Interview: Man Behind the Muppabet


Want to be a kid all over again? To coincide with the release of the new Muppets movie, David Voldtriede created 26 different illustrations that highlight a Muppets character corresponding to each letter of the alphabet. Not only will these make you feel like you're walking down memory lane, they're so well-executed, they'll make you wish you had all of them hanging up on your wall. We caught with the web designer/illustrator to ask him about this personal project which you can read all about, below.










What inspired you to want to start this series? Was it an exercise for you?
I actually conceived the project way back at the beginning of 2011. I had seen other alphabet projects out there and have always wanted to do something similar for myself. I grew up watching the Muppets on TV, going to their movies and listening to their music. So the work of Jim Henson has been a huge inspiration for me ever since. Knowing that the new Muppet movie was scheduled to come out at Thanksgiving I decided to use the momentum and excitement of that release to hopefully add some buzz to The Muppabet and maybe even a little visa versa.

I did view this as both an exercise for myself and a flat out excuse to finally dig into drawing Muppets. I've loved these characters for so long and I really wanted to capture them in the spirit that I love the most. I also wanted to respect the fact that they are puppets and that they do have some physical limitations which add to their charm and makes them who they are. So some of their hands may look a little cooky because when you watch the Muppet Show it wasn't uncommon to see Kermit hands folded back in an awkward position because the arm rod that Jim (Henson) was using would get stuck in a weird spot. Ironically it is those little imperfections that make these felt and foam characters more human.

Were they all made using Illustrator?
I did all the illustrations in Illustrator CS5 then took them into Photoshop to add a little texture.

What's the reaction been like and did you expect it?
The reaction to The Muppabet has been really positive. Again I think the fact that the project came out at the same time as the media blitz was hitting for the movie made a big difference. Disney has done a really great job getting the buzz started at the right time and didn't press it too much. I've gotten a lot of great comments and I'm very happy with the way it's been received. Knowing how much these characters mean to me I'm not all that surprised to see others share a similar excitement. One of the main reasons I wanted to do this is because it's something that I knew I wanted to see as a fan.

Which letter/character combo seems to be getting the most love and attention?
It seems that a lot of the older characters are getting some well deserved attention, like Gonzo and Kermit along with Sam the Eagle, Rowlf and Crazy Harry. No school like the old school.

Have you made other series in the past?
This is the first project that I've done of this kind and at this scale. It was a lot of fun to work on and it makes me very happy to know that it put a few smiles on the folks who happen to stumble across it.

Thanks for the interview, David! Can't get enough of these illustrations.

David Vordtriede's website and Flickr

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Comments

  • Awesomeness!!!

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