The Biology of Beauty (Why We Love Painted Miniatures)

Do you find yourself drawn to specific kinds of miniatures, how they are painted, or the way they appear on the tabletop? For many of us, there is a certain "look" that we find attractive in our miniatures. Maybe it's the bright colors or the clean lines. Perhaps it's the way the miniature seems to come to life on the table.

In this article, I share some thoughts about what it is about painted miniatures that we love. What is it about how they look whether alone or within a game, e.g., Warhammer 40k, RPG, or other tabletop scene?

What I Love About Painted Miniatures

One of the things that I love about painted miniatures is the sense of creativity and passion that goes into them. Whether a miniature is beautifully detailed or simply well-painted, it conveys a sense of dedication and skill. It also shows that someone has taken the time to create something truly unique - an expression of themselves through their art.

There is also a sense of community that comes with painted miniatures. When you see someone's collection, you can't help but be impressed by the time, effort, and passion that has gone into it. It's a hobby that brings people together, whether they are playing a game or simply admiring each other's work.


The Biology of Attractiveness Applies to Miniatures and Models

Some people may say that our love of painted miniatures is simply a matter of biology. I tend to agree that there must be some neuroscience behind the attraction we have with anything artistic or creative that we find in our World.

When it comes to the biology of beauty, there are a few things that might explain our love of painted miniatures. For one, we are drawn to bright colors and patterns because they indicate health and vitality (life). In fact, many animals use bright colors as a way to attract mates.

Another reason is that we are attracted to symmetry. Studies have shown that we perceive symmetrical faces as more attractive because they are a sign of good genes and health. This could explain why we are drawn to clean lines and well-painted miniatures--they convey a sense of perfection that is hard to find in nature.

(Yes, for those who successfully paint models with an expressive style that includes some "messiness", there is an aspect of departure from perfect symmetry that also makes such works interesting and attractive. But, in general, I think the appeal of neatness and order still holds true.)

Lastly, we are attracted to things that are rare or unique. This could be why we are so drawn to miniatures that have been painted in a very specific way--because they offer something different and special. Moreover, the miniature sculpts themselves are often quite intricate and detailed, which makes them even more unique.

6 Reasons Why Painted Miniatures Attract Our Attention and Admiration

  1. Many people think that painted miniatures look good because they have color, and structural cohesion, e.g., symmetry, clean lines, which points to biological features we are attracted to in general, such as a health, strength, and even fertility.
  2. We are attracted to things in nature that inspire or motivate us to grow. In this manner, I think one of the things that makes painted miniatures so attractive is the passion and dedication of the people who paint them. These are artists who pour their heart and soul into their work.
  3. Some people may be attracted to painted miniatures because they give off the sense of rarity or novelty. Our biology drives us to pay more attention to new objects or actions that arise in our environment. This could explain why we find it hard to look away from beautifully painted models and games--because they are something we don't encounter every day.
  4. The intricate details in many miniature sculpts also add to their appeal. Our brains are wired to pay attention to complex patterns and shapes because they are often associated with danger or predators, or simply things that surprise us. Biologically, we both hate and love surprises.
  5. In the case of miniatures, after they are painted, they become unique. How many models have you painted that look the same as the next? Look online and try and find a series of painted models that appear exactly the same--yes, I know that troops painted to a very simple paint scheme would likely be clones--but, I'm talking more about the big picture across painters, artists, and the community as a whole.
  6. The social aspect of painted miniatures is also worth mentioning. We are social creatures, and we are attracted to things that bring us together. Painted miniatures often do just that--they provide a way for us to connect with other people who share our passion for this hobby.


Whatever the reason, there is no denying the allure of painted miniatures. Whether you're looking at someone else's work or creating your own, this craft has a special enchantment about it that attracts our interest and respect. So, if you're looking to get started in the world of miniature painting, don't be afraid to dive in and join this passionate community!

What do you love about painted miniatures? Do you have any tips or tricks for painting models that are truly unique and stand out from the rest? Let us know in the comments below!

Also check out The Army Painter - Project Paint Station!

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