The first patent for the technique of painting by numbers was filed in 1923. The Palmer Show Card Paint Company created Paint by Number in its popular form. The owner of the company approached employee Dan Robbins with the idea of the project. The idea of the paint by number kit first came about in the 1950s. They were created by a commercial artist based in Detroit, Dan Robbins.
He worked in the art departments of automakers for years, but in 1949, his career changed. That was the year he worked with Max Klein, founder of Palmer Show Card Paint Company. An anonymous critic of American Art wrote: “I don't know what the United States is going for, when thousands of people, many of them adults, are willing to be forced to brush paint on a jigsaw with dictated forms and everything from memory. Driven by post-war prosperity, increased leisure time and the democratic idea that anyone could paint a picture, painting by numbers became a popular pastime in the early 1950s.
I used smaller sections of canvas, marked with numbers to make it easier for them to learn how to paint. Klein, owner of Palmer Paint Company in Detroit, Michigan, and artist Dan Robbins, who conceived the idea and created many of the initial paintings. Before computers were involved, the artists creating the images had to paint the image and then use a piece of acetate or clear plastic over the original to create the areas of each number. PAINT BY NUMBERS KITS WERE A VIRAL PHENOMENON IN THE 1950S, WHICH MADE PAINTING ACCESSIBLE TO EVERYONE AND RAISED CONTROVERSY IN Good luck to paint by number in the future, I hope they will grow bigger and be better than they already are now.
Although Craft Master is still the iconic pioneer of the paint-by-number movement, numerous rival companies soon emerged that began producing their own versions of the hobby kits. Each paint by numbers kit included two brushes and up to ninety pre-mixed numbered paints ready to be applied in numbered spaces on an attached canvas or board. Palmer Show Card Paint Company was renamed Craft Master, and the company quickly grew to 800 employees working day and night to produce 50,000 sets of paint by numbers a day. So, while you may not have grown up as an artist, you are being one of their students if you paint by numbers for whatever reason.
According to Wikipedia, “Painting by numbers (or painting by numbers) describes kits that have a board on which light blue or gray lines indicate the areas to be painted, each with a number and a corresponding numbered paint to use. All-in-one paint-by-number art kits that include brushes, small cans of paint and a canvas with numbers indicating the color to paint each section have touched the hearts of millions of people for more than 70 years, serving as a relaxing medium for creativity and occupying an important place in art history contemporary. Even Thomas Edwin Stephens, secretary of President Eisenhower's presidential appointment, created a gallery of paintings painted by numbers by senior White House officials. In a short time, Palmer Show Card Paint Company became a “Craft Master” and employed some 800 people who worked tirelessly to create 50,000 paint-by-number kits every day.