Paint By Numbers Kits

You may remember your childhood "Paint by Numbers" kits, but do you know how they came into being in history? By mixing coloring books with paintings on canvas, anyone can create a detailed artwork through digital painting, even if they have never taken art classes. The simple art suit was first invented in the 1950s and is still very popular with children and adults. Nevertheless, little is known about their original creator, Dan Robbins.

Robbins is a business artist in Detroit. His career began in the Art Department of many car manufacturers. In 1949, he began working with Max Klein, the company's founder, at Palmer show card paint. At first, Robbins was hired to do illustrations for children's books, but Klein soon set him a new, more urgent task: selling more paint. His solution is to design a hobby kit to promote the sale of Klein paint products.

Where does the idea of digital painting come from?

Robbins' idea is based on Leonardo da Vinci's teaching system, which is to number his oil painting part and let the apprentice complete it. "I remember hearing Leonardo da Vinci challenge his own students or apprentices with creative assignments," Robbins recalls in his autobiography He will distribute numbered patterns, pointing out that some colors should be used in specific projects, such as background color, preliminary background color or some smaller works that do not require his immediate attention.

To make each toolbox, Robbins first drew an original artwork, then placed a plastic cloth on it, and outlined the shapes of each tone and shadow. Then, each clip is given a number and a corresponding color. After repeated experiments, Robins' digital painting toolkit was born and introduced to the public through a package printed with "everyone is Rembrandt". After the war, they were introduced when Americans had more time for leisure activities. This concept soon became a cultural phenomenon.

The first Paint by Numbers Kits to be numbered.

Robin's first digital painting toolkit was called Abstract 1. A still life full of vitality and abstraction salutes the abstract expressionism of that era. Unfortunately, the design was not commercial enough to appeal to the public, so Robbins, Klein and a new team of artists began to produce less abstract sets of landscape and portrait hobbies, which proved to be more popular.

Public response.

Palmer show card paint changed its name to craft master, and the company soon grew to 800 employees who worked day and night to produce 50000 sets of paint per day. In 1955, about 20 million kits were sold in the United States, and the finished products proudly hang in homes around the country. Even President Eisenhower's president appointed secretary, Thomas Edwin Stephens, planned a gallery based on the number of works by White House officials.

However, shortly after the initial success, craft master went bankrupt because it couldn't keep up with demand. Although craft master is still a landmark pioneer in the digital painting movement, many competitors soon emerged and began to produce their own versions of hobby kits.

What does the art world think?

Although the consumer's response was positive, the number by number Drawing Kit triggered a strong response from the art community. They are criticized for oversimplifying the creative process and underestimating the works of "real" artists (some digital painting designs are based on famous paintings). An anonymous critic of "American Art" wrote: "I don't know what the United States will become. When thousands of people, many of them adults, are willing to be organized, daub all kinds of dictation shapes on puzzles, and memorize them by rote. Can't you save some of these souls? Or should I say they're idiots? ".

Drawing toolkits by quantity means that art can be copied indefinitely, which makes many people wonder whether they can be classified as art. However, as expected, this concept attracted the attention of pop art idol Andy Warhol, who is famous for his love of repetition. He became a loyal oil painting lover and collector.

Despite the strong opposition, Robbins did not worry too much about the negative reaction of art critics, because he realized the dream of bringing art to the public. In his 1998 memoir, "what happened to digital painting," he wrote, "I never said that digital painting is art. It's the experience of art, and it brings it to people who don't usually pick up a brush, rather than soak it in paint. That's what it does. "