Introduction: FISH PRINTS

About: I am an artist living and teaching ART in NYC for over 30 years, and I am a CZT, Certified Zentangle Teacher. I love to explore all sorts of art making both in my teaching and in my own work...check out my sit…

Doing Fish Prints is part of my third grade art curriculum. It is a fun project that the kids love. For the past few years these prints were displayed in our all school art show. (As they will be this spring) Everyone admires them and wants to know how we do it. A few years ago I decided to offer Fish Printing to a group of faculty members as an AFTER SCHOOL WORKSHOP. Since then it has become quite popular and I have offered it to other groups.


a photocopy of a fish. printed on 8.5 X 11 paper

cardboard backing

plexiglass (I use a piece that is 12X16)

assorted acrylic paint

small brush


paper towel


nice paper...I use Arches BFK you want a smooth surface,( not rough like watercolor)

Step 2: Setting Up

first tape the photocopy of the fish to the cardboard then place the plexi on top and tape that down.

Put the paper on the top area of the plexi and tape that across the top.

Step 3: Starting the Print

Begin by squeezing a pea size amount of your first color on palate. Choose a color that is an overall tone of the fish.

Using the fine brush start to dab the paint on the plexi. Just a few dabs, then print. You just place the paper over the fish and rub the back in the beginning it is a slow process and takes time until you actually have anything that looks remotely like a fish!

If you do this with a group its so much fun because every so often someone gets very excited and states, "mine looks like a fish!"

Step 4: Keep Adding Dabs and Printing

Keep printing, printing, printing...when you have too much paint on the plexi to be able to see the fish image underneath, clean it with the purell.

Step 5: Adding More Colors

Continue to add more colors to your fish. There is no need to wash the brush in between as the colors only mix on the print anyway. If you feel your brush is too globby with paint, clean it with the Purell. DO NOT USE WATER

Water makes the acrylic run and it will ruin your print.

Step 6: Start Adding Darks

When you feel there is a good image of the fish, start adding darker tones. Try deep browns, greens, blues and grey. Stay away from Black your fish will start to look muddy and you want the black for the eye.

Step 7: The Eye

Take your time with the eye. People have a tendency to try to do it in one fell swoop and end up putting too much paint on all at once and blobbing up the eye.

Just like the rest of the fish, little dabs of paint.

Step 8: Finishing the Eye

I like to take the handle of my brush and put a tiny dab of white paint (to indicate the light in the eye) directly o the print.

Step 9: I Generally Save the Eye Till the End

Add any more dabs of color anywhere necessary and then you are done!

Step 10: Gone Fishing

After School Challenge

Participated in the
After School Challenge