As the daughter and granddaughter of two artists who are very persnickety about what constitutes as "real art," I'm reluctant to reveal my love of paint-by-number kits.
Specifically, watching the completion of paint-by-number kits on YouTube. (I suspect talks of extraditing me from the family is now underway.)
Paint-by-number kits are a bygone pastime that first emerged in 1953, invented by Craft Masters to enrapture mid-century craft enthusiasts. While the popularity of these kits have waxed and waned over the years, it appears that it is in the midst of another resurgence — and it's all being documented on YouTube.
A new generation of YouTubers is discovering these kits and are happily sharing their experiences with them, documenting their challenges, what they enjoyed, tips, and of course the painting process itself.
If you've never had the pleasure of completing a paint-by-number kit, allow me to explain the very simple process.
Each paint-by-number kit typically contains a board — sometimes a canvas, or heavy weight paper — with an image printed on it. The image is segmented into smaller sections checkered with an array of numbers. Each number corresponds to a set of numbered paints indicating what section should be painted with each color.
These kits range in difficulty, from simpler kits designed with kids in mind, to the more complicated and complex ones for a more time-involved activity.
Watching people gradually create works of art — however manufactured they may be — is extremely relaxing and ASMR-esque. It's also a fun reminder that you yourself are capable of creating the exact same work of art if you so choose.
In one of art enthusiast ALLJArt's videos, she explains that a lot of people enjoy painting but dislike drawing, or mocking up their own original paintings.
She also suspects people find the process of freely painting to be calming and zen-like, similar to the experience of coloring in a coloring book.
Regardless of how or why people find themselves getting involved with paint-by-numbers, the YouTube results remain a soothing balm, perfect for zoning out to.
Just take a look at this simple landscape come to life!
Or, take a peak at this "mindful painting" video time-lapse that documents a crowned flamingo being formed:
Are these the most beautiful works of art I've ever seen? Hardly. But, I weirdly love them all the same.
If you can appreciate the meticulousness of the activity, and have an affinity for coloring I'm positive that you'll be able to appreciate these kitschy videos.