Yes, you read that correctly! Yesterday at my painting group, two members purchased a whole fish and we used it to create art.
We painted the fish with black gesso, slightly watered down, and then laid the papers on top of it to print them.
Here, Jan Batts is trying a brayer on watercolor paper. We also printed on rice paper, Masa paper, deli paper, stretched canvas, and marbled Tableau paper.
Here is Wendy with a print on previously marbled Tableau paper.
Here is Helen and her creative print.
After we were finished with the exterior printing, we ripped the skin & scales off leaving just the head, tail & bones. We did leave the fins, too. Then we printed from the skeleton. Those turned out nifty as well.
There is a formal name for all this – Gyotaku. It is what Japanese fishermen used before cameras existed to record their catch. Here is a link, in case you want to give it a try.