Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Gyotaku Fish Print

My husband caught this beautiful 29 inch redfish in the bay a week or so ago.
Being the artist I am, I saw an art opportunity in this fish!  LOL
I've always wanted to try fish printing or gyotaku.

What is gyotaku some of you may ask?
Gyotaku is the Japanese art of making fish prints.  It is usually done on delicate rice paper or can be done on other papers as well.
 This artform reproduces the exact features and characteristics of actual, individual fish like the one he caught here.
In Japanese, "gyo" translates to "fish" and "taku" translates to "stone rubbing."

So, the only paper I had that was big enough for a print of this fish
was freezer paper.  It was thin and flexible, so it worked well.
 I didn't have ink, which is normally used in fish printing,
so I used acrylic paint.

We washed and dried the fish really well.
Then I brushed a thin layer of paint on one side of the fish.
I carefully laid the paper on top of the fish
and then carefully pressed all over
before lifting it off.
It took two tries before I got this fairly good print.

Now I want to add just a few details to the dried print using watercolor.
To do that I took some close up photos.

If you have created you have any tips for me?

Oh, BTW, this red fish was cooked on the grill that night.
It was delicious!

Savor the Day!


Mary Helen-Art Saves Lives said...

I have done this type of printing but it was years ago...and the size of yours is stupendous!! Art and dinner at the same time!!!!! Wonderful! HAVE a great week! Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Debra She Who Seeks said...

That is one nice fish. Your hubby is clearly a mighty fisherman!

Have never tried gyotaku (or even heard of it before) but it occurs to me -- wouldn't it work better if you had the paper on the bottom and pressed the inked fish down on top of it? Just a thought.

Yvonne said...

Good idea Debra...for a smaller fish especially. But a fish this size? I don't know, will have to try that next time. Thanks for the idea.

Barbara said...

I love this, Yvonne! I hadn't heard of Gyotaku. Im going to research it to learn more. Also, since we now have a place to go fishing in warmer weather, I'm going to make sure I have laid in the inks, paints, paper, etc. laid in necessities waiting for our first fish of the upcoming season.
They are usually flounder, so I don't think I'll have one the size of your red fish. This is going to be fun, and a race to the fish after docking the boat to see who gets to it first, me with paper and paints or my husband with the filet knife will be interesting! :)

Kim Andersen said...

I've never tried it but I have seen salmon prints done by artists in my area. They've done it on fabric, which is pretty cool. I like the idea of going back and adding detail. I look forward to seeing what you do!

Lorraine said...

wow look at the size of that thing!!! good idea to save the memory as a print and that would probably last us all awhile..glad it tasted nice

Fred B. Mullett said...

Look to for more on fish printing.

Tammy@T's Daily Treasures said...

Never heard of the technique but look very cool. I have a fish painting in my living room that one of the kids did in 3rd or 4th grade. It's done on rumpled brownish paper and is made to look old. I thought it was so nice that I just had to frame it. Wishing you a wonderful weekend. Tammy