Thursday, July 31, 2014

Project: Gyotaku: Fish Printing

Beaches equal the sea and the sea equals fish. Gyotaku is the traditional art of fish printing. The method was originally used by Japanese fisherman to record their catch. It's also a great project to do with kids. Gio and Eamon love it and often ask to do it. 

Step One: Gather materials. For the fish, I use this set I got from Blick. It's a bit pricey, but I think it's a good investment. You can also buy actual, whole fish (bass and flounder print well) and with a good cleaning you can still eat them. Also, a couple of Hake brushes and some tempera or finger paints. 

Step Two: Pour paint directly on the fish and brush it evenly over the fish.

Step Three: Move the fish to a clean surface.

Step Four: Lay clean paper over the painted fish and rub.

Step Five: Lift paper evenly and let dry.

Step Six: Draw/ color around the fish using crayons, markers, or oil pastels. The kids especially liked turning the crayon on it's side and getting a different texture.

The fish printing offers a nice opportunity to go over fish anatomy and how they use their fins to swim and their gills to breath. And if you use real fish it would be quite fun and funny to eat it afterwards.


  1. Great project! I've been fascinated by this art form.

  2. That's a really cool activity. I hadn't heard of fish printing before