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Got any tips of the trade ?

21468 Views 88 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  alanwebfoot
Wel l since I have been in picture taking mode I thought some people would find these tips and methods useful… I also thought this could be a great way to learn from each other :thumbsup:

Many times we all have seen pictures of mounts where there is no smooth transition between the head/neck/breast junction. People always say that the skin needed to be "taxied" forward. Odds are many people are thinking "what the heck does "taxi-ing" mean.

Here is a bird where you can see a head with a thin neck ending abruptly into a wide breast…

All I did was pull the breast skin forward toward the head to thicken the neck up and to give it a smoother transition for a more pleasing look. This literally takes less than a minute to pull the skin forward and to work the feathers back into place. This is what is ment by "taxi'ing the skin forward". Now you can pull too much forward for the no neck appearance so it is always a judgement call as to how much do you adjust. I did some modification to this hen after the picture but thought you would get the idea.

Another easy fix is the mud or rust stain found on many birds breast and neck areas. On this pintail you can see it has quite a bit of stain…

All I did was applied some Whink's to the stained areas with the feathers being wet. Within a few seconds you will see the stain simply disappear. A second application may be needed if you miss a spot. After the stains are gone I just rinse the skin in water and proceed. There are numerous products that do the same thing so this is just what I use.

I use latex gloves because of certain chemicals so I wanted to share a great brand of them I have used for the past few years. They are super strong and can be taken off and re-used multiple times. I originally bought a box for 14$ from a supplier but have since found that you can buy them for 7$ a box straight from the company. You can hardly by the cheap, rip if you look at them wrong brands for that.

I really want to get other's input on this topic since we are never too old to learn new tricks. Some of us take for granted that we use this or that because it has just been how we learned way back when even though some better method or product has existed. If you have any tip about this or that please post it up.
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Brian, Rick Krane shared with me quite a few years ago, the pastel and pencil method for doing fish. I was never happy with the sterile look of an air brush finish on bills and feet, and the fact that over spray and one slip up would be cause to star over. the curves on both also hampered a natural blend of colors. Wood duck bills can be a nightmare to paint with an airbrush, because the colors needed are very strong colors, and reds and yellows will bleed, and are hard to cover if you have a slip up. drying time between applications of both the paint and sealers defiantly slowed down the finishing process as well. powders and pencils put your hand control right on your surface rather than in the air away from the surface. they both can be worked, or over colored instantly. the hair spray dries very quickly as well. one thing I learned many years ago, even though this is my full time job, is that I needed to invest in myself if I wanted to continue to bring my work to a higher level. pride should drive everyone in this field, and it is great to see that members on this forum understand that. so with that said, and to try and answer your question, I would say 1/2 hour on a woodie, and 1 hour on a surf. that time does not include the prep time, since I only use repo heads on my ducks. I prep in groups, cut wire slots, wind pipe channels, nostrils and fine tuning the head for the pose of the bird. I then clean and prime and allow them to dry overnight. hopes this helps Brian
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I think an hour on a head is not unrealistic. It is one part of the bird that in my opinion can show the most flaws. I am no master on the airbrush, but I like my bills to look right. That means I will spend some time on each one. What I lack mostly when painting is comfort. I am actually an artist in other mediums, but when drawing or painting on paper, I'm not inhibited by lack of comfort. I feel like this method would give me an edge, because I have a very delicate hand, and an eye for detail, but the airbrush and my work station when painting certainly lacks that comfort I could use because they are lacquers and they can at times kick my ass!
for those that struggle with airbrushes, here is a way to apply a different hand technique, using multiple mediums for your bills and feet.


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I wanted this tutorial to be added to that new thread, however after talking to Pete, I need to start a new thread, then it will be moved. so, I will continue once I get all the pictures re sized. thanks to all who are interested
Nice mount chess! I may have a tip but I don't know if this has been brought up. I found some transparency film which is used for projectors and such. Basically clear sheets that can be found at office supply places. They do seem to have different thicknesses but thicker seems better. Cut them in 1-1/2" or so wide strips lengthwise and use for carding the wings and 3" wide crescent shapes for the tail. After using your wife's/girlfriend's blow dryer to dry the bird, leaving it in the garage, mount the bird and use the last of her bobby pins to hold carding. This will allow you to make sure the feathers stay put and you'll be less "blinded" like tape/carding.
Bruce, thats looking good! The Surfs are one of my favorite ducks! Excited to see the tutorial!
So, I am leaving what is here. I will clean up the index a little better, but the tutorials are there. I think we can add to them as we go, and I will insert them as they come up. I have deleted some things that have been covered in more detail, or seem out of place as I was cleaning up this thread. Some of these tips are just that, so I will leave some of these simple things alone. If you feel it would be more useful in the tutorial section, please let me know, and I will add it. I'm looking for tutorials that are a bit more in depth. If there is not something covered, ask, or please take the time. I enjoy them, and I know how much work they take.

Thanks to everyone who helps!
really really REALLY like the pose on that swan .Iv'e done one ,and it was a nightmare to get dry ,now I've got a mute to do .this thing is gigantic.
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