Dan Robbins created the first pictures and helped popularize paint-by-numbers kits in the 1950s.
The idea for paint-by-numbers started when Robbins' boss asked him to come up with an item that could be geared towards adults. Robbins got inspiration for the product from Leonardo da Vinci. The famous artist would hand out numbered designs to apprentices. Robbins took that concept and evolved it into paint-by-numbers.
Robbins based his concept on Leonardo da Vinci’s teaching system of numbering sections of his canvases for apprentices to complete. “I remembered hearing about how Leonardo da Vinci would challenge his own students or apprentices with creative assignments,” Robbins recalls in his autobiography. “He would hand out numbered patterns indicating where certain colors should be used in specific projects such as underpainting, preliminary background colors or some lesser works that did not require his immediate attention.”
Many people are unaware that Michelangelo should perhaps be credited with inspiring the invention of paint-by-numbers.The artist Michelangelo is credited with inventing what was centuries later marketed as paint by number. He created the system so students could help him finish up commissioned jobs when he became too busy.
So who do you think inspired the creation of painting by numbers?