Illustrations, Photos and Text by Clark Schreibeis
I offered to Larry to write an article and asked him for a little direction. His response was, “An article that fish carvers and fish taxidermists can both relate to would be nice.” After a few days of pondering this request, I began to think of all the overlap between these two “fish artist” disciplines. Larry’s answer provided a little direction but not a lot, because these two fish art forms are so closely related and have many areas of shared study. So I asked myself what I would like to learn that hasn’t been featured before in Breakthrough. I thought, you know, it’s rare when I get the opportunity to visit another “fish guy’s” shop and observe firsthand how a person approaches painting and see what products he actually uses to get the job done. So… this article will address exactly that. I will show and explain the paints, paint products, and painting aids that are in my personal tool chest for painting. It should fill the bill for Larry’s request and hopefully give you some tools for your own painting arsenal as well.
This articles explains fish prep, airbrush paints, tube paints, acrylic paints, and using other color enhancements. To read the rest of this valuable 5-page reference study, subscribe to BREAKTHROUGH online or call 800-783-7266.
by Mike Kirkhart
I am going to paint this dolphin referencing the photos included in this article. Many dolphins, both cows and bulls, have these colors and it is the most common and expected colors desired by clients. This is a green and yellow gold coloration with lots of blue spots and markings. I’ve caught many bulls that display a tremendous blue on their dorsals and backs, but let’s stick with these photo references to show the mainstay version that satisfy 99 percent of my customers. I always ask what colors they remember the most or ask for any photos that they might have to help them choose. When we do a pair of them (cow and bull), I like to paint them different, as they all can be. I typically paint a bull with more blue and a cow with more green. These are fish with glowing neon colors, so I might as well paint them as the beautiful creatures they are. I will use Lifetone paints on this fish.
Editors Note: Mike sent along this outstanding reference photography by Pat Ford, a professional photographer living in Miami, Florida. You can visit his site at patfordphotos.com.
To access all the incredible reference photos and Mike's custom hand-drawn painting diagrams, subscribe to BREAKTHROUGH through this website or call 800-783-7266.
by John Jennings
Who hasn’t thought about raising prices and wondered how that would affect your overall revenue? If I raise my prices will I lose all my clients? There are many reasons a taxidermist may consider raising prices. Maybe your costs have changed, or your quality has increased. Or maybe you are just getting too busy and want to limit the number of clients you have. Regardless of the reason, you need to be able to explain your decision to your clients so they understand.
Emotional pricing is the number one reason for small business failure, and fear is the biggest emotion in your studio. Before making any fear-based decisions, you need to make sure your house is in order. Analyzing your revenue, costs, and prices should be an ongoing process, not an annual event. How often do you review your books? Do you know what your overhead rate is? This will fluctuate over time. Do you know what your profit margin is? What is your second largest expense (salary is usually the first)? Do you give discounts? How much have you given away?
There are good discounts and bad discounts. Eliminate all sources of bad discounts before raising prices.
To read the rest of this vital business article, subscribe online or call BREAKTHROUGH at 800-783-7266.