Miniature Model Maker Career Profile
Do you want to work as a miniature model maker?
READ: This page helps you to read about the career and the info you need to decide on whether this is indeed the career you want to follow.
RESEARCH: Learn about the skills required and minimum subjects to enter this career, as well as the places where you can study further after school.
PREPARE: If you want to plan and prepare for your career, then join the OZT Community! Members have access to tools while chatting with other students and experts from around the world. Prepare to be amazed!
12 September 2023
What is a miniature model maker?
It’s an individual that makes small models for a variety of purposes, from demonstrating a zoo or amusement park in small scale, to designing miniature animals for toys, games, collections, scientific display, or even TV ads and movies.
2. What do they do?
Miniature model makers create small scale replicas of animals and their environments. They use a variety of artistic mediums, including metal, concrete and clay.
- Discuss brief with clients
- Study animals, their anatomy and behaviour
- Develop a frame of the proposed sculpture
- Create the artwork around the frame
- Arrange for transport of sculpture
- Presentation to clients of work done
- Create and add new work to a portfolio
- Writing project proposals for galleries, artist residencies or competitions
- Sourcing of materials and establishing business relationships with suppliers
- Administration and filing
Where they work:
Model designers normally work indoors in a design studio or office setup. They do also spend some time in the outdoors, studying the animals and environment they need to sculpt.
Places of Employment –
Most miniature model makers work privately, under contract for various clients. They can also exhibit their work at museums, exhibition centers, galleries or even craft expos to sell directly to the public, or secure a commercial contract through zoos, amusement and theme parks.
As most model makers are self employed, their income is based on selling their work and obtaining contracts. On average the income per year is around $45,000. This will differ from country to country.
The most difficult part is always to get your work seen by future clients. For this a lot of artists need to be well versed in the setup and use of social media. Artists may work long hours and over weekends and holidays to finish work within tight deadlines. They may also need to travel long distances.
Future Growth and Possibilities:
The growth of animal related figurines and miniature models is slow (around 3% per year) with a lot of competition, although the market in digital (online) 3D rendered sculpting/drawing has definitely shown a very good growth.
3. Which Skills are required?
The skills required for a career as an animal trainer can be divided into two very important groups. The first is the group containing life skills, which are the core skills that are necessary or desirable for full participation in everyday life. The second group is career skills, or the specific skills required to allow a person to enter and operate effectively within a specific career. Some or maybe even all of the life skills can assist in strengthening the career skills, and they might even be the same for specific careers.
- Critical thinking
- Creative thinking
- Decision making
- Problem Solving
- Effective communication
- Interpersonal relationship
- Basic animal handling and care techniques
- Basic instructing techniques
- Basic customer service skills
- Good health and physical fitness
- Basic computer literacy
4. Which Subjects must I have at School?
Art will be your major or most important subject in school, whether you want to study further, or not. It will strengthen your artistic skills and techniques, and prepare you for a career as an animal cartoonist.
The subjects you choose at school are important as they lay the foundation for further studies at college or university. While still at school, it’s also important to learn more about the animals you will work with, as well as gain some experience.
OZT has a list of various tertiary institutions where you can study further, after school. Each of these institutions also have their own Group page on OZT where you will find the exact subjects they require of you to have passed in school. Keep these requirements in mind, and discuss it with your school, guidance counselor and parents to ensure that you are prepared!
5. What will I need to Study?
To become a Miniature Model Maker doesn’t require formal training, but many do go on to study a Diploma in 3D design, or even a Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture. Short Courses are essential to learn different techniques.
A good background in art is essential, so be sure to perfect your skills by practicing daily. Focus is also needed on field study or observation to ensure that the distinct features of the animals are captured correctly.
The duration of a Diploma is between 1 to 2 years. Short Courses are usually between a few weeks and a year.
Possible Career Preparation Paths:
If this is your dream career that you want to pursue, then it’s important to plan the way forward.
Why is planning important?
To ensure that you understand the requirements for your career, and that you are always prepared for the next step on the road towards your dream. A Preparation Path is like your road map to where you want to be.
Possible Combined Career Paths:
It is possible to sometimes combine two or more related careers. This normally happens when you study and practice a specific main career, but the knowledge and experience gained also help you to have a paying hobby or secondary income career.
Stepping Stone Career:
Being a miniature model maker can also be used as a stepping stone career. A stepping stone career is one which is used to help you get to another career, normally because the other career is too difficult to reach (sometimes due to things like high fees etc). You can begin as an intern model maker after basic short courses and expert guidance (maybe working under a mentor). The money made can then be used to pay for studies towards a promotion or another career, and the experience helps in gaining knowledge. One paying to help get to the other.
Some of the possible paths:
Training and apprenticeship:
Even though it is important to study to get into some of the animal caregiver careers, most of the skills you will need will be acquired through on-the-job training. This means that you will learn how to perform some of the daily tasks by actually doing it a few times and learning the steps.
In some cases entry level positions (or junior positions) require training sessions even before you are allowed to actually perform your job duties. These sessions are offered by the place of employment, after you have successfully applied.
Apprenticeship is also possible where you need to learn skills from a more senior person or expert.
Join the Miniature Model Maker Group in STEP 8 to learn more and even interact with the educational institutions that will help you secure your dream career!
Average entry level of education across the career:
6. Licenses, Certificate, Registration and Professional Associations
Certain animal careers require some form of legal certification to prove that you can indeed do the work, and work with the necessary equipment.
Although not required by law, certifications may help workers establish their credentials and enhance their skills.
Learn more about requirements by joining OZT in STEP 8.
7. Where can I study further?
All of the above information will help you understand more about the Career, including the fact that there are different paths to take to reach it. But if you are almost done with High School (Grades 11 or 12), you also need to start thinking about further studies, and WHERE you will study.
See the List of Universities, Colleges and Online Training Academies who offer courses towards animal art & design.
8. Join the OZT community
Join us as a special member and learn more about becoming a miniature model maker.
Members of the Platform have special access to:
- Info on the best places where you can study (colleges, universities and online)
- Expertly designed advice to prepare you for the career, and links to places where you can gain valuable experience. For some career experience is necessary, otherwise you wont get the job!
- Top notch info on each of the different species you will work with
- Make friends around the world and share knowledge
- Compete and win points, badges, games, prizes and certificates. Be the best of the best, while you learn and prepare!
If you have decided on being a Miniature Model Maker, please click on the JOIN GROUP button. If you are not a member yet, it will take you to a page to register first.
If this career is NOT the career for you, then you may return to the MAIN CAREER menu.
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