Creating A Wonder Woman Out Of Jelly Beans With Kristen Cumings (UPDATE)

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By Jason Borelli

If you're attending New York Comic Con this weekend, be sure to swing by the Jelly Belly booth (455). For the second straight year, artist Kristen Cumings will be filling out a portrait using jelly beans. This year, the artist from Pittsburg, CA, is working on Wonder Woman. We visited her as she was beginning her task.

Bleeding Cool: How did you get into art?

Kristen Cumings: I've been interested in art for my entire life. I like be art. I've been doing Rt on a professional level for about 5-10 years.

BC: How did you get involved with Jelly Belly?

KC: Jelly Belly has had artists doing this since the. 1980s.  In 2009, they called me and asked if I wanted to try to help get their bean art program going again. I tried it out, and I ended up really good with the way that I see things. I enjoy it, and we've been doing it ever since.

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BC: How difficult is it to work with jelly beans as a medium?

KC: It was a new medium for me, so it took quite a bit of practice to figure out what kind what kind of adhesive to use, which wasn't going to be water-based, so it wouldn't eat off the outside of the jelly bean. I wanted to work upright, whereas previous artists had worked flat. I had to find a different methods d of doing it. It took a little bit of practice.

BC: What are your favorite work so far?

KC: Darth Vader has been one of my favorites. We did a series of reproductions of famous paintings a few years ago. The Girl With a The Pearl Earring was one of [my] favorite ones of those.

BC: How has your art been received?

KC: It's really gratifying to have people come by and talk to me about how much they like the product, how much they like what I'm doing, especially here at the comic con. At the other cOmit cons I've been to, everybody is so friendly and nice.

BC: How did you get to do Wonder Woman?

KC: Personally, I don't have a lot of power about the subject matters. I've wanted to do Wonder Woman for a long time, and I was really excited when they said, "This is the year for Wonder Woman because it's her 75th anniversary coming up, and the movie's coming out next year. I think for all of those reasons, they thought it was time to do Wonder Woman.

BC: Are you a fan of hers? What is your favorite version?

KC: I'm a huge fan. I think there's a charm about every version, from the very earliest[days], where she looked almost like a flapper with the makeup that looked like that, to the most recent super, amped-up, very modern-looking Wonder Woman. I like them all!

BC: How long does it take to draw the figure?

KC: The drawing isn't very detailed. It takes me five or six hours to do the original painting.

BC: How long does it take to use the jelly beans?

KC: It takes between 50-100 hours, depending on how complicated the subject is. It used to take me between 100-150 hours, but I've gotten a bit quicker, and I've figured out the process. Wonder Woman will probably take 75 hours.

BC: Will you be finished by the end of NYCC?

KC: That's the goal. We'll see.

UPDATE: Here's how it's looking now.

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About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.