Gyotaku – Japanese Fish Prints

Gyotaku is a style of printing that originated in Japan in the 1800s. Gyotaku means fish rubbing, and this technique was used by fisherman to keep a record of  the fish they caught. Today, many artist use this same technique to create amazing works of art.

I have been in love with Gyuoaku for a number of years. My husband and I always stand, drooling over these beautiful fish prints at fine art shows. I was eager to try creating these prints myself, but then decided it would be even more fun to try it with my students. We used fish molds because real fish are hard to obtain (and I feared that fish aroma would linger for years to come).

Click here to watch a short clip: Gyutaku Fish Rubbing Reveal


Step 1: Block Printing Ink and Brayers were used to achieve an even application of ink over the entire fish.


Step 2: Newsprint was placed on top of the inked fish, students used their hands to carefully rub.




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