Yingzong Xin

My art journey from China to the US

October 1, 2021

Yingzong Xin went from working in the games industry in China to immigrating to the US and landing an internship at Pixar, which led to her current position as full-time character designer there.  In this special presentation from Lightbox Expo 2021, Yingzong talks about her art, her designs, her style, her workflow, and how her heritage and background still influences the way she draws.

Like most artists, Yingzong was interested in art from a very early age. In her presentation she unearthed  some of her elementary and high school art pieces – most of which were heavily influenced by anime and annotated with elaborate descriptions that told the characters’ backstories.


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A post shared by Yingzong Xin (@yingzong_xin)

Yingzong first ventured into digital during her college years at Beijing Film Academy. She jokes that she felt like she would die an early death if she continued to draw in her detailed style, and knew she needed to find a better and more efficient way to create her art. She started watching American animation and learned to simplify her art. Once graduation approached, she set her sights on finding a job in the popular Chinese games industry, and started working at Tencent, where she designed character outfits.


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A post shared by Yingzong Xin (@yingzong_xin)

Yingzong knew that if she only focused on anime-style art, it would be hard for her to find a mainstream job in the industry, so she applied to the Masters program at USC in 2018, where she continued her training in animation, interactive technology, video graphics, and special effects and eventually landed an internship at Pixar.


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A post shared by Yingzong Xin(Rachel) (@yingzong_xin)

Looking over Yingzong’s portfolio, it’s striking to see the variety of  styles she’s has represented in her art. She bought some Disney and Pixar art books and tried to imitate the style of her favorite artists, including Glen Keane and James Wood. She also learned to blend her own style of art with the things she learned from these artists and ultimately arrived at a style that makes her happy.

Yingzong Xin

Yingzong presents at LightBox Expo Online 2021 using her Wacom Cintiq 22

About Yingzong

Yingzong received her Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in animation, interactive technology, video graphics, and special effects from the Beijing Film Academy in 2014 and her Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in the same from the University of Southern California in 2018.  Recruited for an internship at Pixar in the summer of 2018, she was offered the position of Character Designer immediately afterwards.



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