How to Paint a reproduction Fish

To paint a reproduction fish, you will need a few things to start. Here is a list:

  • Fish blank (perch is a good starter)
  • Air Brush and compressor
  • Water Color pencils (middle chrome)
  • Sealer (flat gloss)
  • Pearl Ex powders (yellow, green, spring green, interference gold,)
  • Reference photos
  • Pan Pastel oil paints (pathlo blue x dark, yellow ocher, bright yellow)
  • Glue
  • Masking tape
  • Charcoal stick
  • Epo fin grip
  • Paint (candy dark green, candy bright yellow, candy paynes gray, Candy light green, Candy sail fish blue, candy red)
  • Lacquer thinner
  • Paint brush (small type a scrubber or stiffer bristle)
  • 00 steel wool
  • Gloss (triple thick glaze.)


To start you will tape the fins off. You will then spray Candy Dark green lightly along top and side of fish. Clean air brush with lacquer thinner. You will then spray Candy bright yellow from the mid-section and blend it into the belly of the fish. Clean Air Brush. After this you will use the charcoal stick to outline the bars on the side of the fish. There are 6 main bars. Next you will use Candy Paynes grey to fill in the bars. Spray is mediumish. Next you will use 00 steel wool and lightly take paint off on the fish so that it’s just missing from the tops of the scales. Next you will use the Derwent middle chrome pencil draw all over the fish, up/down/side/side. Use a damp paper towel (no water running from it) and activate the water color by patting it. Next remove the tape from the fins. For the fin work we will start with candy paynes gray. Spray it dark at the base of the fin and lighter as you go up. You do this for both dorsal fins and the caudal fin. Now you take a stiff brush dip it in lacquer thinner dab some off on paper towel then use brush to rub paint back and forth on the fins. It will cause it to look splotchy. After cleaning air brush you then you candy bright yellow. Adjust spray very lightly so you can go close and spray the fingers on the fins. Clean air brush, Repeat with paint brush. Now lightly spray Candy light green on lower half of rays and fins and lightly on back of fish. Clean air brush after each use. Next Candy Paynes gray lightly on webbing of fins and dark at top of hard rays. Next use Candy Sailfish blue to deepen the top of bars and lightly between bars and down bars. Next use the pan pastel bright yellow on the belly and side of fish. Now use pathlo blue xtra dark on the bars of the fish. Now take a piece of steel wool that small, twist it and tighten it, and randomly clean scales. Next seal the fish. Now is the powder work, this is where reference plays a big part. Follow the reference but here’s the colors to use and average places to use. On the back to mid body Green, Yellow. Back and side Spring green outside edge of scales. Now seal it. Interference gold is used on the bottom half of fish.  Use yellow pan pastel to touch up the yellows on fish. Yellow ocher pastel on the head. Charcoal to create the black dots/lineage. Powder work (use reference) For paired fins Candy Bright yellow then Candy Red. Also do that on anal fin. Super glue to fish use epo grip to rebuild the fin buts. Wait a few house touch up work according to reference. Gloss the fish.

How to Paint a reproduction Fish

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