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What is paint-by-numbers and why is it a useful approach for beginners?

Paint-by-numbers is a system in which an image is divided into shapes, each of which is labeled with a number corresponding to a specific color. You paint each shape and eventually the image appears as a complete painting.

 It is believed that this helps to understand the concept that an image is made up of many colored forms. These forms often do not make sense individually and do not look like something "real", but together they form a picture. The next step in the artist's development is to learn to see these color forms with one's own eyes, without the aid of a printed diagram.

 Doing a paint-by-numbers project will help you learn to analyze an object and notice areas of color. This will help you move from focusing on what the finished item will look like to looking at small areas and what color to paint them. Painting by numbers doesn't have to be as outrageous as you might imagine.

 "Leonardo devised this mold himself, instructing assistants to paint sections of the work that he had already sketched and numbered. "- Bulent Atalay in his book «Mathematics and the Mona Lisa»: The Art and Science of Leonardo da Vinci.


Now for paint by numbers includes brush, small cans with a color of any shade and a printed outline of the drawing. It may seem that there is not much color, but it should be enough to complement the image. Of course, you can always use any compatible paint you already own.

  Be sure to check what type of paint is included in the kit (the most common are acrylic and oil paints, although there are also watercolors or pencils). We think acrylic paints are better than oil paints because they dry quickly and the brush can be washed with water, making it easier for beginners.


It's tempting to paint in a way that will finish a part of the painting in one stroke, but this will require frequent rinsing brushes and waste of paintRather, paint one color at a time, from the largest to the smallest areas of that color. Working from top to bottom helps prevent accidental damage to wet paint.

Starting with the big ones will make you more adept at using the brush and paint before moving on to the smallest areas, which can be quite tricky to paint. Paint by numbers is a great exercise for brush control. You know exactly where the paint needs to go, so you can fully concentrate on putting it there and only there.

Ability paint exactly along the edge or at a certain point is a key skill that every aspiring artist needs to develop. You can use it for example when painting a background behind an object, adding color to the eye or darkening the shadow of a vase, or anywhere else you want the object to have a hard edge.



The included brush is usually small so you can paint the tiniest shapes on the image. Because of this, it can be painting large shapes very cumbersome, so if you have a big brush, use that too. Start with the darkest color and end with the lightest color, or vice versa, leaving mixed color segments (double the amount) until the end.

I recommend ordering colors from dark to light (or vice versa) as this will help you learn a bit about hue and saturation. Have a glass of clean water handy (assuming it's acrylic paint by number) and a rag to wipe and dry the brush. Do not dip the brush into the paint until after the attachment, but only to the tip.

Choose the color more often so that the drop does not fall on the image. Do not throw the bristles of the brush to paint the area faster. This will quickly destroy the brush and damage the fine tip. Press lightly to bend the tips of the bristles slightly and brush the surface. Think of it as the paper (or canvas) pulling the paint out of the brush instead of using the brush to push the paint through.


Clean the brush thoroughly before dipping it into another color. You don't want to pollute the paint. A little dark paint will make a mess on a light color very quickly! If you accidentally do this, don't stir, but try to remove it with the corner of a clean rag or paper towel.

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