Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Stunning Fish Art by Jared Miller

I'm a sucker for brown trout. So when I came across Jared Miller's stunning depictions of brownies from all over the world in American Angler magazine, I became a fan instantly. You can also commission Jared to illustrate your catch. I can't stop looking at his work, I highly recommend a visit to Streamside Illustration. Here, Jared describes the technique he uses to achieve such remarkable realism:
I start with a photo or photos of the fish, then draw the fish to scale on 100% cotton-rag board. This is the point where the specimen's details are recorded on the board, including spotting and face and fin shapes. I attempt to capture every detail possible from the photo. After the fish is in pencil, I then move on to the coloring, for which I use Prismacolor colored pencils. This type of pencil produces rich, life-like color, and allows me to record fine coloration and subtle variations. The depth in the final art is a product of the color-layering process necessary with colored pencils: colors are applied on top of existing colors on the board, layer upon layer, until complete. I then "burnish" the illustration, essentially going over the entire piece with light colored pencils to eliminate the board's grain. Next, I add the scales using a number of techniques, including etching them in with a sharp knife and applying the scales with a fine brush and acrylic paint.

Thanks Jared, and if you check in here, please comment. I'd love to know how long it takes you to complete an illustration like this one.


Jared M said...

Great post, Ed (although I am slightly biased). The brown trout here is 21" long, and it takes anywhere from 25 to 30 hours to finish one at this size. Some smaller trout might take around 20 hours. I wish I could do them faster. There are so many beautiful fish out there.

This particular brown came from the South Fork of the Snake River here in Idaho. Lots of browns in that river. About 2 years ago in the spring (I believe March), my brother and I hit the river in the morning (yes, it was cold, but sunny), and ended up catching 6 or 7 all over 18" in about an hour. Then it all stopped. We were there at precisely the right moment, some sort of river-induced nirvana.

Anyway, I think I've taken up too much space. Best of luck on all our trout-filled water, all across the country.

Ed. said...

No such thing as taking up too much space, this is the internet!

Thanks for checking in, Jared, I appreciate it. 30 hours still doesn't seem like enough time to achieve that much detail! Helps to be passionate about your subject matter, I know that.

I'm still waiting for an 18" brown to come my way. You WILL hear about it when it happens!

Thanks again, Jared, I hope you get a little boost of traffic to your site.

Fred T in Idaho Falls said...

I've spread the word about JM's fish art and people really LOVE the idea. I've seen his work up in Jackson and also at the fly shops along the Snake River. Very, very impressive. Can't wait to have him do one of mine.

Ed. said...

I've seen and enjoyed the fish art of many others, but he's the best!