I have no idea if paint-by-numbers books are still popular or even available in 2015, but Australian artist Thomas Pavitte has rejuvenated the form by adding a liberal dose of mystery to the equation. It’s called Querkles, and the big gimmick behind it is that you don’t know what you’re painting until it’s close to finished.
The usual paint-by-numbers joint shows you what the finished product is supposed to look like once you get done, but Querkles doesn’t do that, and it further complicates matters with more advanced techniques like cross-hatching and overlapping colors. The result is that when you sit down to do one, you’re also slowly discovering what the image is underneath – like a magic trick you play on yourself.
There are two volumes of Querkles available from Amazon now, the first one focused on modern and 20th-century celebrities, and the second on classics of the art world. There’s a third version slated for release in October – so if you want, you’ve got a lot of painting to do in the next few months. You can also see a video introducing the project below: