How Artists Are Banding Together to Celebrate the Muppets

Sweetums by Beth Sparks

In anticipation of this month's debut of Muppets Most Wanted, many are declaring their Muppets love -- some more creatively than others. Earlier this month, Zwoltopia, an artist based in Belgium, invited his social media followers to illustrate their favorite Muppets.

More specifically, Zwoltopia kicked off a Muppets-themed collab, one of many of artistic collaborations that are blooming across Twitter and Tumblr. Collabs are typically kicked off by one or two independent artists, who choose a theme (typically a favorite show, game or genre), create a Google Doc listing characters associated with it, and invite fellow artists to sign up for those characters to contribute illustrations via social media (typically Twitter).

Other collab themes include Ghostbusters and Disney ladies.

You can see contributions to Zwoltopia's Muppets collab, which has a May 1 deadline, by visiting the project's Tumblr page or checking up on the #MuppetCollab hashtag on Twitter.

I met Zwoltopia in the midst of recruiting artistic talent for ArtCorgi, a site that makes it easy to commission original art from up-and-coming artists. He was kind enough to agree to an interview about this project and experience with artist collabs. To stay up to date with this project and Zwoltopia's work, be sure to follow him on Twitter.

Simone Collins (SC): What inspired you to kick off a Muppets collab?

Zwoltopia (Z): First and foremost, my personal love for the Muppets.

Doing a Muppet-themed art collab seemed like a fitting tribute to those felt puppets that have entertained and moved people from around the world for over 60 years. It was a way to get the community together and excited about the Muppets; with the new movie coming out this month, it seemed like the right time.

SC: How did you determine the final list of characters in this collab?

Z: I started the list by going over all the major Muppets productions, be it a TV show, movie or special.

I tried to please the casual and hardcore Muppet fans by providing a solid list of characters ranging from the very popular to the really obscure. If possible, I provided a few variations of the most popular Muppets, as I expected demand to draw these characters to be bigger.

SC: What makes Muppet characters so ideal for a collab? What makes them fun to draw?

Z: Muppet characters all have very iconic looks and shapes. They are colorful and can easily be converted to a drawing. You can basically draw a Muppet in any style and still make it instantly recognizable.

SC: What character did you choose to draw, and why did you choose that particular character?

Z: For myself, I chose Miss Poogy from 2011's The Muppets. She was a personal highlight from that movie to me and looked like a lot of fun to explore. But really, I would be content with any Muppet character, I only picked mine a week after I started the art collab as I wanted the artists signing up to have first pickings.

SC: Could you tell me a bit more about your background and focus as an artist?

Z: I am an Illustrator based in Ghent, Belgium who specializes and focuses on illustrations for books, magazines, etc.

SC: Do you think collabs can contribute anything to an artist's career, or are they just for fun and creative development?

Z: While the keyword in this art collab is "fun" and getting the community together and excited, I do think the works produced can contribute to an artists' exposure. I know I have followed some amazing artists myself I never heard of before because of an art collab and the awesome work they produced for it.

Heck, I have made quite a few art friends through collabs.