Monday, October 2, 2017

5 Years Old, Already?

Well that went by quickly.

As of Oct 1st, this little ol' website is five years old! It's a kindergartner!

In the early days, all this was was mainly a glorified journal for work in progress projects and the occasional finished piece. In those days I had been only posting on Twitter and wanted somewhere where I could talk at length about the process.

I didn't really expect anyone to read it and at times had felt that maybe it was pointless, because who really cares what I think or how I do something. Obviously, someone else has done it before and better, yeah? What's the point of rehashing things that folks can find anywhere else?

But I kept at it. Although, sparsely. There were many weeks, even months in those early days where I didn't post anything at all. Times,when I thought to myself "does it really matter if I post to this?" and would just leave it lay with no new content.

The beginnings of a new hobby site, I think, are like this for most everyone. You're excited for the idea. Then when you start looking at stats and page views and they aren't really doing anything, you can easily get discouraged.

2013 was that time for me and was the year that I spent the least amount of time posting here. There were a few months that only saw a single post, and some where I neglected the site completely. It also took until the end of the year before I even posted anything about a finished project. It was a rough time, folks.

I would post sporadically, and sometimes even just post a blurb apologizing to the void that I wasn't being active.

Then something changed in 2014.  Without going into details, early in the year I ended up out of a long term relationship and found solace in doing projects. The mindless creative process let me get out of my head, and I would just play while listening to music.

I started knocking out projects like crazy, my kitchen table and house were constantly covered with tools and other hobby junk.

I began posting more finished projects and WIPs to Twitter and the site much more often. As the likes and page views came in it felt like people actually enjoyed and wanted to see what I was doing! It definitely helped me though that year.

I tried a few different types of articles, such as a weekly Throwback Thursday  post, where I would share and talk about an old model I had painted. It was also the year where I really started digging into painting chibi models and finished, not only the base set for Super Dungeon Explore, but also a bunch of expansion models as well.

Little did I know, this would lead me to become known in the Twitter world as "that guy who paints those chibi models". I also started gaining followers and an alarming rate.

By 2015, I was fully devoted to making the site better and it was the biggest year ever for posts.

Along the way, I accidentally started doing tutorial posts, thanks to Space Hulk and an article on a wash technique I borrowed from a friend of mine. Though at that time, I still was not really sure if folks were really paying any attention or not. I didn't care, I was just happy with sharing.

Interestingly enough, I had talked to my buddy Matt about the site and he told me an interesting story.

Apparently, some random customer was in his store and mentioned that he had to run to the local hobby shop for painting supplies. Matt mentioned that I went there too, only saying my first and last name, and the guy replied "the Brush Wizard?". To this Matt laughed and replied "Ya, that's the name of his site".

When he told me this, I was shocked. Not only did someone know me by name. They knew me by my website and tutorials. I was speechless, especially considering that at that time, I only used Brush Wizard on the website.

2015 was a flurry of hobby creativity, the likes of such I have yet to see again. I did some of the best work to date that year and I posted twice as many articles in '15 as I have in '14. I started posting to Facebook groups as well and joined in some web contests, a few of which I won as well (mostly in 2016).

The following year was the year of the commission. It seemed like I did a bunch of commission work for folks in 2016 and, while it was fun painting things I normally wouldn't get the chance to, I came to realize that commission work wasn't for me. I've done a few more still, but when asked I will generally decline.

While I still was able to knock out a decent amount of personal projects, in 2016, I felt like commission work was draining my hobby mojo. That didn't stop me from creating two of my best pieces ever.

The first being Distracted from Kingdom Death and the second being a diorama of the Cliffs of Insanity from the Princess Bride.

Both of these pieces would eventually go on to do things that would blow my mind.

In 2017, Distracted had the honor of gracing the cover of the Golden D6 hobby magazine, which was a great feeling.

While the Cliffs of Insanity was taken to a local event and I was able to show it to none other than Carey Elwes himself (more on that later).

So far, 2017 is shaping up to be the greatest hobby year ever, even if I haven't posted as much as I should have, or knocked out a bunch of amazing projects.

I've gone to conventions (including being taken to GenCon to judge the Golden Kobold painting competition), made finals on the Crystal Brush at Adepticon, met a ton of new folks, broken the 1,000 followers mark on Twitter, upgraded my hobby area , had my work shown off in White Dwarf magazine and have started streaming on Twitch.

It's been a great ride so far, and I don't see myself going anywhere for a long time.

Here's to another great 5 years! Cheers *clink*