Are you trying to your improve your miniature painting and art? Is there a way to measure your progress? If you’re wondering where you stand in terms of skill and ability in the miniature painting and modeling hobby, look inward first. As with any creative effort, the best way to gauge your abilities is comparing your current product with your older work. The results you produce today, for example, as compared with a year ago will reveal how much you’ve improved. But, there are signs you are in mediocre territory for miniature painting. The mediocrity rut is real.
In this article, I share 5 signs of a mediocre miniature painter and hobbyist.
Here’s a disclaimer: Mediocrity or amateurism is not about an individual’s results, which are truly subjective. But rather, mediocrity in miniature painting or other hobby endeavor is more about an attitude or mindset. In other words, what is happening within the person who is dancing with mediocrity?
Read on for more about the 5 signs of a mediocre miniature painter or artist.
What is “mediocrity”?
Mediocrity is a quality of being ordinary or average (source). You and I may be really good at doing certain things, but mediocre or passable at doing other things. When it comes to artwork or miniature painting in this case, the only judge of whether or not you are mediocre is you.
If you’ve read this far, then you may be curious. What are the things that are keeping me in mediocre territory? Are there signs that may be holding you back from moving beyond mediocre toward more impactful, or simply better miniature paintings?
5 signs of a mediocre miniature painter
Here are the 5 signs of someone who is mediocre when it comes to painting miniatures, models, or making art.
- Deep down you know you aren’t doing your best work
- “Good enough” is your daily mindset
- You only paint what you feel like
- You procrastinate projects you want or should do
- People constantly hint that you may not be reaching your potential
1. Deep down you know you aren’t doing your best work
You paint miniatures and you know deep inside you’re not giving it your best effort. You paint models with the same brush application, and with the same flaws over and over. Even though you know how to fix specific issues, you don’t. In your mind, you know that you can do much better.
In fact, you continue to watch videos and study tutorials that tell you exactly how to improve, but don’t apply the effort to your work. There is a serious disconnect between what you know and what you do. Here is where amateurism, mediocrity take hold of you. This is a key sign of a mediocre artist: someone who strives to nowhere, despite having a perfect map in their back pocket.
READ MORE: 10 REASONS TO HATE PAINTING MINIATURES
2. “Good enough” is your daily mindset
The good enough mindset is a sign of a mediocre anybody. Sure, there are some hobbyists who are perfectly fine where they are in terms of skill. This is a fun pastime afterall! But, for those looking to move beyond average or mediocre, the “good enough mindset” is a major problem.
When you have a good enough approach to anything, including miniature painting, you tend to place as little effort as possible into accomplishing a goal. You use washes and shades, when you know a homemade glaze could be better. You grab Citadel Contrast paints at every opportunity, splash it on, but then dodge the layering and highlighting phase to make the model look really good.
If you’re taking the path of least resistance all the time when you paint miniatures or models, then your paint jobs will reveal mediocrity. This is a hard truth. You won’t improve with “good enough”. Add up all the mediocre “good enough” things you do and you’ll have a train of mediocrity in your wake. Ultimately, a good enough mindset leads to mediocrity as your default approach to every creative thing you do.
3. You only paint what you feel like
No matter how much you love to paint minis, there may be some projects you don’t feel like doing (even if you know you need to). This could be a commission miniature painting project, or a requirement for a gaming league. Maybe you need to paint 10 space marines for a slow grow Warhammer league, or paint a large horde of Tyranid models to finish the entire army set.
Yet, you don’t even try, because you are waiting for the motivation to find you. Are you waiting for the feeling to do that project?
You know the sensation required for starting a miniature painting, don’t you? It’s an excitement, a thrill. This is the spark you always seem to need. Without the spark, you won’t initiate. What if I told you that you have it backwards?
Often, the doing, or the act of starting a painting project seeds the excitement (which blossoms only after you’ve placed paint on a model). It’s not the other way around! Get going first. The excitement and motivation usually follows.
With any successful miniature painter, professional or someone who isn’t mediocre, there will always be times when you don’t want to do “that “part”. It’s boring, too hard or mundane. But, to overcome mediocrity you need to do them.
If you own a business with your art and neglect the administrative side, your business will suffer. Nobody who does well and succeeds in anything, including miniature painting, gets to do only what they want to do. Avoiding the mediocre trap takes work.
4. You procrastinate projects you want or should do
Everyone suffers from procrastination and self-imposed delay. Do you find yourself procrastinating in your miniature painting projects? Be careful. This is one of the main signs you’re in mediocre territory. A mediocre miniature painter is one who continually fails to initiate and follow-through on projects.
I’m talking about the mediocrity in the approach, not the result. You may be a very talented painter, who creates spectacular works of miniature art. Or, your scale model dioramas are so immersive that you trap your audience within the scene. But, even here, if you constantly stagnate for long periods of time, this may be a sign that mediocrity has slipped into your approach and mindset. Your default effort is amateur.
Procrastination in the long term adds up into a string of mediocre levels of productivity.
5. People constantly hint that you may not be reaching your potential
If you are often called a slacker (and you know it!), then this may be another sign you’re in the mediocre camp. Maybe you are okay with this. I am sometimes called a slacker in different things, especially doing chores around the house. Who likes washing the dishes, or taking out the trash?
Perhaps you rationalize the slacker criticism when it comes to painting miniatures. You strike up the negativity as hypocrisy or use some other excuse for your mediocre approach to doing your best. But, a bit of humility and introspection may show you that you should move away from mediocre attitudes toward doing good work.
Of course, what other people say about your art, miniature painting, or whatever you creatively produce shouldn’t be the bar you measure yourself by. The best way to gauge your progress is to compare yourself now with your older work. Have you grown?
Here’s a note about getting feedback from others about your work. You have to filter out the useless information from the good feedback. Over time, only you will know what you need from other people to help you grow in your miniature painting or art. For you, this could be affirmation or encouragement, or strong criticism and negative feedback. You may need praise or hard critique to grow. Everyone needs and interprets information differently.
Suffice it to say, a mediocre miniature painter or hobbyist will hear a common refrain from others about not reaching their full potential. And, the mediocre artist ignores it. To grow, listen carefully to these kinds of hints.
There we have it: 5 signs of a mediocre miniature painter or artist. I understand creative hobbies and pastimes should remain fun and enjoyable. No one needs permission to be have fun while doing things they love. Mediocrity is merely a state of attitude and mindset, and in my discussion, not a judgement on the product itself.
An artist should only be judged as mediocre by their behavior and action, not their final product. Underscored, here’s what I mean. A talented artist who doesn’t put in the effort, constantly delays their work, disregards good feedback, and rationalizes failure, is an artist who lives with mediocrity as an attitude. The emphasis isn’t in the art itself, but the constant avoidance of doing the best job possible.
A final thought: Perseverance through the hard stuff, the tear-my-eyeballs-out boring stuff, is a sign of the professional and the rising star. Grit, not intelligence or talent, is the one trait that I’ve seen lead to success in any endeavor, including art.
Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this article.