What a lot of fans don’t know is that he was the character designer on the ’90s FOX cartoon Where On Earth Is Carmen Sandiego? His official credit on the show was Main Character Design & Stylist, for which he (and the rest of the animation team) were nominated for two Emmy awards.
He’s also responsible for the iconic logo art:
One of my many current research projects is a comprehensive history of Carmen Sandiego, so I began searching for any Sienkiewicz art I could find. And yet, no matter how deep I dug online, nothing turned up. I thought for sure some fansite somewhere would have some in it’s gallery, but no luck.
Then I noticed that the Special Features on one of the DVD collections mentioned “Art Galleries.” With no other leads, I gave it a shot…and I wasn’t disappointed.
These sketches feature Sienkiewicz’s distinctive energy and angularity, though ultimately toned down in the designs that made it to the screen.
The Chief went through a particularly dramatic series of redesigns. He starts out looking very 1984, then takes on a look that seems very Morpheus from The Matrix five years early.
I guess it was a little too ahead of its time, because the next revision (presumably by a different artist) mentions notes about being “warmer, funnier” and “not sinister.
I didn’t mean for “a-head of its time” to be a pun, I swear.
Update (April 19, 2021): A fan named Gerd sent me photos of additional Where On Earth sketches from a catalog of a Bill Sienkiewicz art exhibition in Gijon, Spain that took place in 1997! Much thanks for the additional rare images!
One of the most interesting details in these images to me is that they contain evidence that the crew not only knew the episodes were being shown out of order, but which order. The characters from the episode “Split-Up” contain a note in Bill’s handwriting that it’s Show #111 (which would be Season 1, Episode 11) but is designated Episode #7.
If you enjoyed this deep dive and want to support my continued research, please consider supporting this site on Patreon!
Join the discussion on my Patreon page!