I am no artist. But I spotted a paint by numbers kit which looked pretty cool at my grans, the image on the box was really nice, anyway as expected once it was "finished" it looked nothing like the box, I'm wondering if anyone knows what to do to make it look more realisticComplete Image

Image on the box, what I'm aiming to transform it into...

  • 4
    It looks like you need more detail... Jul 21, 2015 at 17:15
  • 1
    Go in with a finer brush and add the hair.
    – Manly
    Jul 21, 2015 at 18:00
  • Brand of the painting matters! Paint works by Dimensions (yes, the embroidery/craft people, one and the same) look VERY much like the box. So does PLAID. In my experience, I have never seen a Royal and Lang....something that turned out well. They put MUCH more detail on the box, do NOT put it in the drawing and you can't even top paint to fix it! Exception: The children's ones with little detail may do well.
    – SCHBay
    Dec 17, 2017 at 22:35

2 Answers 2


Paint-by-numbers, by design, is a low resolution drawing.

The painting on the box is a high resolution drawing.

This is called 'marketing' (Making something look better than reality) :)

  • I dont know why this got downvoted
    – BlueWizard
    Jul 22, 2015 at 17:50
  • 1
    It doesn't answer the question, it makes a snarky comment instead... so should be a comment.
    – rebusB
    Oct 10, 2017 at 19:42
  • @rebusB you are correct, it doesn't answer the question directly, but explains the frustration the OP had. On the other hand, it's a good life lesson. To be fair, the only real way to answer the question is "learn how to paint". (Or, alternatively, I'd say embrace the paint-by-number aesthetic as its own thing...)
    – DA01
    Oct 10, 2017 at 19:50

Just found your question from last year. Don't know if you changed your painting. I think you can definitely improve it. I'm not an expert - have done Paint by Numbers, some non-PBN kits (Famous Art Kits), and a couple group painting classes.

I think what you want is to (1) blur the odd PBN shapes, and (2) lighten/mute the colors.

I suggest getting a 3-pack of basic painting brushes, for about $3-4). With a small brush and a light hand, do some tiny brushstrokes of a light color, all around the fur. Switch to another light color. Switch back. You will be layering paint, which looks more realistic. In some places, the brushstrokes will be wavy, because it's fur. Don't try too hard. You're not looking for perfection, which tends to look fake - but impressionism, which ironically, looks more realistic.

I would repaint the nose, so you can make the shine softer. What were they thinking?!

If you want, you could soften the background - but I don't think it's essential.

Put a dot of white symmetrically in each eye when you're done (think Minions) - makes it look more real.

I'm really glad you asked this. I had been avoiding PBN, but now I realize I can improve them as well. Cheers.

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