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Painting Detail On "Tough­to­Paint" Fish by Ed Walicki
When faced with the task of painting fish with intricate spot and vermiculation patterns I often rely on my 35mm slide projector to lend a hand.  By using a slide image of the same fish and projecting the image stream of light onto your carving and adjusting the focal length to size the image to the same size as your carving, you can then lightly pencil in the detail.  I often use this method when replicating fish for clients that want a carving of a fish they caught and released and they only have a photo for me to work from.  I slip the photo into a opaque projector (when using a print or photo, for slides use  a slide projector) and shoot the image onto a wall covered in white paper.  I then dial in the image to the exact size and trace the
pattern to use for the carving. 

Once the carving is completed and primed white I then project the colored image back onto the carving and draw in my detail boundaries that I will use to paint the fish.  So in theory, if the clients fish had 173 spots and one scar.....so will the final paint job.  You would be surprised what a difference this method can make in your final paint job. 

Knowing how well this works I load my camera with slide film prior to any reference fishing trips and pose my specimens in poses I often use in my carvings.  This way one fish can supply a painting template of sorts for any size fish of the same species.  I will shoot for example, one flat straight pose, one tail up, one tail down.  For a top view, one straight, one curved left or right (you can always flip the slide for left or right) then maybe a few head close ups and back into the water they go.  I found slide film has much richer colors than using print film and ordering slides to made from it. 


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On this page I will attempt to provide on a monthly basis some helpful "Tips & Tricks" for you to use or try in your carving adventures. If anyone has an idea or suggestion, tip or trick please e-mail it to me and I will pass it on to our viewers. Thnx's... My e-mail address is ....   omemories@hotmail.com   


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