What Can You Learn With Painting by Numbers?

Many people ask if Paint by Numbers kits can teach people how to paint. It has been a debate among art critics and alike if people who use these kits are worthy to be called artists and if painting by numbers canvases are considered legitimate art. But the judge lies in each of us because it’s all a matter of how we view things. Whether professionals from the art world like it or not, these kits have become a part of art history because they have made art more accessible to others– including to non-artists who only seek pleasure in painting. These beloved kits can teach people multiple basic lessons from painting: from how the colors flow, to the placement of colors and how they complement each other, to the proper way of holding a paintbrush, these are some of the few things that every aspiring artist should know. So what can you learn with a painting by numbers? Is it worth your time if you want to learn to paint? The answer lies in this article so keep on reading if you want to learn more.

A photo of woman in front of a painting

Paint your own photo with a paint by numbers custom kit

Paint by Numbers kits is most well-known as a recreational hobby set. Each kit includes a pre-printed canvas with outlines and numbers to guide the painter, an acrylic paint set that usually contains 24 colors or more, and three basic brushes that you can maneuver to bring your artistic vision to reality. These kits are unique because they teach beginners and non-artists in learning fundamental painting techniques as well as creating their masterpieces. What can you learn with painting by numbers? Well, those who do not normally handle a paintbrush and sketch on a canvas may now enjoy the creative experience firsthand without having to bother about priming the canvas, paint mixing, and so on. The painting technique is simplified, and all that remains is to match the color to the numbers that correspond on the canvas.

The lessons that you learned and the skills you’ve acquired from using the kits are very applicable when you’re comfortable painting on a blank canvas without the pre-printed guide in a PBN canvas. These kits can act as a preparatory stage for painting 101 without complicating it too much on your end. Thus, it also encourages beginners to persevere and to be patient while working with their masterpiece. Art may entail some difficulties along the way, but we assure you that the act of painting and the result is worth it.

Different Lessons that You Can Learn through Painting by Numbers

    1.  How colors work together: 

Color is perhaps the most important element of art when it comes to painting because the act of painting is applying pigments to a canvas. Without colors, there wouldn’t be any painting. Painting by numbers can teach you the harmonious relationship between colors, how they work together, and how they complement each other. You’ll understand the importance of contrast between light and dark shades, subtle tonal variation of hues in one area. For theme, you’ll be able to appreciate the color theory and the vast majority of colors. Painting is all about colors and it does teach that life is just as colorful as your canvas.

A photo of a woman wearing a floral dress

    2.  Blending: 

Blending is the process of gradually mixing two or more colors or tonal values to produce a gentle transition or smoothen lines. One fundamental skill that you should have as a painter is to blend like a pro. Although it takes time to learn how to blend subtly to avoid rough lines and edges, painting by numbers allows you to experiment with blending. If you see two numbers in one segment of the canvas, it’s not a mistake– it simply means that you have to blend those two colors which provide you a space for blending. Thus, those lines and contours give you the challenge to blend like a pro for your painting to look more realistic.

A photo of a woman painting on an easel

Paint your own photo with a paint by numbers custom kit

    3.  The numbers technique:

The placement of numbers on a canvas that corresponds to color is not just applicable in painting by numbers. You can also apply this technique in your subsequent artworks when you start working on a blank canvas. According to Dan Robbins, the originator and developer of the original kits, Leonardo Da Vinci (but some argued it was Michelangelo) invented the first painting by numbers technique. In Dan Robbins’ memoir, he said that Da Vinci used the system to teach his students about the placement of colors. He would sketch an image to it and assign numbers in different areas that would correspond to color for foreshadowing, background, imprimatur, and so on.

A close up photo of hands doing knife painting

    4.  Brushwork:

A paintbrush is like a magic wand that helps you in bringing your imagination to your canvas. The way you maneuver it affects the overall outcome of the painting so without learning the fundamentals of brushwork: how to hold your brushes properly, using the appropriate brush type and size, how to apply the paint to the canvas, how much paint should be applied in the bristles, and so forth. Painting by numbers helps you practice your brushwork to help you achieve accurate, realistic, and beautiful artwork. Again, this is something that you can take once you’re ready to further your artistic career by painting on a blank surface. By that time, at least you have an idea of how to paint properly, like a real artist.

A photo of a person holding blue and brown paint brush

Paint your own photo with a paint by numbers custom kit

    5.  Patience: 

To create a masterpiece, you must have patience, dedication, and perseverance. A good painting takes time to finish. Even master painters like Leonardo da Vinci took years to complete a single canvas. And that’s okay because you don't rush great art. At first, looking at the canvas might not make any sense to you because you haven’t seen the real image yet– it’s full of lines and numbers that don’t make any sense together but slowly, number by number, color by color, and as you fill along the gaps, the shapes, and the contours, a beautiful image will be revealed and your vision is being brought to life. 

A person painting medieval woman in history


Key Insights

The beauty of painting by numbers is that you don't have to be an artist, or even artistic, to use it. These beloved pastime kits truly show that everyone can be a Rembrandt as long as they believe in themselves. When the instruction is followed, a stunning work of art will be created. The only requirements for painting by numbers success are a passion and dedication to create art and a relatively steady hand. Paint by number kits have been a trademark of American culture since the 1950s and are still popular across the world even up to this day.

Paint your own photo with a paint by numbers custom kit