Date Archives 2014

Win an Online Figure Drawing Class With Craftsy (Sponsored)

Win an Online Figure Drawing Class With Craftsy (Sponsored)

Enter now for your chance to win the online Craftsy class Figure Anatomy for the Artista limited-time giveaway for The Fox Is Black readers.

Conquer the complexities of figure drawing with the indispensable system of line, shape and form used by Da Vinci, Raphael, and Michelangelo.

With this class, you’ll discover the formula artists have used for centuries to draw the human form with captivating realism. Fine artist Roberto Osti guides you step by step through essential techniques, from realistically replicating the underlying structure of the body, to creating a muscle map with volumetric form and realistic dimension. You’ll also find out how to depict the hands, feet, and skull with striking accuracy, and gain instant access to helpful skeletal and muscular anatomy diagrams. Enjoy lifetime access to 8 HD video lessons that you can watch at your own pace.

One winner will be randomly selected on December 16, 2014 at 11:59pm MST.

Enter now at

Miito Reimagines The Electric Kettle Into An Artful Object For Your Kitchen Counter

Miito Reimagines The Electric Kettle

Nils Chuda and Jasmina Grase have taken an interesting way to boil water, induction heating, and applied it to their creation, Miito.

Miito is an innovative product that heats liquids directly in the vessel to be used, hence eliminating the heating of excess water. Simply fill your cup with water, place it onto the induction base and immerse the rod in the liquid. The induction base heats the rod, which then heats the liquid surrounding it. Miito works with non-ferrous vessels of any size, for example a pot of tea when inviting guests. Miito can also heat your soup or milk for a coffee. The clean shape of the rod allows it to be cleaned easily.

Miito Reimagines The Electric Kettle

While not being a new concept the application of inductive heating with the elegant form of Miito is what excites me. There’s nothing more you need for an idea like this. The base and metal stem are elegant forms that achieve the goal of boiling without any other pieces necessary. In my mind it’s almost so elegant that it presents itself as a piece of art for your kitchen counter.

Unfortunately this seems to be only a prototype for now. I know if it were a real product I’d definitely snag one of these.

Miito Reimagines The Electric Kettle

Pantone’s 2015 Color of the Year… Marsala?

Pantone's 2015 Color of the Year... Marsala?

Pantone has released their color of the year for 2015, Marsala. Here’s how they describe the color.

Much like the fortified wine that gives Marsala its name, this tasteful hue embodies the satisfying richness of a fulfilling meal while its grounding red-brown roots emanate a sophisticated, natural earthiness. This hearty, yet stylish tone is universally appealing and translates easily to fashion, beauty, industrial design, home furnishings and interiors.

To put it ineloquently… yuck. This reminds me of the late 90’s, mandarin collar button-ups, vineyard themed kitchens. It’s dried blood, it’s wine stains, it’s the color of regret. I’m also not a fan of the name which makes me think of Chicken Marasala. While it’s a delicious dish, it’s quite ugly from an aesthetic standpoint.

Also, what’s going on with the scandalous photo shoot below? This is taken directly from the Pantone site. Does the idea of a ménage à trios help to sell a color?

Pantone's 2015 Color of the Year... Marsala?

Mysterious Camouflage Self-Portraits by Lucia Fainzilber

Mysterious, Camouflage Self-Portraits by Lucia Fainzilber

Camouflage has always been intriguing to me. It was created as a natural defense mechanism though these days it’s more widely seen as a trendy fashions statement. Photography Lucia Fainzilber sees it in yet another light, a means to create a dialogue through art.

Fainzilber has always had a keen interest in fashion, and dressed flamboyantly even as a child. Now the artist, who also works as a fashion photographer, uses her images to show the ways we use fashion to convey identity, and the way fabrics can simultaneously cover us and express who we are. Fainzilber recognizes that sometimes clothing completely hides our identity, and many of her portraits communicate this feeling, as her own identity is entirely concealed, and further obscured by the world around her.

Mysterious, Camouflage Self-Portraits by Lucia Fainzilber

You can read more about her work on Artsy.

Draw Better Portraits With a Free Class From Craftsy (Sponsored)

Draw Better Portraits With a Free Class From Craftsy (Sponsored)

Do you want to draw accurate, lifelike portraits? Join the free online video class, Draw Better Portraits: Capturing Likeness, and start sketching the human face with convincing realism.

Access the class instantly and enjoy four HD video lessons with renowned artist Gary Faigin. You’ll get the same expert instruction and up-close demonstrations as a live seminar, with the freedom and flexibility of an online class.

In four easy-to-follow lessons, Gary will guide you through essential techniques to help you draw your best portrait yet. You’ll learn to map the shapes and patterns in your subject’s face, and create “placeholders” to hone in on the correct position of facial features. Find out how to refine your drawing with adjustments to the mouth, chin, and nose, and discover how to successfully sketch lively eyes. Learn at your own pace, anywhere, anytime. Your access to this class will never expire, so you can revisit lessons anytime you want.

For your free class visit

Warm Your Hearth and Home Digitally with Yule Log 2.0

Warm Your Hearth and Home Digitally with Yule Log 2.0

Yule Log is a website composed of a collection of short films created by illustrators, animators, directors, and creative coders, that wants to bring back the age old X-mas tradition. The site’s creator, Daniel Savage, did a version last year as well which was equally great. I’d rather put one of these fine pieces of art on my TV rather than watch A Christmas Carol on repeat for 24 hours.

Below are a few of my favorites.

The Ultimate Spot to Relax? Take A Look At The Wood Clad Grotto Sauna

The Grotto Sauna by Partisans Is The Ultimate Place To Relax

Cold weather and rainy rain is finally upon us here in LA and all I want to do is stay inside and keep warm. Nothing sounds nicer that spending some time relaxing in a sauna, but to be quite specific, this incredibly designed Grotto Sauna by Partisans. It’s the combination of incredible materials, the 3d sculpted and fabricated interiors, and of course the stunning view.

The site is a prehistoric large-scale rock formation, and understanding it intimately was the first step toward architecture. The selected concept prescribed a solid, simple presence on the exterior, while the interior followed dynamic air movements in curvature forms; requiring design solutions. Challenging the standards of current practices in the construction industry, we worked directly with a millwork and steel fabrication partner on every detail. Together, we developed a new process of fabrication; utilizing state of the art 3-D technology to scan, model and build the Grotto.

Please take me there now.

The Grotto Sauna by Partisans Is The Ultimate Place To Relax

The Grotto Sauna by Partisans Is The Ultimate Place To Relax

The Grotto Sauna by Partisans Is The Ultimate Place To Relax

Sweden Enlists Söderhavet to Design A National Typeface


How do you brand a country? A hard task, to say the least. Hot on the tails of Bobby’s post on Norway’s exceptional passport and currency design, another country has been catching the eye’s of designers: Sweden. This year, Stockholm-based design firm, Söderhavet, took on the challenge of reimagining their home country’s identity. The whole package is clean, modern, and oozes Scandinavia, but to me the most important part of which is the typeface they designed. It’s about time countries start putting more emphasis on type to aid in creating a national identity, because the ones that have done so in the past (Switzerland) have come to see phenomenal results.


Nations are most quickly recognizable through their anthems, music, and food. But perhaps most important to a nation’s identity is the flag. There’s an old saying in design that specifically relates to branding, “if it works in black, it will work in color.” Yet, apply this to most flags and you’re left with unrecognizable monochrome results. This won’t do, there needs to be more to a country’s look. In redesigning Sweden’s image, Söderhavet went a step beyond and created a national typeface inspired by Swedish signs of the 1950s. They named that typeface “Sweden Sans”, a modern, geometric sans serif font.


“Aesthetics are very important in Sweden and we have a long tradition of great architecture, furniture and design – so this was the natural next step,” said type designer Stefan Hattenbach of Söderhavet, who worked on the font. “It was a big responsibility to be representing our country, but we were really proud to be asked.”


To create the typeface, the designers started with the Swedish flag. “We started to think about how it would work with different typefaces, then started mood boards with different fonts and pictures—especially of old Swedish signs we’d seen from the 1940s and 50s,” says Jesper Robinell, Söderhavet’s head of design. Six months later they were left with the clean, classic, minimal typeface that reflects Sweden. Little touches, like the capital Q’s tail pointing downward instead of slanting to the right, add a touch of modernity and originality to the concept.

Soderhavet-Sweden-11 Soderhavet-Sweden-12Soderhavet-Sweden-3

Not only did the team capture the look of Sweden, but they also captured the nation’s attitude. One of my favorite words in Swedish is lagom, meaning ‘not too much and not too little,’ something in the middle of being content. It’s a word, that as far as I have come to understand, more or less reflects the attitude of Sweden’s people. Hattenbach explains that, “lagom is what we’ve aimed for with Sweden Sans… It’s all about Scandinavian minimalism. If they notice the typeface too much, it hasn’t worked.” Success, if you ask me.


Sweden is far from the first country to employ a national font because Switzerland has been doing so since the 60s. Their branding goes beyond an emblem, a color, or a national dish, but is instead immersed into the writing and language of the nation. What am I talking about? Helvetica, of course.


Helvetica comes from Helvetia, the female national personification of the Swiss Confederation, and is an integral component of the International Typographic Style that swept the face of 20th-century graphic design. From train timetables to bank notes, the Swiss have accepted and employed this clean, simple character set with great success. Not only does it concisely reflect the nation’s identity, but it is recognized and used worldwide, working the front lines of Switzerland’s soft power.

Soderhavet-Sweden-8 Soderhavet-Sweden-9

So, how do you brand a country? As Söderhavet and Switzerland have taught us, you need to think beyond a flag or colors. Consider application, as it’s your best means to having the concept used, remembered, and adopted by citizens.

You can find Sweden Sans for download here, as well as guidelines for working with the Swedish brand.