Whether you’re an experienced painter, a beginner trying your hand at a new project or a child wanting to express their creativity – painting by numbers is for you. Perhaps you were exposed to this art form as a child armed with a colouring-in book and paintbrush, or maybe you have only learned about it later in life. Regardless of your exposure, paint by numbers knows no age limit and requires no professional art skills.
The possibility of creating a masterpiece without having to learn the technical principles behind it makes painting by numbers an extremely popular hobby.
A brief history of this trending art form
The painting by numbers kit is believed to have been invented and marketed in 1950 by Max S. Klein – engineer and owner of Palmer Paint Company of Michigan – and commercial artist, Dan Robbins.
Despite sometimes being dismissed as a straightforward or lazy art form, Italian artist Leonardo Da Vinci is rumoured to have begun the first painting by numbers system during the Renaissance while others suggest that Michelangelo should rather take credit for the idea (either way – we are grateful).
In his book, Math and the Mona Lisa: The Art and Science of Leonardo Da Vinci, Turkish-American writer and artist Bülent Atalay wrote:
“Painting by number may not be as egregious a pursuit as one might imagine. Leonardo himself invented a form of it, assigning assistants to paint areas on a work that he had already sketched out and numbered.”
Why you should start painting by numbers
Since its invention, this art form has taken the world by storm. It is fast becoming an affordable and popular hobby for creatives of all ages and from all walks of life.
We explore 7 simple motivating factors why you should add a painting by numbers kit to your art stash:
#1 It reduces stress
Just like colouring-in helps you concentrate and take your mind off the anxiety-provoking realities of life, painting by numbers has the same benefit.
#2 It serves as a beautiful keepsake
After hours of labour, focus and brushwork, the art mounted on your wall can be a lovely reminder of your efforts that’s worth boasting about.
#3 It enhances your attention span
Bringing your attention to the focused task at hand and being distracted from the world helps stimulate positive thoughts. And it can even make you lose track of time.
#4 It stimulates brain development
Not only does painting by numbers keep you busy, but it also enhances your fine motor skills, helps with coordination, memory and visualisation and promotes dexterity through the mobility of the hands and fingers.
#5 It encourages other artistic ventures
You may start with painting by numbers and later be inspired to take on more serious artistic endeavours as your creativity takes flight.
#6 It enhances children’s development
Little ones can connect with their creative side, have a sense of achievement and take on a new challenge (it also develops their numeracy skills).
#7 It’s great for beginners or advanced painters
While painting can be an intimidating pursuit, painting by numbers allows you to achieve your goal with ease (and a touch of artistic flair). Advanced artists can also find inspiration for existing artworks and become familiar with colour tones and art subjects through this art form.
Get started with these simple tips:
- Clear a flat area to work on or invest in an easel. Have a cup of water and a paper towel on hand to clean up brushes.
- Work from top to bottom. Begin with the lightest or darkest colours first in order to learn about tone, composition, shape and intensity of colour.
- Invest in a larger brush in addition to the brushes provided in the kit to cover bigger sections of the painting.
- Paint one colour at a time starting with the largest areas. This will prevent accidental smudging.
While there are hundreds of options for starting your painting by numbers journey, you can find all the art supplies you need online in one simple click. The range of paint by numbers options at a specialised store, such as The Art Materials Company, can be the first step to starting this new creative venture.