What is Gyotaku?
Gyotaku is a traditional Japanese art form dating back to the 1800’s. The practice was originally developed as a method for fisherman to record their catch, but has evolved over the centuries into an artistic endeavor.
The word translates from Japanese to gyo "fish" + taku "rubbing." This method of printmaking substitutes a fish or other sea creature for the traditional printing “plate.” The most common form of gyotaku, and the one I practice, involves applying ink directly to the fish, placing rice or “washi” paper over it, hand rubbing and pressing the paper over the fish, and pulling off the paper with the animal’s impression.