NEWS!!! We are super excited about our brand new Pals Artist Series launching this month, the month of love: our first ever artist designed series! Every Spring and Fall we plan on releasing a different original series of Pals Socks created by a designer we love. It is so important to support artists and creative passion, and we are beyond thrilled to be able to that with our socks that promote friendship.
Our amazing first artist series has been designed by US born, UK based artist Anni Betts. What a unique, whimsical and fun style! Good vibes! Perfect for Pals. Amazingly, she loved what we are all about (as an indie brand with lofty goals) and took on this project. We threw around some concepts, refined the designs, and voila, the Anni Betts artist series has come alive.
The goal for this series was to create mismatched animal friends in fun colors that *almost* match, which is a bit of a change from the obvious mismatched style of our signature series, but still firmly in the spirit of our official MANIFEETSTO – “You don’t have to match perfectly with your perfect match.”
The Anni Betts Artist Series features 6 awesome new styles: Snail and Hedgehog, Owl and Mouse, Monkey and Giraffe (pictured above), Frog and Turtle, Fox and Bunny and Wolf and Sheep. Each design has a bold yet complimentary color palette and geometric shapes, and the socks are more light weight than our signature series socks. They retail for $11. So worth it for these cute and totally original designs!
Q&A with the artist Anni Betts:
Hometown: Champaign, Illinois
You were born the the USA and now live in the UK, how did you end up there? My husband and I moved to the UK in 2013 because he got a job here, at Durham University. The move was made easier by the fact that I’m self-employed and can do what I do from anywhere, and I can definitely say living in a new environment has been very inspiring!
Did you go to school for illustration or did your hobby turn into your profession? I went to the University of Illinois and got a bachelor’s degree in graphic design, but I did always like illustrating more than designing. After 8 years as a designer, I saved up my pennies, quit my job and made the leap to being an illustrator full-time.
How would you describe your illustration style and M.O.? I would describe my work as happy, colorful, decorative drawings.
Are you more of a digital person or do you prefer pen, ink and paper? I do a mix of both. I really like drawing by hand, so I draw all of my lines by hand, then do all of the color digitally. I like the intensity of color and control that working digitally gives me.
What profession did you want to be as a kid? I basically always wanted to draw pictures for a living!
What inspires you? I’m inspired by walking through nature, meeting animals, seeing new places, and by the work of lots of awesome artists and illustrators out there.
What do you love most about our Pals collaboration? What inspired you to take on our project? I love the whole concept of socks that are animals, and that those animals are maybe normally adversaries but in this case they’re friends. And it was a really fun challenge to adapt my drawing style to making sock characters.
Which is your favorite pair? I think I like the owl and mouse best, maybe because I like those colors!
How has your lifestyle changed as a new mom? How has it changed you? One fun change is that my weekend activities revolve around entertaining my son, which means going to places like science museums, aquariums, and petting zoos, which is as much fun for my husband and I as it is for our son. I also can’t work all hours anymore, which is probably a good thing. Also I find watching a person grow up and learn everything to be the most fascinating thing ever, so that, along with all of his cuteness, has really made life that much better.
After creating our first artist series and as a new mom, do you think the concept of Pals is easy to grasp on a forming mind? I definitely think kids can appreciate socks that don’t match, and I think they will totally accept the idea of different animals being a natural pair, because why not?
What is your one wish for humanity? To get along with each other and stop hating! Which I guess is appropriate here.
Where is your favorite place to explore? Since moving to the UK I’ve really enjoyed exploring here, there is SO much to see if you’re into beautiful scenery and historical places as I am. Even just our corner of north-east England is jam packed with hikes, castles, cute towns and bucolic views.
What types of projects do you enjoy most working on? Any project where I get to do what I do, and draw fun pattern-y animals. Recently I illustrated a book of mindfulness exercises for kids called Breathe Like a Bear, which was so much fun because it’s all animals! I also illustrated an all-narwhal calendar for 2019, which was fun and kooky to work on.
Favorite color: At the moment it’s turquoise. But it’s always changing! I really think every color has a place where it can shine.
Favorite movie: Footloose.
Favorite book: Alice in Wonderland.
Favorite season: SUMMER. Which I dearly miss, living in England!
What other kids brands are awesome that we should know about? I really like the Boon line of products, they’re such fun objects to have around and they also are really functional. When it comes to other things I think the brands here in the UK are somewhat different from what they have in the US, so maybe they don’t translate!