Miniature painting is hard. Really hard. To finish any painting project, you need a lot of patience, skill, and motivation. Sure, painting miniatures is fun. But, do you wonder about the other benefits of painting miniatures? Does this hobby feed you psychologically, intellectually, or even emotionally?
In this article, Andrew from Tangible Day gives you 4 reasons why miniature painting is good for you. If you’re a miniature painter, you already know it’s a fun hobby.
Did you know miniature painting can have other benefits, too, in addition to enjoyment?
Here are the top 4 additional benefits of painting miniatures and models:
- Psychological Flow (Zen)
Are you new at painting miniatures? Here are 10 ways to improve!
Keep reading below to see how miniature painting can benefit you beyond simple “fun”.
Patience is the capacity to accept or tolerate trouble, suffering, or delay without getting angry or upset.
Do you have patience?
Are you able to accept daily trouble without getting pissed off?
Some people are born with a lot of patience. If you’re one of them, then you’re truly special. You can are built to endure hardship.
When the going gets tough, highly patience people keep rolling along and push forward. They are built to endure challenges and difficulties that would crush most of us.
Patient people tend to experience less depression and negative emotions, perhaps because they can cope better with upsetting or stressful situations, according to Fuller Theological Seminary Professor, Sarah A. Schnitker, and UC Davis psychology professor Robert Emmons.(Source)
Unfortunately, although patience is a good trait to have, many of us don’t have a lot of it.
But, that doesn’t mean we should just give up.
You can train yourself to have more patience.
And, that herein lies one major benefit of painting miniatures. If you’re painting miniatures, you’ll naturally become more patient.
How, you say?
Well, painting miniatures is a way to practice your patience. You become more mindful of what you’re doing and how you feel when you paint miniatures.
With time, you’ll discover that the same patient virtue you are honing while painting miniatures can translate to other things in your daily life. (That is, if you want it to).
When you paint miniatures, remind yourself to take your time. This is your world.
Persistence is a close sibling of patience.
If you have patience, you will persist through hardships.
Persistence is a firm or obstinate continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition.(Source)
As I’ve said many times over, painting miniatures is hard!
But, like patience, when you face troubles and challenges like when you paint minis, it is the character trait of persistence that will carry you through to the finish.
Persistence is also known as grit.
The more you face technical hurdles or the sense you’re in a difficult spot, express your persistence. You’ll find that this stubborn part of you that pushes to complete things will grow stronger.
At each brick wall you face, you’ll find your ability to break through will become easier.
Painting miniatures place a lot of walls in your path. If you want to grow in your art, you’ll have to persist no matter what.
For persistence to flourish, embrace failure...
…in your art, in your life.
Psychological Flow (Zen)
“Flow” state or also known as “being in the zone”, is a mental state in which you are fully immersed in an activity and feel energized and super-focused. More than this, you’re truly enjoying your moment in that activity.
Many philosophies speak of “flow” in other terms, e.g., Zen.
Zen is the direct experience of what we might call ultimate reality, or the absolute, yet it is not separate from the ordinary, the relative(Source)
How do you enter a “flow state” or “Zen”?
I borrow from Zenhabits.net (source) and adapt these tips for painting miniatures.
Here are 8 essential things you could do while painting miniatures to enhance your ability to enter flow state or zen.
- Do one thing at a time – Don’t take on too many miniature painting projects.
- Be deliberate – When you paint something, be purposeful and focus on paint stroke at a time. Each brush stroke is important.
- Finish the job – Place your entire mind and energy into a single painting session. Don’t move to another task or session until you’re finished. After you finish painting, clean your brushes, re-organize your workspace, and put things away. Only then are you “done” with that painting session. Be complete.
- Do less to do more – Leave margins in your day so you have the time to relax. When you’re painting miniatures, do so with the mindset that you’ve got plenty of time, well, “to take your time”.
- Rest often – Don’t place yourself in a busy situation. Make sure you break up work with rest. Art is also work and should be broken up by periods of rest. Your mind and body need rest to focus.
- Get into the habit of painting a specific way – Try and focus on fewer techniques done well, then a lot of techniques haphazardly thrown together. Get in the habit of learning what painting habits work for you. Only you will know what works, but it will take time to discover what your habits are.
- Make time for painting miniatures – If your desire is to improve your miniature painting, you’ll have to spend good time with your models and brushes. There is no substitute for practice. Make time for yourself everyday (if possible) to work on your models.
- Prioritize what is necessary – There are many ways to skin a cat as they say. The same is true with miniature painting. But, focus on what you need to do. You may not need to blend those two colors together, when a simple ink wash will do the job.
You will find that the more you paint miniatures with deliberate, purposeful, focused attention, and interspersed with rest, the more often and quicker you’ll enter into “flow”.
Temperament has broad definitions, depending on who you ask.
In this case, I mean temperament as it relates to emotional attitude or predisposition.
Temperament is your default personality and how it responds to different external or internal inputs. Temperament affects your behavior.
Painting miniatures benefits your temperament in training you in the first 3 points I highlight above: patience, persistence, and ability to enter psychological flow.
If you are an emotional person, learning how to enjoy miniature painting can bring you to a milder state. Sure, you may get angry, exasperated or simply disappointed with your painted works.
But, with time, you may find yourself handling other situations (beyond the hobby) in a more even manner.
Maybe you’re a tad withdrawn and shy. Well, there’s a huge community of miniature painters who would love to engage with you in the hobby (and vice versa).
Take comfort in the miniature painting hobby. There’s a bit of magic when you start and finish a project you are proud of.
There is something that happens to us (our temperament) when we experience a sense of achievement.
No matter how small or big, finishing a painting project is exciting, cathartic, and even frightening (because you’ll be afraid whether or not you can repeat your achievement to the same level again).
Again, this is where patience and persistence come into play.
Bring yourself to the table and paint once more.
I hope you enjoyed this article. I certainly felt good taking a break from painting miniatures to write it.
Remember, if you really think about it, the hobby of painting miniatures is more than simply paint applied to a model. The fun comes from discovering how your work changes you.
And, through your effort, those around you might be inspired, too.
- Miniature Painting Is More Than Just Fun. It’s Life Changing - June 9, 2020
Great article! I especially like and agree with the 8 Zen tips.