Portrait of Dan Robbins: The Inventor of Paint by numbers, deceased on April 1st, 2019
Paint by numbers has come a long way since it was first introduced in the 1950s. What was once a simple way for the military to train soldiers in color recognition has evolved into a beloved hobby for people of all ages.
The origins of paint by numbers can be traced back to World War II, when the military used a form of the activity as a training tool to help soldiers distinguish between different types of camouflage. After the war, the concept was adapted for civilian use by a man named Dan Robbins. Robbins, who worked for the Palmer Paint Company, is credited with inventing the commercial version of paint by numbers.
In the 1950s, Robbins developed the idea of creating pre-printed canvases with numbered areas, each corresponding to a specific paint color. The kits were marketed as a way for adults to learn how to paint and create their own works of art, and they quickly became popular among amateur artists and hobbyists.
As the years went on, paint by numbers continued to evolve and expand. Today, the activity is enjoyed by people of all ages and can be found in a wide variety of subjects and styles, from traditional landscapes and still lifes to modern pop culture images and custom kits featuring personal photographs.
So the next time you pick up a paint by numbers kit, remember that you're participating in a rich and storied hobby with a fascinating history. Who knows – you may even discover a hidden talent for art along the way!