Irreverent Portraits by Illustrator Betsy Petersen

betsy petersen

Betsy Petersen is an illustrator and designer based in Houston, Texas. Her collaborative works, self-directed paintings and famed family portraits are wonderfully simple and yet discernibly striking. Formed of vivid, block colours, Betsy’s lifestyle-led illustrations feature anything from kid’s fashion to tiny dogs and trend-led repeating patterns.

Into the joys of family life and a mother of two cute kids herself, Betsy specialises in creating portraits that capture the sweeter, goofier side of families. Offering a bespoke service through her Etsy shop, which re-opens this month, Betsy’s pared-down presentations of families and their pets really do tug at the heartstrings.

My favourite section of her portfolio however, charts Betsy’s relationship with brands. From clothing to homewares and accessories, her product illustrations make great use of negative space and bright colours. The brushstrokes are thick and meaningful and there’s a great sense of fun and character in every image.

Betsy’s illustrations are a candy-coloured feast for the eyes and I love her Instagram feed, where she regularly posts new work, shots of her clothing collaborations and amazing pictures of her kids. Expect cheerful tones, blue skies, dressing up, adventures and a healthy dose of print and pattern too.

It’s inspiring to come across a creative with such zest for life and with such an awesome commitment to placing family at the centre of every project, premise and snap. Betsy’s work promotes the idea that you can achieve a great deal, be both a unique professional and an exceptional parent, and that creativity isn’t limited to just one format. I love the way that family becomes a subject of her work and not just its inspiration, and now, kind of wish I had a toddler for an assistant too.

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Words: Emily Beeson | @boogiemargaret