Bill Sienkiewicz

  • American artist
  • Born May 3, 1958

Boleslav William Felix Robert Sienkiewicz ( sin-KEV-itch; born May 3, 1958), is an American artist known for his work in comic books—particularly for Marvel Comics' The New Mutants, Moon Knight, and Elektra: Assassin. Sienkiewicz's work in the 1980s was considered revolutionary in mainstream US comics, due to his highly stylized art that verged on abstraction and made use of oil painting, photorealism, collage, mimeograph, and other forms generally uncommon in comic books.

So much of 'Jaws' was amazing because the mind filled in what was missing.

I was lucky enough to be given books that weren't top sellers; books that were kind of under the radar.

So there's kind of a simultaneous aspect to pushing the boundaries, and being very safe.

But there's still an avenue for smaller comics and personal expression.

People who can pull you in and take you on a journey, as opposed to simply adding flash. Again, that feels very clinical, and I don't respond to that the way I used to.

That was a real learning element for me, because I realized that the more true you are to yourself, the more you will lose people.

If somebody can inspire me, it feels really special.

Kyle Baker's work is really funny, but it's also got a very clear vision.

If you're going to establish a certain level of unreality than you have to deal with it.

Nothing is really media driven or committee driven, so you can actually just produce something.

After that I jumped, especially being in art school, to the illustrators.

One of the problems I have with a lot of movies these days is that everything is too well lit. In the world of digital creations there is a tendency to show too much.

To me, that's one of the things that I love about doing this stuff. One day I can work on this piece in watercolor, and then work on something else on the computer, or work on something else that's a completely different approach.

I still love a lot of the guys who just paint.

You're telling the story, creating the sets, doing the lighting, the designing, and establishing the pace.

There is a whole generation of people who are going to see movies or watch TV who don't want to work.

But with comics you're reading and assimilating an image simultaneously, instead of just reading or watching the tube.

I didn't want to feel constrained, so I took on the Mutants.

So I look at a lot of stuff now that I did and some of it looks tame to me, but my interest in terms of what I want to say with it is a little different.

And that, to me, is the main attraction to comics. It's an avenue to say what you want to say.

Do the story in the way it really demands to be done, which may mean using several different styles or only one style; but it's still about respecting the story.

Comics are really my life blood in a lot of respects.

To me, the technique was almost irrelevant; it was what was coming across.

For a while I felt very alone; sort of out there in the world of comics, especially here in the States.

Cartooning is an honorable thing.

I want to say 90% of stuff out there is just crap that got made. The main point is that it got produced.

It's interesting, because in the corporate stuff there's a dichotomy there, depending on the creator. Even what, in essence, may be a very safe corporate approach, there is some stuff that is allowed to be pushed.

So, when the special effects are at the service of the story and draw you into it, that is really the magic.

But if I really want to produce my own work and tell stories, then I will.

Especially with Elektra, because I'm doing a lot of the covers for the new version of Elektra.

So cartooning, for me, is an honorable thing. It's pushing the envelope. It's the truth of something through exaggeration.

And I've never viewed comics as assignments for the client.

I wanted to learn how to paint rather than just doing black-and-white work.

I wanted to be complete, because I figured that, visually, there was an avenue to explore with painted stuff.