Sponsored – Win an Online Mixed Media Class from Craftsy

Sponsored – Win an Online Mixed Media Class from Craftsy

Are your illustrations not turning out how you’d hoped? Gain the skills to bring your vision to life with pen, ink and watercolor for astonishing results.

Enter here for your chance to win the online Craftsy class, Mixed Media: Pen, Ink & Watercolor (a $39.99 value) — a limited-time giveaway for The Fox Is Black readers.

With this class, you’ll learn how to make your illustrations standout with step-by-step guidance from professional illustrator Matt Rota. Find out how to create washes, tones and drybrush textures with lifetime access to 7 HD video lessons you can enjoy at your pace, in the comfort of your home. Also included is a downloadable supply list, reference photos, and all the answers you need directly from Matt.

Two winners will be randomly selected on July 21, 2014.

Bobby Solomon

July 14, 2014 / By

Manual Brings A Refined Identity To Mountain Bike Apparel Company Kitsbow

Kitsbow Brand Identity by Manual

When I think if branding for outdoor activity companies I have mixed feelings. Sometimes they feel really granola or too extreme, sometimes they’re well-considered and well-done like Aether Apparel. The folks at Manual, a design studio based in San Francisco, decided to go with the latter route for their branding of Kitsbow, a company that makes high quality mountain bike apparel with a minimal aesthetic and tailored details.

The logo references both the tailoring aspect of the product, and the winding trails on which mountain bikers ride. A monochromatic color palette with small touches of a blue accent color was used across all branded deliverables. We used extra thick card stocks, varnishes and foils to provide a sense of tactility and quality.

Kitsbow Brand Identity by Manual

Kitsbow Brand Identity by Manual

The identity design is extremely far reaching, encompassing apparel, website, stationary, and even a van wrap. The concept of the winding trails as the logo inspiration is fitting and brings a bit of life to a brand which could have been rigid or stodgy. I’m also really impressed with the iconography created for the clothing labels, which give the customer clear insight into what abilities the garment has.

You can see more of the work Manual did by clicking here, and you can visit the Kitsbow site by clicking here.

Kitsbow Brand Identity by Manual

Kitsbow Brand Identity by Manual

Kitsbow Brand Identity by Manual

Kitsbow Brand Identity by Manual

Bobby Solomon

July 14, 2014 / By

Leanne Shapton Illustrates Beautiful Covers For The Jane Austen Vintage Classics Series

Leanne Shapton Illustrates Wonderful Patterns for Jane Austen's Vintage Classsics

Print will never die despite what some people say. The tactility of printed matter is a joy that that will always have a place, and the beauty of seeing a lovely cover in your local book store or in an airport will never fail to captivate the mind. That’s the feeling I get when I look at these covers for The Jane Austen Vintage Classics Series, featuring lovely patterns illustrated by Leanne Shapton.

Leanne Shapton Illustrates Wonderful Patterns for Jane Austen's Vintage Classsics

Shapton’s illustrations give the covers a more contemporary feeling while still feel appropriate to Austen’s work. My personal favorite is the image at top with the black and creme, though the teal with emerald dots are a pretty stunning color combination. CMYK spoke to Leanne about her covers, which to her read as neutral to the stories.

“The nice thing about patterns is that they can evoke a certain mood or tone, but also be neutral. I loved creating a consistent handwritten label style for the six books and then thinking of which patterns might obliquely suit the titles. I think the patterns we chose quietly compliment and correspond to the stories. My favorite is Mansfield Park.”

Leanne Shapton Illustrates Wonderful Patterns for Jane Austen's Vintage Classsics

Currently there are covers for Emma, Mansfield Park, Northanger Abbey, Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, and Persuasion. Hopefully we see Amazon releasing more works like this.

Bobby Solomon

July 14, 2014 / By

Vans Give Wooden Shoes A Contemporary Update

Vans Prelow “Cork” - OTW 2014

We’re in an age of great footwear design and shoe technology has come so far in the last 30 years. That said, it’s always great to see interesting materials applied to shoes and these cork covered Vans are currently at the top of my wish list. They’re a part of Vans OTW Summer 2014 and they’re certain to catch people’s eyes. Love the detail of the speckled mid-sole that separates the cork from the sole, a well-considered touch. The sad part is I can’t figure out where to buy them yet, but you can keep an eye on the Vans OTW site in case they pop-up.

Vans Prelow “Cork” - OTW 2014

Vans Prelow “Cork” - OTW 2014

Bobby Solomon

July 11, 2014 / By

‘Yesterday’, A Short Story by Haruki Murakami

'Yesterday', A Short Story by Haruki Murakami

About a month ago Haruki Murakami released a short story titled Yesterday, a tale about two college aged men who work in a coffee shop near a university in Tokyo. One of them, the narrator, moved to Tokyo to start anew, embarrassed by his old life. The other, Kitaru, has failed the college entrance exam and is cramming to retake it while ignoring his beautiful girlfriend Erika.

Again, Murakami is so great at capturing the mundane parts of life and making them exciting. His style reminds me of the films of Richard Linklater and his Before Sunset series. They’re both able to take the world we know and bring an interesting dimension to it. Below is my favorite snippet from the story, enjoy.

“But another part of me is, like—relieved? If we’d just kept going like we were, with no problems or anything, a nice couple smoothly sailing through life, it’s like . . . we graduate from college, get married, we’re this wonderful married couple everybody’s happy about, we have the typical two kids, put ’em in the good old Denenchofu elementary school, go out to the Tama River banks on Sundays, Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da . . . I’m not saying that kinda life’s bad. But I wonder, y’know, if life should really be that easy, that comfortable. It might be better to go our separate ways for a while, and if we find out that we really can’t get along without each other, then we get back together.”

“So you’re saying that things being smooth and comfortable is a problem. Is that it?”

“Yeah, that’s about the size of it.”

Bobby Solomon

July 11, 2014 / By

Flora Drift Turns Your Browser Into A Synthesizer

Flora Drift

British designer Luke Twyman gave himself a 48 hour challenge: to create a simple web-based generative project. By the end of it he realized that he’d made something pretty rad and decided to put more work into it. What came out of that effort was a project called Flora Drift, which uses procedural generation to create ambient music on the fly and to generate a new jungle/garden scene every 2 bars of music. Essentially the code sets a bunch of rules, then uses randomization to make decisions on how the music & visuals get created. Your browser becomes the synthesizer.

Bobby Solomon

July 10, 2014 / By

‘Oxio’: A New Series of Prints from Vacation Days

'Oxio': A New Series of Prints from Vacation Days

Finding art to hang on your walls can be difficult. While that concert poster you bought from Warped Tour in ’97 might have been cool at the time you should probably think about classing up the place with something a bit more sophisticated. Enter Vacation Days, an online art and printed goods shop which releases all sorts of beautiful items.

Recently they released a new series of prints called Oxio which puts these wonderful, abstract brass objects into a nebulous setting.

This series was inspired by those moments in the wilderness when the sun’s rays catch a reflective object directly in your line of sight. To represent this in contrast, I photographed tiny (all less than an inch) brass objects collected around Los Angeles and collaged them with different concrete textures photographed on man-made roads intersecting the city’s urban parks.

You can purchase them here, running in price from $30 to $460 depending on the size. The Fox Is Black readers can get 10% off by using the code “TFIB”.

'Oxio': A New Series of Prints from Vacation Days

'Oxio': A New Series of Prints from Vacation Days

Bobby Solomon

July 10, 2014 / By

“Talk Show Host” Is The Best Radiohead B-Side Ever Released

Radiohead

Released in 1996, the soundtrack to Baz Luhrman’s Romeo + Juliet, a re-telling of Shakespeare’s most notable work, was earth-shattering to my 14 year old self. The artists featured were a who’s who at the time including Garbage, The Cardigans, and of course, Radiohead. To me “Talk Show Host” was the song that summed up the feeling and vibe of the whole film and re-enforced my love for Radiohead.

The song was originally a b-side on the “Street Spirit (Fade Out)” single and then remixed by producer/composer Nellee Hooper. The original has a lot more guitar and drums while the remix is much more mellow and moody. If you’ve never heard this song before you’re in for a treat.

Bobby Solomon

July 9, 2014 / By

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