a great choice ,also check out Matuska videos createx is a great paint when properly thinned.Just rember the guys that win world titles have very thin hair for a reason,lol,don't give yourself time lines to learn ,takes alot of trial and error.
    GuessWh0 and h20halo like this.
  7. h20halo

    h20halo Member

    The more I study on here and other places, the more I lean towards water based. A few things play into it for me. One, I'm a water treater by trade and expose myself to enough chemicals already on a day to day basis. Two, I have kids and its going to be a hobby so I'll probably be working in the basement. Three, cleanup just seems easier and less toxic. Last, I'm probably not even the best painter in my house at this point, let alone competing at high levels, so I think it just makes sense to start water based and see what happens. Thank you for your reply, I have already read a lot of your informative posts on here.
    Frank E. Kotula likes this.
  8. h20halo

    h20halo Member

    Thanks, Rich. I saw Frank mentioned golden paints as well. I'll look at createx. What about woods and waters? Is it best to try and stick with one brand for the bulk of the work?
  9. Frank E. Kotula

    Frank E. Kotula master, judge, instructor

    Use any medium you like. There is a world of different paints, powders, metallics out there. It’s up to you to find what works best in your hands.
    Mudbat likes this.
  10. jimss

    jimss Active Member

    I started fish taxidermy in my basement several years ago. If you know what fish species you are painting you can narrow down which colors to use. There is a lot more to painting fish than using an air brush. I would highly recommend Rick Krane's videos for the fish species you are interested in. The videos will save you a bunch of time and frustration! His videos go into detail on multiple medias available to use to paint fish. Also the order of layers painting a fish.

    I would also recommend buying small reproductions. Small replicas are a lot cheaper than large ones. You can also buy fish heads to practice. If you shop around online you can likely find some decent deals. I've bought some horribly cheap replicas that I fixed or added detail to head, fins, etc.

    As mentioned above if you use water based paints you can merely wipe them off until you get the layer how you like before sealing...then go onto the next layer. One thing that every beginner should keep in mind is less is almost always better! Misting or applying light coats are way better than heavy coats and layers!

    The benefit to oil paints is sometimes they have a little more vivid color than water-based. You have to be super careful switching from water based to oil colors...they don't always mesh and you may have a mess! I would also experiment with sealing between layers and your final coat. You may learn the hard way about the final gloss coat/s. Mist it to begin with and don't put it on too heavy or your paint job may bleed!

    I sectioned off a room in my basement with a plastic liner. I open a window with a fan when painting..I wouldn't do this with oil paints....fumes aren't good! I would advise water based paints especially to begin with!
    h20halo likes this.
  11. Clew

    Clew Help a child, Build our future

    York, SC
    As far as mediums go
    In some cases I have and still do use cigar ashes
    Makeup and a few others
    jigginjim and h20halo like this.
  12. jimss

    jimss Active Member

    Different colored Liquid Scales will be your best friend for scale tipping. Watercolor pencils are a must have for pretty cheap $. Jacguard color pigments are amazing for adding irredescent colors. Metallic gold and bronze powders are great for certain species, carbon sticks work fantastic for chalky black coloration....the list goes on!
    jigginjim and h20halo like this.
  13. h20halo

    h20halo Member

    Jimss, thanks so much for the detailed advice. I really appreciate it. I will be doing fish from my home state of Michigan, starting with warm water species and then hopefully I'm good enough to start looking into the trout and salmon. I'm really doing this for personal interest right now to see if I have any talent and to keep me out of the bars, haha. I've taken a couple boats down to the hull and rebuilt them. One fiberglass and one aluminum. So, I have quite a bit of experience working with two part epoxies, fiberglass, etc. I'm a fair woodworker too. I think these things will help me. The painting is probably the biggest question mark. Long term, who knows. If it goes well, maybe a hobby business in retirement.

    I've looked at the Rick Kranes videos and website and will definitely purchase a few and learn from them. Also, Randy Budzynski is doing a seminar at the MTA annual meeting called fish 101 which I plan to sign up for.

    Clews, thanks for your input too. I'm familiar with how tobacco and other products can stain. Don't ask me how.
  14. Mudbat

    Mudbat Well-Known Member

    I’m a big fan of golden hi flow. Use some polytranspar and lifetone as well. As far as colors go I’ve got a shit ton but only use 5 or so of them regularly. Learn to mix your own and lay them down in a way to get the colors you want. Very rarely is a fish the color that’s in a bottle
    Cory, 3bears, h20halo and 1 other person like this.
  15. h20halo

    h20halo Member

    Mudbat, thanks for the reply, good info.
  16. h20halo

    h20halo Member

    I bought and watched Rick Krane's bluegill video. I thought it was excellent. Rick is obviously an incredible fish painter, but he is really a good teacher of his craft. He explained so much in detail and made it easy for a beginner to understand. I've also read just about everything on here that pertained to my interest in fish. So many knowledgeable people willing to share. Its been a great resource.
    Lance.G likes this.
  17. Water based paint is not a safe alternative. It just does not have a harsh smell.. Binder still will settle in your lungs, pigment will still settle in your lungs. Some of the water based pigments are more hazardous than the lacquer counter part.

    Just because it does not small bad does not mean it ok to smell. Its going to fool you.

    Cyanide smells like almonds a small amount will kill you.
    ISOCYANATE will kill you also. n isocyanate reaction often includes coughing, tightness of the chest, shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, eye and skin irritations, gastric pain and loss of consciousness. Continuous overexposure to isocyanates can lead to pulmonary sensitization or "isocyanate asthma.".

    JHardman and Frank E. Kotula like this.
  18. h20halo

    h20halo Member

    John C, thanks for the reminder. I do work with harsh chemicals every day in my job and am aware of the dangers of water based paints. My decision is based not just on what's happening when you atomize the paint in a spray, but all the other things that go along with using it, such as cleanup, fire hazzard, etc. I appreciate you looking out for everyone, though, that is good info shared.
  19. joeym

    joeym Old Murphey

    I've painted a lot of fish...a whole lot of them. I would not consider water based paints at all. Laquer dries instantly, and is much easier to use in airbrushes. Cleanup is easier also, IMO. Provide adequate ventilation and wear a respirator. I take fish outside and lay on a table in front of my shop to apply the first 3 colors, which are the most volumous paints, creating the most fumes. Five colors on bass, all Polytranspar. Bass Belly White. Overlay it with Chrome pearlescent. Mist the back and down on the sides with FP-61 green. Detail markings and spots with Dark brown. Gills are painted with gill red, and it's also used to highlight the reddish areas on the cheeks and at fin bases. Go to a seminar in your state. There's nothing like seeing someone paint firsthand.
  20. jigginjim

    jigginjim Active Member

    Some are now going into createx paint for taxidermy, You can get several at your local Hobby Lobby mixing colors, using color wheels. more then a single color in a bottle.
    Sotired likes this.