Mental Canvas Announces Winners of Global $100K Challenge to Reimagine Drawing

Creatives Explore, Invent, Communicate and Ideate Like Never Before Using a Transformative Drawing System

NEW YORK, March 16, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Mental Canvas, Inc., a software technology startup, has developed a unique platform that allows creatives to draw in new dimensions. They, along with partners Andrews McMeel Universal, Go Comics!, Complex Networks, Havas Health +,Hearst, Microsoft Surface, Perkins Eastman, and San Francisco Chronicle, sponsored a $100K contest to Reimagine Drawing with prizes for the most impressive and imaginative scenes created with Mental Canvas Draw®.


Thousands of contestants from 93 countries entered the Challenge, which was held over a period of four months (July 14 to November 8, 2021). The 18 winning entries were selected from five categories: Architecture and Places, Education, Comics, Napkin Sketches, and Storytelling, along with three grand prizes. A complete list of winners can be viewed on the Mental Canvas website.

A panel of 11 judges drawn from comic artists to signature architects, with expertise in computer graphics, design, illustration and architecture, determined the 18 winners. The winning entries were selected based on how effectively they used the Mental Canvas system, aesthetic quality, ingenuity, and fidelity to the specific category.

Sabeen Virk, a visual artist from Alberta, Canada, won the grand prize for recounting the story of Yasuke, the African Samurai. “I wanted to tell his story through a series of spatial drawings set in an infinite space. Mental Canvas was a perfect tool for this. It gave me a 3D space, where I could move around and explore my 2D drawings in a way that I couldn’t with pen and paper alone. It’s pretty amazing to see your art come to life this way.”

Second prize overall went to Ambareesh Haridas, a professional storyboard artist from India whose series of cartoon narratives has established him as one of the most prolific and talented Mental Canvas creators. Rafa Alvarez, an illustrator, teacher, and cartoonist living in Berlin captured third prize overall for a short comic entitled, “The Age of Self,” where he addressed the question, “What would a history class in the future say about what is happening right now in this day and age?” Alvarez added that “The advantage of using Mental Canvas is that you can tell stories in a different way than you would do on a printed page. [In Mental Canvas Draw] all the panels are constructed in a three-dimensional space, and the background itself plays a role in the story, which I think is pretty cool.”

Carnegie Mellon professor and Challenge judge Johannes DeYoung said, “This was a difficult contest to judge. There were so many amazing entries.  We were constantly blown away with how the entrants used the unique capabilities of Mental Canvas.”

“Mental Canvas pushes the boundaries of drawing, bringing an element of exploration and storytelling that’s just not possible with pen and paper,” said Michael Cowan, Senior Director of Microsoft Surface Product Marketing Management. “This is a great example of hardware and software coming together to harness pen and touch to help creatives bring their ideas to life in a more natural and personal way.”

“We could not have been more pleased by how creatives around the world responded to our challenge,” said Mental Canvas founder Julie Dorsey. “When we built Mental Canvas, we knew it would be useful for early ideation in design, exploring real and imagined spaces, prototyping and communicating visual ideas. Only later did we come to appreciate how it could be used for storytelling, comic art, educational presentations and so many other purposes. The challenge also showed us how quickly and easily creative people can adapt to new drawing paradigms that integrate aspects of 3-dimensional modeling and animation. But what was most rewarding was seeing the incredible range and absolute beauty of the submissions, and knowing we were helping artists do things they had never been able to do before. Mental Canvas reimagines drawing and brings it into the digital age with an entirely new set of capabilities. I think the Challenge has shown what’s possible when drawing is freed from the limitations of the page.”

Showcase video:

Official hashtag: #reimaginedrawingchallenge

Availability and requirements
Download the Mental Canvas Draw app on Windows Store and App Store.

About Mental Canvas
Mental Canvas, Inc. is a software technology company whose mission is to enhance visual communication by elevating the medium of drawing—its conception, creation, and consumption. From advertisements to conceptual sketches to movie storyboards, people use Mental Canvas to explore ideas, communicate concepts, design products and tell stories. Mental Canvas’ spatial drawings are a rich new interactive media type, which can be consumed across all web-enabled devices. Mental Canvas is backed by EQT Ventures, HearstLab, M12 – Microsoft’s Venture Fund, SVB Financial Group and, in 2018, was the winner of M12’s inaugural, international Female Founders Competition.

Sena McGrand, Aspectus Group for Mental Canvas, [email protected]; Tel: 917-941-4975

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SOURCE Mental Canvas

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