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Discussion in 'Fish Taxidermy' started by Mudbat, Apr 14, 2021.

  1. Mudbat

    Mudbat Well-Known Member

    Honesty question.
    Why when people ask for critiques on pieces are they typically given for the paint only? Many have terrible anatomical issues. Why not try and help them through that and start with something that it pleasing to the eye then move to paint? Ive always viewed it like this. You can put a great paint job on a poorly done skinmount or replica and it will still look like shit. Or you can put a ok paint job on a nicely done replica or skinmount and it will look good. So much emphasis gets put on paint work and not enough( in my opinion) gets put into actually making it look like a fish first.
    Sorry just had a customer send pics of a 22 brookie that took a lot of sculpting work( blank for it didn’t really exsist) that got severely damaged in shipping. A bit grumpy this morning.
  2. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

    While your observation may be partially right but, for the most part only taxidermists are the ones going to notice anatomy, especially on fish. I doubt there are many customers out there that spend any time studying a fish, more than to to look at the coloring and patterns. For most of us out there, those are the ones we do this for and if we can rock a good paint job on a fish, regardless of anatomy, we have happy customers. That and just about no one ever asks for a critique on the anatomy of their fish.
    ARUsher and Mudbat like this.

  3. Mudbat

    Mudbat Well-Known Member

    I always find that odd. Then again I see mounts all the time that leave you wondering if the people that are super happy have ever actually looked at a live animal before!
    ARUsher, Lance.G and 3bears like this.
  4. 3bears

    3bears Well-Known Member

    Some of us do the best we can, within reason that is. The only one who can really make a real or fake fish look like it's supposed to is the Creator. As commercial taxidermists we have to be able to make money and still get enough work in and done to keep our customer base happy and coming back. Over time you learn what the customers tend to overlook and what they actually see and spend more effort on on the latter and that goes for all mounts not just fish.
    ARUsher and socalmountainman like this.
  5. 1fish2fish

    1fish2fish Well-Known Member

    You keep harping on this, anatomy over paint. But its really just a chicken-or-the-egg issue, and arguments in either direction tend to select the most flawed examples to support a particular opinion.

    Of course the best scenario is good anatomy AND good paint.

    I have seen some mounts with imo mediocre paint (typically too little imo) that still look quite nice because the mounts are "clean"- truly good anatomy probably happens quite rarely-it is an area I'd like to improve for certain.

    But, to be frank, from what I've seen, those are generally outclassed by mounts with "poor anatomy" but killer paint, particularly on selections of older replica saltwater and LMB.

    I think great anatomy is something to strive for, but for commercial work, a "clean" mount is often a good enough canvass for paintwork that can make it shine.

    Typically, folks that can do one aspect well aren't too far behind with the other.

    But, feel free to critique both at will, if you are truly dedicated to helping an op. Done respectfully, it can make a real difference, and if the poster is closed off to it too bad for them.

    Probably, folks ask more about paint t because they start with a replica and don't anticipate that to be anatomically erroneous.
    Clew and 3bears like this.
  6. Frank E. Kotula

    Frank E. Kotula master, judge, instructor

    First off why ask for a critique and then you cry or bitch call names to a person you’ve ask to critique you lol
    This is hard for anyone to be here with honest and true answers.
    Whats best a good anatomical fish wether repro or skin? To many of us is used to what the industry offers and 85% is junk and the other 15% most dont or can’t afford to buy. Then foam bodies that are offered are poor quality but that’s finally coming along to better forms but it’s hard to find those in the right measurements. Then what, we carve. This now becomes an issue cause most can’t understand or even attempt to learn anatomy. Why? To lazy anymore more it’s I’m a taxidermist cause I can put a skin over a body or buy a reproduction and call myself that. It’s today’s world wether we like it or not. This is where competition comes in to learn on how to get better or not it’s your choice.
    Since I started I became anal and wanted to learn as much as I can and excel in this trade but you give up a lot to get there. Raising a family and doing this full time with all aspects of taxidermy is hard. But it’s a personal choice just like wether to buy, carve, cast etc. So saying this I like to see a decent looking body for commercial work it’s commercial not high quality but don’t ask to be critique on commercial work unless you’re looking to improve yourself.
    Then painting and hearing how a harbor freight air brush can do the detail work if a high quality brush. It says you know nothing about quality and or need better glasses to see the difference. But as said it’s detail work not broad spraying which can be done with the crappist brushes.
    Yes my commercial work is high quality but it’s not competition work as I’m putting in more detail work that my judge would know but my client unless they are detailed artist or a biologist they have no idea but my clients do know quality from lesser work. Plus having a quality bush means nothing unless you learn on how to use it. Again it’s time and who has that time to put it but if you want more money guess what put the time in lol.
    In the long run good clean work, colors that are somewhere close is what the general public wants . That’s all that matters the rest of us are just ANAL and my shoe ( well it’s so worn out it my toes stick out) fits just fine to be that as many know that’s who I am.
    Mudbat and socalmountainman like this.
  7. Clew

    Clew Help a child, Build our future

    York, SC
    Your shoes aren’t worn out
    They are flip flops
    Frank E. Kotula likes this.
  8. Mudbat

    Mudbat Well-Known Member

    Frank you know damn well you can’t fit the sausages in a pair of shoes!
    Frank E. Kotula likes this.
  9. Harum

    Harum Active Member


    Good topic. I suppose it’s all relevant to the individual giving the critique. Hard to point out anatomy issues if the viewer has little knowledge in that area. There has been so much info shared on painting that many could simply regurgitate what they’ve read and pass it on to the individual asking for the critique. So, how should a person go about explaining what they see in a mount? For example, I’ve seen work that has had high praise by many but, looks less than desirable to me. Should I offer my insight into why the piece is lacking? Should I offer my knowledge even though the person would likely not understand or in many cases not accept it? At that point am I giving a critique to the OP or to the viewer? Just maybe it’s better to simplify your impute and give the OP something easy that will improve their work. Anatomy is far from simple but, many painting techniques are simple. That would be my guess as to why most offer painting help.


    We’re not all from the same cloth. I’ve learned very little by competing. Well, at least in regard to my work as I did learn some interesting things on human behaviors.

  10. JHardman

    JHardman Active Member

    Good topic as stated earlier.
    For some; the effort to improve the anatomy of a mount whether it be a replica or a skin mount isn't worth the time. If they are asked to critique a mount, the same artist can only critique what they know.
    Some of the very best lessons learned for me personally have actually been on anatomy. There are so many different ways to apply color to a mount that I tend to focus less on that portion.
    The best advice for improving my taxidermy work came from a friend who told me to attend a competition. Interestingly enough the judge said very little about the paint on my work even though it was rough to say the least. So I guess folks ought to specify what they want critiqued on :). That way others may know how to help them with what they really want to learn.
    I received an anatomy critique from Pete (Harum) several years ago on a replica channel catfish. I have looked at replica anatomy differently ever since and I believe my end product is all the better for it!
    BTW I tend to agree with the thought that good anatomy with average color work looks better that good paint on a train wreck :) to each their own.
    Harum likes this.
  11. 1fish2fish

    1fish2fish Well-Known Member

    Usually, the way it's called:

    Proper anatomy = underwater
    Proper paint = above water

    so.....Frank-n-fish for the Akeley...but this isn't art it's taxidermy...o_O
    Lance.G and Harum like this.
  12. Harum

    Harum Active Member

    Frank-n-fish... LOL