Paint by numbers is one of the most celebrated techniques in the world of painting because it helps beginners and aspiring artists learn the basics with the image of their choice. Since the 1950s, when the first brand known as “Craft Master” released the original kits, the idea gradually appealed to the public because it gave everyone the chance to be an artist regardless of age and skill level. Painting can be a Herculean task in general because there are so many things to learn about and the basics can be quite difficult for some. From learning the materials, handling the brushes, blending, and brush works, the basics may not be so basic after all. However, this unique technology provides an introduction to painting by allowing you to get hands-on.
Many people think that these kits are not special because they're almost everywhere now. You can see it in a lot of social media posts and almost every arts and crafts store sell fixed design PBN kits. Now that they’re trending, are they still special? And what makes painting by numbers unique, then?
The phrase “paint by numbers” is commonly associated with the famous kit that comes with a pre-printed canvas, a set of acrylic paints, and basic brushes. But did you know that it’s a technique introduced by Leonardo da Vinci (though some argue it was Michaelangelo) to his apprentices to teach them how to paint?
Perhaps the obvious answer to what makes painting by numbers unique is that it teaches everyone that they can be an artist. During the marketing of the original PBN kits under the brand Craft Master, Robbins used the tagline “Every Man a Rembrandt” to show the public that painting can be as easy as 1-2-3!
According to Dan Robbins, the inventor of the original kits in his memoir, Whatever Happened to Paint-by-numbers?: A Humorous Personal Account of What It Took to Make Anyone an 'Artist', he recalled that Da Vinci handed out assignments to his students with numbered patterns. These numbers indicate the placement of colors on the canvas-- for the underpainting, preliminary background, and so forth.
The PBN Technique: The Critics and Enthusiasts Response
Another answer as to what makes painting by numbers unique is that it has been a part of the debate in the art world. While the mass public embraced the idea, “real” artists don’t.
Believe it or not, many instructors in art school are finally embracing this method to teach their art students effectively and efficiently when it comes to the basics of painting. Thus, there are also informal art classes that use PBN kits to provide art lessons before allowing their students to work on an actual blank canvas. However, this method hasn't been well-embraced since then.
It was frowned upon by many critics and artists in the art world because according to them, these kits oversimplify the artistic process and therefore undervalue the worth of real art.
But, regardless of what “real” artists and art critics think, this technique and the kits, in general, are loved by the public. By the end of 1955, around 20 million kits were sold in America alone. Thus, even famous Pop Art icon Andy Warhol loved the idea.
What Makes Paint by Numbers Unique?
1. This technique is a pop culture symbol:
The term “pop culture” can be defined as a subject, icon, or symbol of never-ending public discourse due to its massive appeal to the masses in society. Looking back to the history of PBN kits, millions of kits have been sold worldwide and several exhibits were opened to showcase some of the greatest finished products of the kits. Thus, thanks to its mass appeal to the consumer society, most designs are about popular things, paintings, celebrities, etc. Furthermore, paint by numbers has taken over the internet, news, and crept into many people’s homes and walls.
Painting can be frustrating at times especially when you’re working on a blank canvas. For beginners, the selection of the creative medium, paint materials, and pre-process of painting are stressful in themselves already. But thanks to these kits, the process is much easier. First, the materials are complete and ready to use. Second, the canvas has pre-drawn contours that you can follow, and third, you only have to follow a single instruction to create a masterpiece by yourself. And that’s what makes painting by numbers unique.
3. Aids in the promotion of holistic development:
People tend to think that creating artworks like paintings only has entertainment and educational value but it is more valuable than that. Accordingly, painting by numbers can help in decreasing the signs of stress, anxiety, and depression while promoting focus, mindfulness, brain activity, and productivity. So, if you’re looking for a new hobby that will help you develop holistically, then painting by numbers is the way to go! Plus, have we mentioned that this activity is great for children as well? PBN also helps in the development of your child’s fine motor skills--- necessary for writing and doing basic things like tying up shoelaces, etc.
Not everyone can afford art classes, whether formal or informal and thanks to these kits, everyone can finally have the chance to learn how to paint like an actual artist. Here at Best Paint by Numbers, we offer quality yet affordable Paint by Numbers kits that can help you start your artistic journey by giving you hands-on experience in painting through this amazing technique. Our kit varies from a wide array of fixed kits and custom PBN kits where you can select the image that you can paint. Know more about us by clicking here.
Grab your kit today and discover what makes painting by numbers more unique than any other technique by yourself. We hope that this article has given you valuable insights regarding these iconic kits that made it to pop culture-- something that everyone may have heard of already. Have fun with your painting!