Tag Archives: Max Klein

“Paint by Number” Kits Create Thousands of Artists

To be considered an artist, must someone necessarily conceive of the subject of their artwork in their own mind, or is it acceptable for them to use a “blueprint” provided by another artist? Dan Robbins, the designer of “paint by number” art kits, would agree that individuals can indeed use patterns to assist them in art making and still be accepted as legitimate artists.

Dan Robbins designed paint by number, a product that allows people to paint pictures according to set patterns, in the 1950s. Max Klein, who was the president of the Palmer Paint Company, sought Robbins out as the designer of the yet-to-be discovered product that would later be known as paint by number. Robbins was admonished by Klein to conceive of and design a product that could help anyone become an artist.

Robbins looked to Leonardo da Vinci for inspiration in his endeavor to create a phenomenal art product. (This is because Da Vinci was known to supply his apprentices with “numbered patterns” on which to paint.) Robbins wondered why the same principle Da Vinci applied to his apprentices wouldn’t work for modern art enthusiasts and soon began developing paint by number kits.

Not long after paint by number was developed and marketed, kits began to sell in droves as Americans became addicted to the product that enabled them to make beautiful, intricate paintings. Robbins created even more kits and trained paint by number designers (Adam Grant was one such designer). Today, Dan Robbins’ art “has been displayed on more walls than that of any other artist.” To say that paint by number kits made Dan Robbins a success is an understatement.

Paint by number has been supplying art enthusiasts with art “blueprints,” so to speak, for decades. As a result, thousands of individuals having dormant artistic skills have blossomed into artists. This has made paint by number somewhat of an American legend, and has afforded many individuals cherished memories and increased artistic ability.

How much do you enjoy paint by number and Segmation? Whether you love crafting perfect paintings, creating great digital art, or have fond childhood memories of coloring inside the lines, your experience is unique. We want to hear your story in the comment section below. What does paint by number mean to you?

Sources:

http://www.paintbynumbermuseum.com/dan_robbins_intro

Coming Soon: Read Segmation’s exclusive article about William L. Bird, a historian and curator at the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, where in 2001 he organized an exhibition on paint by numbers on which his book is based.

If you like this Segmation Blog, you may also like:

Be an Artist in 2 minutes with Segmation SegPlay® PC (see more details here)

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The Evolution of Paint by Number

What holds you back from creating art? Is it time? Expenses? Experience? Perfectionism? These were some of the first thoughts that went into creating the Paint by Number kit — the perfect art activity that surpassed all excuses.

In 1950, commercial artist Dan Robbins, and entrepreneur Max S. Klein, invented the concept of painting by numbers. This new creation married an art form with a hobby; painting and jig-saw puzzles. The Craft Master product was sold by the Palmer Paint Company in Detroit, Michigan.

By 1954 over 12 million kits had been distributed all over the world. Each kit had two paint brushes and up to 90 paint colors. Different paints were given each a number. Included in the kit was a canvas complete with light blue or grey lines and number markings to guide the artist as to where to place the appropriate paint color.

Not only did this innovative product make, “Every man a Rembrandt,” it created a new pastime. Like any intriguing art project, many individuals (mostly adult females) found painting by numbers to have addictive qualities — in the best sense of the word, of course. By the time a mysterious image revealed the hills of a landscape, dynamic sea, cuddly pet or even Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper,” the artist was hooked.

However, not everyone looked at this as art work. Some critics laughed in disdain about what adults were filling their time with. But in the end, the educational value proved to be a positive selling point for the product. It was seen as a transitional item that introduced those interested in art to the tools and techniques necessary to flourish in the trade.

Not only did it open a creative outlet for individuals,  it offered attractive, homemade decorations. To this day completed works hang in museums and galleries. In 1993 the daughter of Max Klein donated the Paint by Number archives to the Smithsonian Museum of American History. It’s even said that Paint by Number kits, completed by White House staff members, were hung along a corridor of the West Wing.

Between idea conception and present day, the Paint by Number art phenomenon has come full circle. In the 1960s it was adopted into the realm of Pop Art. Then, in the 1970s the designs became more abstract to fit the maturing tastes of art enthusiasts. By the 1990s, Paint by Number was looking for ways to regain a footing in the craft market of America; a telephone survey led them to create the “America’s Most Wanted” kit. Around this time, numerous children’s art companies, like Crafthouse and Janlynn started to produce Paint by Number kits for kids; there are even designs inspired by Disney Characters.

With the advent of virtual technology, it seemed only natural that Paint by Number programs become available through a computer. This is the type of innovative thinking that encouraged SegPlay, a color by number kit fit for your computer. Like Paint by Number kits, it is accessible at anytime, you can leave and return to your design as you choose, and it has the good addictive qualities that will fulfill leisure pastime. Also, like the Paint by Number phenomenon, SegPlay is always looking for new ways to serve artists. This is why Segmation SegPlayPC is evolving.

Be an Artist in 2 minutes with Segmation SegPlay® PC (see more details here)

Segmation

SegPlay® Mobile iTunes now available for iPhone and iPad

www.segmation.com