Picture of Make a Van Gogh Paint by Numbers Artwork
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How Paint By Numbers Started
Most people could only dream of painting like Van Gogh - he became one of my favourite artists after reading "Dear Theo" - and I wish I had learnt to paint from a paint by numbers kit. I might have learnt to paint a lot sooner. Here's a simple way to make your own paint by numbers picture, how to paint it and own a masterpiece based on a master artist.

Critics would scorn the paint by numbers method, but it was the Paint By Numbers Inventor, Dan Robbins who noticed Leonardo da Vinci, 500 years prior, numbered his paintings for assistants to fill in . . .. . . well Paint by Numbers was born.

Why paint anyway?
Why bother attempting to paint a Van Gogh when software and canvas inkjet papers can make a printout look like it was painted? Well there are many benefits when you paint - copying a masterpiece - or even painting at all. If you don't have paint why not paint-by-numbers in plasticine  or even playdoughhttp://www.instructables.com/id/Playdough-Paintings/

I like how it helps the beginning artists to:
  • develop eye and hand co-ordination
  • observe carefully by sharpening your shape and texture recognition,
  • understand how colour works - why some colours look good together and why others not so good together
  • improving your aesthetic sensitivity a hundred times over
  • turn once boring blobs of paint - humdrum ordinary things turn into interesting things of simple beauty.

Children and adults of all ages, begin to calm down and peace settles once they concentrate on a paint by numbers painting. Grandma Moses began painting beautiful primitives at 78. She said "Anyone can paint if they want to. All they have to do is get a brush and start right in, same as I did."

How Easy is This Instructable?
Watch this video of The Largest Paint by Numbers Painting of a Foot

Well, that just goes to show - everyone could paint as wonderfully as Vincent Van Gogh.....
if they wanted to. God made the world too beautiful to ignore * . *

Here's how to get a foot into the secret world of painting ....

So let's get started!
craftyv4 years ago
Love this Instructable lots but it's too computer techy for me as I am nearly 70 and very inexperienced but I do try a lot and adapt when i can.
Childhood activities do remain in your phyche I too did PBN when i was a girl and thoroughly enjoyed them. I also remember my first paint box. It was a Reeves poster paint box with six colours and a brush. The box was plum colour and had two levels. Whilst I can't claim to be an artist I do enjoy all forms of art and craft.
We should give kids these type of sets to help sow the seeds of art.

Very impressive work.
Scriptone (author)  craftyv4 years ago
Thanks for sharing your PBN story VeraWroe, : )

If you'd rather trace by hand than computer, clear plastic or acetate tracing over an original picture for the line art works well. Then its simple to photocopy onto a larger sheet of paper.
 Wonderful instructable! I became an artist because of Paint by Numbers
they enhance your understand of the structure of the patterns. I agree with what you wrote. As an art teacher I used to give them as prizes to smaller kids..great for big kids as well. 
It is a very relaxing activity for everyone and a wonderful sense of accomplishment getting one done! I had a sketch book as a kid and I was creative there but did my paint by numbers by the book..lol
I cannot find carbon paper sold anywhere anymore... Did you have a private stash???
Again thanks!!! Thanks for the tutorial on using that program also!

I found carbon paper at the local Dollar Store here in Ontario, Canada. Good luck :).
Stay inspired!
 Another reason I want to run away to Canada!! lol
Thanks and Art on!
I'm sure there's a place to order carbon paper online...
Scriptone (author)  haunted_lady5 years ago
Thanks for your comment! You're welcome : )
Instead of carbon paper, I cut off used bits of fax carbon paper for tracing.  It seems to be the same stuff.
 Yeah I have not seen this for awhile either..I will have to look thanks for the tip!
Someone once gave me a paint-by-numbers kit of some ducks flying  over a creek in the woods.  Instead of ducks, I painted dragons!  XD
Scriptone (author)  Silver Buttons5 years ago
LOL - you're too creative to stay in the lines.. : )
miezimau6 years ago
Love this tut, I love the paint by numbers, and wanted one of my dogs, found a software but it was too pricey, this is affordable and I can make my own now Thanks again
Scriptone (author)  miezimau6 years ago
Thanks for your comment, I'm glad to know it was helpful!
merijnvw6 years ago
Hey, strange that this Instructable got no reaction! This is a late reaction but I like it!