Victoria Ying Interview

Tell me a little bit about yourself, about your life? Where did you go to school, and what classes did you study?  What helped prepare you to become the artist that you are today?

I went to Art Center College of Design and was a member of their inaugural class of Entertainment Designers. I was lucky enough to have been chosen to be among people I still count as close friends who helped to push me and encourage me to work hard at finding my own voice and being as good as I could be.

How do you go about designing, and what goes through your mind, from start to end? 

A big part of character design is simply thinking about the personality of the character. I try to think about what their state of mind is and how to read that on their body language and on their faces. I try to think about people or characters from my own life and try to pull from that personal experience as much as possible.

When doing my variations, I don’t just aim for as many different types of shapes, I try to aim for a “type” of person. I want to look at my drawing and believe that the person I’m drawing existed before I drew them.

What  is a typical day  for you, and who are the people you work with?

It’s hard to say because there is no such thing as a typical day! It all depends on where we are in production, sometimes its feels like a giant playground, and other times it feels like you’re helping to row a giant boat with 300 other people. You need both to get a good film out, so you learn to cherish the fun times and feel connected to the process and people during production.

What are some of the things that you have worked on? 

“Tangled” “Wreck it Ralph” “Frozen” “Paperman” I feel very blessed to be a part of the Disney studio at this exciting time!

Is there a design you have done that you are most happy with?
There was a little boy on the train with George in Paperman who gives him a funny look. I really liked drawing the boy and I was super happy with how he turned out in the film! I was focused on his expression and I just loved how innocent and confused he was!

What projects are you working on now? (if you can tell us)

Disney’s new project “Big Hero 6” along with a few other personal things on the side.

Who are some of your favorite artists out there?

A lot of my favorite artists are also my friends here at the studio. I appreciate them a lot because they are not only excellent at their artwork but they also act as peer mentors, pushing you to be better and providing you with amazing advice.  So, off the top of my head:

Claire Keane
Kevin Nelson
Brittney Lee
Helen Chen
Ryan Lang
Mike Yamada
Jeff Turley
Manu Arenas
Lorelay Bove
Scott Watanabe

I’m also a huge fan of Bruce Timm, Anette Marnat and Claire Wendling.

Could you talk about your process in coloring your art, as well as the types of tools or media that you use?

I use primarily Photoshop. I’m sort of scatterbrained when it comes to technique, sometimes I feel like painting, sometimes I feel like using lasso tool!

What part of designing  is most fun and easy, and what is most difficult?

The funnest part is thinking of all the possibilities before you tie down a design: there are a million things your character could be and look like! Starting out with doing all of those options is the most fun experience I have as a designer.

The hardest is that part too. You have so many options but you have to pick just one and the best one at that! How do you decide which character you drew is more “Shy?” that’s all very subjective, but it’s part of the challenge.

What are some of the things that you do to keep yourself creative?

Visiting museums is a great way to keep those creative juices flowing! I find it most useful to look at art that does not seem to be wholly relevant to what you are doing. My favorite sections of museums are almost always African or South Pacific sections. I love the way they break down design to it’s most essential elements without worrying about anatomy etc.

What are some of your favorite designs which you have seen?

I’m a huge fan of Mary Blair and in the hallways at work they put up a permanent gallery show. My favorites to look at are her designs of Princesses for Cinderella, really incredibly designed and super appealing!

What is your most favorite subject to draw?  And why?

I like to draw pretty girls in pretty dresses, I LOVE fashion so a big part of designing my girls is thinking about the clothes they would wear and how they express themselves with their style.

What inspired you to become an Artist?

I wanted to become an artist in High School when I got really into reading Manga, I wanted to be a storyteller and I focused on that during that time.

What are some of the neat things you have learned from other artists that you have worked with or seen?

One of the most important things I learned from a fellow artist, my mentor, Kevin Nelson, is to keep the statement simple, no matter what you are doing, don’t overcomplicate it, the eye can only read so many shapes and throwing on a lot flair and flourish won’t make your design better.

What wisdom could you give us, about being an Artist? Do you have any tips you could give?

Being an artist is the most rewarding and agonizing experiences out there. You put yourself out there with your ideas and your work, but it may not be what the project needs, it hurts sometimes, but we’re all working towards a larger goal and it’s important to keep that in mind as well.

If people would like to contact you, how would you like to be contacted?

My current website is I can be reached by email at

Finally, do you have any of your art work for sale (sketchbook, prints, or anything) for people that like your work can know where and when to buy it?

Yes! My husband and I have a little design studio/shop where we sell prints and books here

Victoria Ying Gallery