Lets ink some feesh
First we need some supplies:
1 fish, freshly killed. Where and how you choose to select your victim is entirely a matter of personal preference. You will want to be sure to kill the fish as quickly as possible and with as little struggle as possible. I'm partial to ripping gill arches. To do so, I insert my index finger into the fishes gill and hook my fingertip around the gill arches, and pull until the arch breaks. The fish will bleed out rather quickly at this point, holding the fish by the tail, head down will speed the process.
Once the fish is bled out, you will want to rinse any blood, sand, and mud off the fish and place it into a cooler with with an ice and water "slush" For fish too long to fit in a cooler I use a large waterproof duffel that I refer to as the "body bag". The goal is to protect the fish from damage in transport.
In addition to the fish, you will need the following:
Rubbing alcohol, surgical gloves, spray bottle, razor knife, tweezers, a whole roll of paper towels, a sunday paper, foam brushes and rollers, block printing inks, paper, hair dryer, and a foam packaging block, 3-4" thick, wide and long enough to lay the fish on.
You will need a working area such as a card table or small bench. It's nice to be able to walk around all sides, and the table should be small enough that you can easily work around all sides.
Now, crack a brew, fire up some tunes and let's begin:
Rick got all artsy with the music so I feel the need to do the same
The most labor intensive part of the process by far is the prep work. To prepare the fish you will need to strip it of it's slime coat, remove the eyes, and pack the orafices with cotton or paper to prevent leakage that could ruin your print. It's not as easy as it sounds...
Take a close up of the eye. You will be removing the eye and will need to print the eye seperatly.
You will want to start by wiping as much slime off the fish as you can, always working head to tail to avoid damaging any scales or fins. Rubbing alcohol helps dissolve the slime, use the spray bottle with a 50-50 dilution of alcohol and water. Spray the fish down, then wipe dry. You will need to do this several times.
Pay close attention to the fins, gill covers, and other little nooks and crannies that act as slime banks.
You will find that the areas where the fins contact the body hold a lot of slime, pay special attention to these spots.
Once you feel you've removed most of the slime off of one side, flip the fish over and de slime the other side. While doing this, you should select your fishes "good side", that is, the side you will print. You will want to de-slime and dry the other side as well, but not to the same degree you do the print side.
At this point the fish will begin to take on a dull or matte appearance, this tells me I'm getting close.
I will finish the process with the hair dryer on low heat, all surfaces of the fish should be dry to the touch, if need be, touch up areas that still have a bit of slime. Again, pay close attention to fins, gills, orafices.
I can't stress enough the importance of properly drying the fish - any small amount of blood or slime will smear the ink and ruin the print.
Now, the time has come do do the gruesome tasks of removing the eyes and gills. If left in place the eyes will print as a solid black circle that does not look very life like. When removed, only the eye socket is printed, leaving a blank space where you will later fill in the eye by hand. The gills still contain a fair bit of blood and fluid and can be easily removed in the interest of reducing the risk of fouling a print up.
Use tweezers and a razor knife or scalpel to cut away at the connective tissue holding the eye in. Be careful not to cause damage to the eye socket. By cutting around the perimeter of the eye ball you should be able to free it easily.
Stuff the eye socket with a small cotton ball or bit of paper towel.
Now for the gills - I'll use a ratty old pair of dykes to clip the gill arches off at their bases, removing the arches and tissue from both sides.
This is what you're after, get it all out, it will ruin your print if you don't.
Now stuff the gills with paper or cotton to absorb any additional leakage.
Last but not least, in order to avoid shit all over your print, you will need to plug your fishes ass with paper or cotton. Don't worry, they enjoy it just as much as you do.
Now we're getting somewhere. We have one more step to complete before we print. We will need to fashion a "bed" for the fish, out of packing foam. The goal is to print exactly one half of the fish, with deep bodied fish like carp, it becomes necessary to support the dorsal and anal fins, and the tail in order to print them cleanly. I like to do this by creating a "bed" for the fish, like so:
I'll lay the fish on the foam block and trace the outline of the fishes body, ignoring the tail and fins.
Next, I'll remove that material in the area I've traced around until the fish sits comfortably in it, and the dorsal fin and tail rest flat on the foam.
When it's done, exactly half of the fish's body will be exposed.
You are now ready to ink and print the fish, and so concludes part one, part two to follow shortly.[/report]
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