Brush Ninja

4 years ago I uploaded a video of an animation creator website I was building called Brush Ninja. Then mostly forgot about it.

A video of the original version of Brush Ninja from over 4 years ago.

The project was too much for my knowledge at the time. I was planning to make a full social network with accounts, and forums, and badges and everything. I had neither the time, or the skills to do this well, and to be honest I still don’t.

Fast forward to now…

Snooty Cat

Snooty Cat

This February I remembered Brush Ninja and thought it would be a fun project to revisit. So I started coding and discovered that the old code wasn’t too bad and I would be able to work with it to make something new.

I stripped out all of the complicated stuff. It went from a social networking site powered by WordPress, to a totally static javascript app with content management powered by Jekyll. The new Brush Ninja website was quite quickly put online.

I had been thinking about how I could make the project sustainable and about a month in decided to create a premium desktop version that I could sell in the Mac App Store.

The Brush Ninja Mac App was finally launched last weekend.


Throughout the whole process I have been trying to build the app as an MVP. Always going for the simplest thing that would work. But this didn’t quite ring true for me. So I decided I would focus on making an MEP – a Minimum Enjoyable Product.

Simplicity by Design

A running chick

A running chick

Brush Ninja is purposefully simple when it comes to features. I have tried to focus on making things that ‘just work’ keeping options to a minimum. There are only a few colours, and a handful of brushes – but this was intentional. I think that keeping options simple will encourage people to focus on the craft of animation.

Brush Ninja is the most complex thing I have made with javascript, and it’s the first time I have made a Mac App. If people buy it then I have a long list of features I would like to add. They will make the code more complex, but I will always try to make it simple, and enjoyable, to use.


Big Mouth?

Big Mouth?

When I was little I was always drawing, and my parents kept saying I should get a job at Disney. I’m nowhere near good enough for that. But that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy messing around with these types of things. Over the last few weeks I have made a few animations with Brush Ninja. Mostly to test the features, but also because it’s fun!

I’m currently posting them to Instagram on my Brush Ninja account – and you can see some examples throughout this article.

Ninja Masters?

My goal is for Brush Ninja to empower artists to become true masters of the Ninja Brush by keeping tools simple and intuitive so that they can let their creativity flow.

Brush Ninja has so many possibilities, and I can’t wait to see what people make with it.

If you came here looking for Ninja Brushes (ie Brushes for a Ninja foodie) then you might be interested in these brushes on the Ninja Kitchen website.

Let me know what you think on Mastodon, or BlueSky (or Twitter X if you must).

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Thanks for reading. I'd really appreciate it if you'd link to this page if you mention it in your newsletter or on your blog.

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