RayburnGuy

Alternative Fin Painting Technique

6 posts in this topic

I have long been envious of the folks here at TU who have the skill to paint such intricate details as fins. I first tried cutting out a stencil in the shape of a fin and spraying through that to get the desired shape. That didn't turn out too bad, but when I tried to brush in the shadows, lines and other details it all went south rather quickly. It's hard to do detail work when your hands shake like a dog trying to poop a pineapple. After spending a little time thinking about it I came up with an idea that works for me. I'll grant you it doesn't look as good as what some of you are capable of painting, but I don't think it will have any trouble fooling a fish.

I first found a fin shape I liked online and copied it to my computer. I then opened the picture in my photo editing program. ( I'm using an old copy of Paint Shop Pro, but if you don't have a photo editing program I've heard there are several good free ones online. ) Once the picture was opened in the editing software I erased everything but the fin. I continued to clean up any ragged edges from the initial erassure and then used the smoothing tool on the edges to smooth it out even more. All details inside the fin were erased as well. The outline of the fin was fairly thin so I increased the width of this line by several pixels. When I was satisfied with the outline I drew in the lines that were to represent the rays or cartilage or bone structure or whatever it's called. Once I was satisfied with the image it was time to print it out. I had left the image fairly large so it would be easier to work with and the final sizing was done with the printer. Using the printer software that is included in my photo program I printed out several images until I got the desired size. The picture can be sized using the adjustable "aspect ratio" feature in the printer software of my editing program. I would print out an image and check it against a bait body and make adjustments accordingly until it seemed correct. I then printed them out onto water slide decal paper, sprayed the printed images with the ink fixative and allowed them to dry. Now we can move on to the next step.

Laying some frisket paper over one of the printed images I cut out the outline of the sized fin in the frisket paper. It's very important that you make the cutout as close as possible to the same size as the outline of the printed fin. Then two squares of clear plastic were cut from the same material I use for decals. Any plastic that is fairly stiff should work as long as it's clear so you can see through it. Windows a little larger than the size of the fin outline were cut into the clear plastic. The frisket paper was then placed between the two pieces of clear plastic and glued into place making sure the fin cutout was centered in the windows. As you can tell from the photo below I got a little carried away with the super glue when gluing the frisket cutout between the pieces of plastic. I will probably be making a new one of these, but this one worked for the experiment. The picture of the plastic with the frisket glued between them was taken against a brown background so the window and cutout would show more clearly. The whole purpose of this plastic "window" was to make handling and holding the template easier.

After all this was done it was time to cut out the fin outlines from the decal paper. I didn't try to cut the exact outline of the fin, but chose instead to leave a small border of decal paper around the outline. Maybe 1/16'th of an inch. This makes for a little easier handling and the decal edges will disappear once it's smoothed out and clear coated. ( a pair of tweezers proves invaluable when handling a decal this small ) I use a small, pointed artists brush that has a little stiffness to it to move the decal paper around and smooth it out once it's on the bait. After getting the decal applied, smoothed and dried it's time for painting. Placing the bait in some type of holding device you will hold the plastic window with the fin cutout over the applied decal. You will need to line up the inside edges of the cutout with the outside edges of the fin decal and spray through the window. Holding it fairly close will cut down on any overspray, but you will still need to turn your air pressure way down to avoid any splattering. I had my regulator turned down to less than 5psi when doing this. This probably means you will need to thin your paint quite a bit as well. You will need to use a transparent paint when painting the fin so the "skeleton" of the fin will show through the paint. This is where the details of the outline and rays start to come in play and make for a more realistic fin. A few light coats work much better than trying to do it all at once. And don't forget to heat set the paint between coats. Another thing that helped me was waiting to paint the fins until after I had clear coated the bait one time. (MikePaintsBaits told me about doing detail work like this. Thanks Mike) Doing it this way makes any mistakes a lot less troublesome. You can also scrape away any overspray that might have gotten "outside the lines" of your decal by doing it this way.

This is something new for me so I have no doubt that some of you can come up with things that will make this process easier or make it look better. Like I said in the beginning, this is not meant to take anything away from the guys whose skill levels I most likely will never attain. This is just meant as a way of doing something for those of us less talented.

If you have any questions or comments, good or bad, about any part of this please feel free.

To the moderators..................If I have posted this in the wrong forum please move it to the appropriate spot.

thanks for reading,

Ben

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Edited by RayburnGuy

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Ben,

Thanks for taking the time to share your new fin painting technique. I am just about to start learning to use an air brush, and, although I have always been invidious of the fin details that are attained by the experienced brushers here at TU myself, I to am not sure that I will ever have skills that match up.

Your idea will give me another option to try. Good work.

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That is a neat idea. Glad it worked out for you. You have a very creative mind, and a lot of patience, for sure.

I am still at the water based sharpie, brush-on paint stage.

I can't airbrush those kinds of details to save my life. The fish with the fins I try and airbrush drown. :lol:

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Thanks guys. It was my pleasure. Just hope it helps someone or maybe gives them an idea they wouldn't normally think of.

@Mark..........If you had ever seen any of the "oilfield fits" I'm capable of throwing you might reconsider how much patience I have. lol And I can assure you, if I can do this you surely can. I have fairly large hands and start having trouble handling things when they get smaller than a basketball. (that might be just a small exaggeration)

thanks again,

Ben

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On this vid ther is part where artist paint fins ading a "bone structure".As you can see, detail work is hapening after clear coating bait. I hope it helps

Im sory on my bad english. Kosta

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On this vid ther is part where artist paint fins ading a "bone structure".As you can see, detail work is hapening after clear coating bait. I hope it helps

Im sory on my bad english. Kosta

He sure makes it look easy. I guess artist says it all.

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