August 30, 2023
Paint by numbers was created by Dan Robbins in the 40's. Journalist, Emma Taggart describes them as, " A mix between a coloring book and painting on a canvas, painting by numbers allows anyone to create a detailed work of art, even if they’ve never taken an art class."
Although the concept of these paint kits have evolved with modern designs and packaging, the materials have not changed. There are just so many frustrating aspects of Paint by Numbers that made the process more stressful than fun.
Firstly, lets start with Watercolor! Watercolor is water based, so its easy to use and clean! They are made with only 3 ingredients: pigment, gum arabic, and water. I only use professional quality paints that contain no animal byproduct, that makes the paint VEGAN! Plus its so therapeutic to watch the colors blend together!
Ok, next, the brush. Gosh, I wonder if there's a way to avoid needing multiple brushes to finish a painting. Sure there are synthetic brushes but they don't absorb water well or they are so expensive. WAIT, I've got it! How about those new brushpens? The ones that you fill with water so you don't need a glass of water. Those brushes are made of silicone and don't fray at all!! Plus you can use the tips for details and the side for larger areas! Perfect! Now, how do I get thousands of them? (Thats a story for another day.)
I thought to myself, what are some other improvements I could make to paint by numbers kits?
I wanted people to be able to frame their paintings. That meant they needed to fit in standard frame sizes. 8x10 inches was perfect. Then, I created designs that were meaningful to people, like wildflowers that represented the state that people were from or traveled to. My natural style as an artist is using a lot of white space around my designs to give eyes a place to rest. It's not as overwhelming as full page color that's common in paint by numbers designs.
I wanted the kits to be portable and travel friendly so you can paint anywhere, anytime. So my next challenge was coming up with minimal, eco-friendly packaging. OK! Check!
OK final step, get peoples feedback! I first showed a small group of fellow small business owners. I took my DIY Watercolor Kit out of my tote bag and placed it on a table for them to try. "Guys, I really need your unbiased opinions, is this any good?" The look of excitement on their faces was promising, but I needed to hear it. "Seriously, what do yall think?"
"OMG MAYA! This is gorgeous!! The packaging is so professional!"
"You came up with this idea on your own? This must have taken you years!"
"This is absolutely genius, it so much easier than paint by numbers!"
That was it! That was what I needed to hear!
From that point on, it was history!
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