Liane sent in this fantastic site by Joshua Knuth, sculptor and taxidermist here’s a recent post about paint a specific type of fish… The animated gif shows the process. When you’re done checking it out, tour the portfolio – it’s amazing.
This is my method of reproducing the colors and pattern of this species . There are many ways to do this and this is only one of them. Reference is KEY! Study your photos, study the live fish. Look close! when you think you have looked close enough, Look closer! I use many brands of paint and mainly apply the color with a brush. I am a firm believer that there is no magic bullet in painting, no brand that will cover all of the bases.
That said its time to horde paint, any time you see it! Cheap, expensive, flea markets, department stores, craft stores, art supply stores. You can never have enough.
in my experience the key to painting a crappie is in the layers. The subtle variation in the patterns of crappie come from the pigment on the skin under the clear scales and the thin flap of scale pocket on the top of the scale. this is VERY hard to reproduce, because we dont have the clear scales to refract the light, so we need to cheat. this is done by painting in washes and layers using a subtle peppery brush strokes, and pearlesent paints.
Editor’s note, a male White Crappie is a type of fish, not the Wall Street guys we all just bailed out. Sorry for any confusion.