Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Author/Artist Series: Dan Robbins




Have you heard of Dan Robbins? You may not know him, but this man is one of the most exhibited artists in the world...he is the inventor of the original paint-by-numbers!

In 1950, Dan took up the challenge of Max Klein, the President of the Palmer Paint Company in Detroit. Max wanted an idea that could make anyone an artist...thus increasing the need for paint. Dan was inspired by Leornardo da Vinci who would give his apprentices numbered sketches indicating where they should paint, and which colors to use. And thus, "paint-by-numbers" as we know it was invented! The process was a little trickier than he thought...how difficult should they be? Which images would appeal to the most people? What kind of supplies would be used?

After disappointing initial sales, Robbins came up with a marketing plan which involved putting a bland paint-by-number on a billboard. Each day the painting came to life as more and more colors were added. His idea took root, and the Palmer Paint Company sold more than 12 millions kits during the 1950s. Perhaps you've done one too?

5 comments:

Elle said...

I remember doing those when I was little. I didn't know the history of it. Great information. Thanks.

paula said...

Thank you for the intro, so lovely.

Rachel Follett said...

Great story!

That Girl Designs said...

Fascinating. I had no idea how the idea got its start. Thanks for sharing this bit of history.

Sarah's Fab Day said...

Heather - I love your artist series, they're so interesting!