How to make a GYOTAKU:

Fish art: You don't need to be an ichthyologist but it helps to be an angler. Begin by catching a fish. You will find out that some species work better than others. generally flat fish with large scales are best. Salt water or fresh water, it doesn't matter.

Perch are pretty good. Especially if that's what you happen to catch.

Rinse off all slime. Salt, vinegar, or dish detergent will help.

To make GYOTAKU Fish Rubbings: Apply pigment. Acrylic paint works well. Don't paint the eye.  Sometimes you will need to prop up the fins with magazines. You may want to plug up the anus with cotton so it doesn't soil the paper.

Carefully lay paper or cloth on top. Don't let it move once it touches.

Now, with a steady confident hand touch all areas. Memorize the anatomy and call out the names so you don't forget to touch everywhere. Spiny and solf dorsal fins, peduncle, caudal (tail) fin,anal fin, pelvic, and pectoral fins, operculum, lateral line and nares.

Peal back the paper to reveal a mirror image. Allow to dry. you can re-ink and pull another print.

Only the eye needs to be painted in. Study the shape of the pupil and the color of the iris.

A finished GYOTAKU! You may be surprised at the detail you can achieve. To see many examples of GYOTAKU by artist  Barry Singer go to

Good luck!