My name is Dean Leister and I am the founder of The Painted Dragon website which I started back in 2005. The idea behind starting the website was to create a forum and build a community with a focus on a ‘fun and friendly’ attitude, the reason for this was that I had been part of the online wargaming community for a while and was sick of trolls and the overly strict and sometimes quite toxic attitudes that were commonplace on many of the larger community websites of the time, so I set about purchasing a URL and the Dragon was born.
Dragons are iconic, especially in our hobby and back growing up in the early 80's as a young geek before Games Workshop had my attention there was the infamous Dungeons & Dragons roleplay and it's accompanying novels and kids cartoon series, the fighting fantasy books by Ian Livingstone and of course the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings books, all these sources were a gateway to makebelieve and fantasy where the Dragon had top billing as a mighty entity, so it seemed fitting to use the Dragon in the name and then a little play on words as my site was to be a painting orientated site and there it was, The Painted Dragon was set.
Initially, the Dragon was a forum only, a typical bulletin board style setup that was common at the time, social media was relatively new so this was the way to share your hobby, it slowly gathered members and eventually we had a great community of people, sharing their painting pictures, project logs, asking and giving advice and tutorials and generally chatting about the wargaming hobby.
The Dragon changed and grew over the years, it became an online store selling miniatures, paints and hobby supplies which was fun but very time consuming, the fact that the store was not my main job meant the store was run in my spare time and that meant that I had no time for hobby, so I had to make a decision and decided that I would close the store but I ran it for two years and who knows, maybe the Dragon store will be something I look at reopening in the future.
Slowly the Dragon was put on the back burner as work became more demanding and my family grew, I found I had less and less time to dedicate to the Dragon, especially in running a forum and the community events so with a heavy heart the forum was closed.
A year or so back I decided that work was less demanding, my family is now older and less demanding and I have time to dedicate to hobby once again, times have changed though and the forum format is no longer the way forward for the Dragon, the new format runs as a blog and on social media but I am hopeful that I can bring back the fun and friendly ethos that the Dragon once stood for, help a little in enhancing our hobby experience.
Driving content into the blog is the main focus for the Dragon, setting some regular articles such as the weekly Hobby Focus, also get some community fun back with the Dragon Painting Competitions and obviously get my own painting projects and pictures up and logged.
Futurewise, I want to look at YouTube and getting some video and live streams going.