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The Amazing History of Paint By Numbers

The Amazing History of Paint By Numbers

Painting is a great source of art and craft distraction and recreation. It takes the painter away from all the troubles and complexities of life. Painting allows a painter to show his inner self, his trues self.

Like Van Gough said,” Paintings have a life of their own that derives from the painter’s soul.”

But painting is not for everyone. Not everyone is a great artist. That is something that great painter like Van Gough fully understood, so, he used a technique to teach his students how to paint and what to paint.

Van Gough used to divide the painting according to different colors and numbered those parts and then numbered the paints to help his students paint the right picture. 

Palmer Paints CO. a paint company in Detroit was selling paint for kids. Then they decided to expand their demographic market to adults.

For this purpose, they consulted Dan Robbins who was a package painter for kids at the company. He came up with the idea of paint-by-numbers in the 1950s by taking inspiration from the legend Van Gough.

Initially, paint-by-numbers were used just for paintings of pets and landscapes but with time it evolved to custom paint by numbers paintings. But this journey was not an easy one. It took some time for the distribution companies to accept the concept of paint by numbers.

Most of the companies rejected the concept of paint by numbers. Some of them considered it old and medieval and some were afraid that the professional painters will not appreciate it.

After a lot of struggle, Kmart agreed to buy a very large amount of kits. Contrary to the expectations this venture proved to be a packaging disaster. Unfortunately, The Fisherman paints were swapped with The Bullfighter. It is obvious that no one liked a green bull.

This blunder just piled on the reason not to accept paint by numbers kit. It took some time for the company to sign a contract with Macy’s. They agreed to display paint by numbers kit with their toys collection on a condition that any unsold merchandise will be returned free of cost.

Moreover, they bribed the sales rep to increase their sales.

People really liked the idea of paint by numbers. The news of the success of the product spread like wildfire. People from everywhere accepted it wholeheartedly. The nearby fair help a lot in this manner.

This mainly because of the fact that pain by numbers was introduced soon after World War II. People had a lot of free time and very little to do so they started spending most of their time painting.

It was a cost-efficient and exciting activity that gave them the opportunity to forget the atrocities of war and indulge in something as peaceful. 

In the beginning, there was no computer involved so the painter had to paint the entire picture and then use a piece of acetate or clear plastic over the original to create the areas for each number.

Initially, there were only 20 colors in the kit that increased with the complexity of the image and introduction of technology.

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