Sunday, November 23, 2014

Civil War Sunday - Color It by Number

This is going to seem like an odd question but - do you remember Venus Paradise color by number sets?  And, if you do, do you remember Civil War themed coloring sets?

I remember Venus Paradise sets so well, but not the Civil War sets. I accidentally found them online yesterday, and now I am intrigued.

Color by Number and Paint by Number as a hobby was popular in the early 1960's.  My Dad and I both enjoyed pencil color by number.  These were pre sketched drawings with numbered spaces. They came with colored pencils, numbered to correspond.  It was a most relaxing hobby and we would sit at the kitchen table, together, coloring.  This was also the era when the United States was commemorating the Civil War's 100th anniversary, between 1961 and 1965.  So the existence of Civil War coloring sets made by Venus Paradise, and one showing up in an online museum, does not surprise me. 

The one picture I could look at online showed some Civil War soldiers, on horses.  It wasn't a battle scene.  I wonder what the other scenes were.

In August of 2011, I blogged about my love of Venus Paradise coloring sets. With slight edits, here it is.  This post led one of my friends to pick up a modern pencil coloring set for me, which was such a sweet thing for her to do.

Ah, memories of childhood.  Does anyone else remember the Civil War Venus Coloring Sets, or Venus Paradise in general?

Color By Number - Memories of Paradise

Yesterday evening, coming home from my water aerobics class, the sky reminded me of the sky of a color by number painting.  All those shades of blue and light purple.

Do you remember color by number?  It was really popular in the 1950's and early 1960's, when I was growing up.   You can still find color by number in paint today.  But what my family loved was the Venus Paradise sets.  They were color pencil color by numbers.  They had sets geared to all ages - from children old enough to color to adults.

The pencils were numbered, and you got the pencils you needed for your set with the set.  My favorite was #7, Peacock Blue. You can even find the list of colors online (except for two "mystery colors").  It would seem that some older artists miss them, too - they were high quality but as a child, I just took them for granted.

My Dad and I would color together.  I would have my child's set and he an adult set.  I remember one in particular, set with famous buildings.  I remember him in particular working on a Taj Mahal picture.  I looked at him color with great concentration.  He put wax paper on top of the part of the picture he had completed so it would not smear.

His picture had so much detail.  You could barely make out some of the numbers in the small portions.  But I would grow up one day and be able to do complicated pictures just like my Dad!

Except I lost interest, until my son was born.

I went to all the stores (when he was old enough to color) and no one had them.  In fact, I couldn't find any kind of color by number pencil art set, period.

Venus Paradise is out of business.

The good news is that there is a pencil color by number set out there now. Better yet, the people who own the business remember Venus Paradise.  So perhaps a new generation of children will remember pencil by number sets fondly.

In writing this post, I find my spouse remembers the sets too.  He thinks when he retires, it might be fun to buy one.  But sadly, this is something I'm not sure will ever return to favor for the general population.  I'm told there is no collectors market for these, either. you remember Venus Paradise?


  1. I did not know there was a color by numbers Civil War set, wow.

  2. I don't think I remember Venus Paradise specifically, but I certainly do remember color- and paint-by-number! It was also an easy transition to doing other crafts that depend on reading charts and matching numbers and colors, like plastic canvas and counted x-stitch.

  3. this is interesting. never knew that there was color by numbers of civil war

  4. We didn't have this exactly in Australia when I was young. But I remember something similar. I loved coloring pictures. It helps the hand to eye skill for youngsters. Gone are the days when a father will sit down with his children and patiently color. As an aside, I used to draw beautiful ladies for my sisters. They loved them. That was the time when you made your own entertainment -- the 60s -- not like now.


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