This Decade at thebrushwizard.com
I started thebrushwizard.com as a place to blog about my hobby during the second half of 2012. I had no illusions that anyone would read it, or care about what I was posting, all I wanted was a place where I could go into detail about the process. My first post was made on October 1st, 2012 and the posts following were humble write ups about a project I was working on, funny enough the pictures seem to have been lost to the ages as well. Thanks, Photobucket.
Over the years the site has moved on from a blogspot address to it's own url, gotten some new layouts, I've played with new article ideas (some worked better than others), with my most successful ones being Miniature Monday, Wizardry in Progress and Adventures in Contrast.
The first couple years were spent finding my footing and things didn't really crank up until 2014 when, due to life changes, I was able to dedicate more time to hobby than before. I threw myself at the hobby in order to take my mind off of things and started producing some really solid pieces and a slew of Super Dungeon Explore models.
I painted so many chibis in the early half to middle of the decade that I grew a reputation on Twitter for them, to the point where I was effectively "the chibi guy" in the budding #warmongers community of Twitter. Which isn't a bad thing at all. I still love the style to this day, even if I haven't painted one in quite a while.
As well as producing some of my favorite pieces ever, 2015 saw me do my first miniature for a charity, the Salamanders Ironclad Dreadnought for #WAAC - Wargamers All Against Cancer. It was also my first model to ever cross the pond too, which was very exciting. I even hid my initials and a freehand American flag inside the torso.
Also that year, I started writing tutorials. Which, as it turns out, has been one of the greatest things I've done with this little site. It's an excellent feeling when someone comes up to you and mentions how they found your tutorial and it helped them with their own painting.
2016 brought about what I consider the site's first major success, when I wrote an in-depth article reviewing Citadel's new Gemstone Paint.
In that article I played with these paints and put them through their paces. The reaction I received for this article was amazing and to this day it is the most viewed page on the site, currently sitting at 21,550+ views. That's a completely blows my mind.
With a boost of confidence and a growing Twitter following, I managed to grow the site with new ideas. More tutorials were published, I tried my hand at commission work and also attempted to focus on doing product reviews and showcases. Each of these had middling success, though I realized that large scale commission work wasn't for me and that reviews/ unboxings were limited to only things I was already interested in and had purchased, thus creating bias.
2017 was a big year. Like, huge. Bigger than I could have imagined it being.
In the hobby space, I bought myself a new desk and relocated my work space, and then spent a good amount of time upgrading the area. You name it, it happened. New desk, lamps, storage and a paint rack.
This was a huge leap in work space quality and the quality of life upgrades, compared to my old desk lamp and folding table set up, made painting much more fun and engaging. It finally felt like I had a legitimate studio space!
2017 was also the first year I went to Adepticon and it was amazing to meet a boat load of folks that I've been talking to on Twitter for years. Many of them are now considered family, we are so close.
While there I entered the Crystal Brush painting competition and made the first cut in the chibi category, which was a great feeling. But I lost in the final placing.
Adepticon is always a great time. I've gone every year since, and will be for the foreseeable future.
Following Adepticon, I was invited by Ninja Division to go to GenCon and judge their inaugural Golden Kobold chibi painting competition the following August. This was my first ever GenCon, which for the most part was great experience and I met even more folks, many of whom are now good friends of mine.
While at Adepticon, I had tossed the Deathwing Terminator Captain into the ring for the Crystal Brush painting competition. It sadly didn't place or make it past the first cut, which was disheartening. In the weeks after the convention, I decided to toss it over to White Dwarf Magazine, just to see what would happen.
As it turned out, they were impressed and it made the Reader's Models section of the September issue of the magazine. To say I was excited is an understatement.
By the tail end of 2017, I started playing around with Twitch streaming and was doing co-op painting stream with my friend Sophie from Hobbyistgirl. We were streaming fairly consistently, and built up a bit of a following, but I found that I wasn't really cut out for streaming. I realized that I can't focus on painting models and engage with viewers at the same time, and hung up my camera for awhile.
By far, the greatest moment of 2017 was meeting the one of my favorite actors of all time, Cary Elwes after a showing of The Princess Bride.
For Christmas 2016, I had made my sister a diorama of Inigo Montoya dueling the Dread Pirate Roberts. Fast forward a few months and she found out that Mr. Elwes was coming to our area for a screening of the film and to talk about the making of it.
She bought VIP tickets, where we were seated in the 2nd row and dead center. After the show, since we were VIPs, we were able to do a meet and greet with him and we brought the diorama with us.
He was very gracious and enthusiastic about the model. He held it in his hands and gawked at it while asking questions about it, and I tired so hard to keep it together. It was certainly the largest hobby milestone I've ever had.
Riding on the high that was 2017, by 2018 I felt like I had hit my stride with my hobby and the site in general.
I went to Adepticon again it was amazing, as per usual. This time I was able to play Warhammer 40k in a convention setting, which was a fun experience even though my Adeptus Mechanicus army was throughly trounced. But, my people were there and that's what Adepticon is really all about. Seeing your friends, who you don't get to hang out with regularly.
I traveled to Illinois in June to hang out with your Warhammer Hero and mine, Dan Gomez, to do a convention, where I set up a table and painted models and he gave painting lessons. He would then come to Michigan and we did another convention and taught folks how to play Warhammer 40k.
In August it was another trip to GenCon. This time it was a very, very, less than stellar trip. Everything about the work hours felt as if we were all over worked and I started realizing that things were being barely held together with strings. But I had friends there and was able to find good times where I could.
The Miniature Monday and Wizardry in Progress articles kicked off and at the end of the year I had written and posted 117 articles to the site.
More desk upgrades fell into place and overall it was a kick ass year for hobby.
To top it all off, the Onager Dunecrawler was featured in White Dwarf that year as the Reader's Model of the Month and was another huge milestone and marking the second time I'd had a model featured in the magazine.
I tried expanding The Brush Wizard into a YouTube channel, since I had the equipment already. As a result, I launched both Patreon and Ko-fi pages, after being talked into doing them by friends convincing me it was a good idea (it wasn't).
By the end of the year, I put my channel on hiatus. As a result, I would shut down Patreon and give up on updating the Ko-fi page. The stress of doing constant YouTube updates got to me and I always felt like I was pushing last minute content.
To help with cover my domain and email costs and such, Amazon Affiliate ads were added to the site. While I'm not going to retire off of it anytime soon, they have actually worked out fairly well and it does give me a bit of hobby fund to play around with. If you're looking to buy things on Amazon, consider clicking through to their site through one of the ads on the site, I'd definitely appreciate it.
2018 was a solid year, overall, and it looked like 2019 was going to follow suit, but then burn out happened.
This year I kept the pace for the first half of it. I started a Teespring shop and started posting custom shirt and mug designs there. Miniature Monday and Wizardry in Progress posts continued on a weekly basis, until around Adepticon time.
After Adepticon, I found myself in a post convention rut and dealing with mounting issues with my Jeep and around the house. It seemed like anything that could go wrong, did go wrong and I was spending a lot of time working on fixing things.
By August, I hadn't done much with the site and when the 7th anniversary of the site came around in October it felt like an empty celebration. Miniature Monday hadn't been posted in months and Wizardry in Progress dwindled to, maybe, once a month.
Modeling and hobby did happen though, I just found myself not updating the site.
This year I found myself deep in the world of Imperial Guard.
I left behind my Adeptus Mechanicus army and Dreadnoughts. Instead found myself building a Steel Legion Imperial Guard army. Lots of transports and models were built and painted, specifically a set of converted Death Korps of Krieg Death Riders using Genestealer Cults Jackal bikers and Krieg infantry models.
I still have 5 more bikers to paint, but haven't gotten around to them. I do love that project though and it has been one of my most well received projects of all time, especially the Commander and Commissar. The Commissar has to be one of my most in-depth conversions of all time. I really flexed the skill set on that one, his prisoner grot is a riot.
2019 brought about my 3rd feature into White Dwarf as well, this time my Kastelan Robots were featured in the Reader's Models section of the magazine. It was a huge surprise, as I had forgotten that I had even sent in the pictures to the magazine.
Last but not least, this year Citadel released a brand new line of paint called Contrast, which introduces a new way to paint miniatures. The paint is like a heavily pigmented wash and is meant to add shadows and highlights automatically.
It works alright as advertised, but it has proven to be an excellent tool as I've found different uses for it. With that said, this year I started documenting these recipes in a new series of articles I've been calling Adventures in Contrast.
These articles have been well received and they are all about showing you different ways to use Contrast paint along with other techniques and types of paint. Which will then allow for some very nice results. I'm super proud of these write ups and have quite a few in the works too.
I think that that's gonna be it. This post became a bit of a rambling mess while I was trying to hit all of the major beats.
Thanks to everyone who comes to this little site, or has visited over the years. This was a pretty solid decade and I am glad that I can contribute to the miniature painting community the way I have over the years.
I have some big plans for 2020, and will be kicking them off in January.
Let's see where the 20's take us!