BLICK History

How It All Began

Built on innovation and creativity, BLICK is a company of firsts. Dick Blick's first catalog originated in 1911 in the form of a small pamphlet issued by the company's founders, Dick and Grace Blick. Our first product was a lettering pen, the Payzant, which quickly became a bestseller. The Blick's first warehouse was their kitchen, and their first shipping department was the Galesburg, Illinois post office where they would send out their daily shipments.

As an advertiser and show card writer, Dick Blick traveled frequently from Galesburg to Chicago to study the newest designs in window displays and merchandise. While shopping in 1910, he noticed an odd-looking craftsman pen and immediately had the idea of adapting this pen for those in his trade. After developing the writing tool, news of the Payzant was picked up by popular publication, The Dry Goods Economist, and word spread quickly. The pen sold well and shipped fast, as Dick Blick fulfilled orders each and every day from the attic of his home complete with a typewriter, an ordinary kitchen table, and his stock of lettering pens ready to ship.

Determined for success, Blick soon added other familiar advertising industry items including sign writing products, paintbrushes for signage, and other lettering tools. He later added paints with additional colors, poster paper, inks, cardboard, and just about everything both the traditional and sign artist would need. Above all, he made sure his quality art supplies were always available for immediate shipment.

Today, we are in our third generation of family ownership and have become the largest and oldest provider of art supplies in the United States. Our products cater to the full spectrum of artists — from a child scribbling with a crayon, to art students in training, to well-known art professionals. Our excellent customer service, extensive selection, and competitive prices make us the best choice for seasoned and new artists alike including art educators, architects, designers, students, and hobbyists.