Pictoplasma NYC – A Report – The AOI

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This October, Pictoplasma returned to New York City to deliver a condensed version of their popular Berlin conference for all animators, illustrators, visual thinkers and all-round character lovers.

Whilst we were not able to attend, our NYC-based 2023 mentee Taylor Yingshi did! She kindly shares her highlights, reflections and visual notes from the conference in this short report.


My name is Taylor, and I am an illustrator and visual development artist for animation. As a first-time attendee of Pictoplasma, I came in unsure of what to expect. But after two days of inspiring lectures, animation screenings, and even a portfolio review session, I left with clarity, energy, and a tenacious drive to go draw.

One of my highlights was Natalie Labarre’s Hornet presentation. As she traced her creative journey and client projects, I realized just how experimental commercial animation can be. Advertising is often seen as a field bereft of sincere artistry (we all know the infamous “Corporate Memphis” illustration style it spawned) – but Natalie shared wild, loose, sketchy pieces that defied that stereotype.

“As a first-time attendee of Pictoplasma, I came in unsure of what to expect. But after two days of inspiring lectures, animation screenings, and even a portfolio review session, I left with clarity, energy, and a tenacious drive to go draw.”
– Taylor Yingshi

At the same time, she told of how several clients felt hesitant about engaging animation as a medium. This led me to think about how animation is still such a new, untapped form of art, and that we as artists still have much to chip away at in order to unlock the medium’s full potential.

I was similarly inspired by the Sunday morning rapid portfolio reviews at WIX headquarters. I did my review with Titmouse, an animation industry giant with branches in NYC, as well as ustwo, a video game company best known for Monument Valley.

While mine were focused on entertainment design, I had friends who reviewed with a plethora of companies – editorial magazines, illustration agencies, and advertising firms. The diversity of talent present revealed how many avenues creatives could thrive in.

With that being said, here are my top takeaways from Pictoplasma:

1. Artists can thrive anywhere.

2. Commercial art has so much creative potential.

3. Commercial artists should take more risks.


Many thanks to Taylor Yingshi for her insightful write-up and images. See more of her work on her website and instagram.

You can also read about her personal experience with the AOI Mentorship, and meet the rest of our 2023 mentees here.

Illustrations by Taylor Yingshi.



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