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SVA Announces Inaugural Sketchboard Pro Scholarship

SVA Sketchboard
MFA Visual Narrative class at SVA (Inset: Sketchboard Pro)


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SVA Announces Inaugural Sketchboard Pro Scholarship

New York’s School of Visual Arts (SVA) and the Visual Arts Foundation announced today that the College has partnered with Braintreehouse, creators of the award-winning design tool Sketchboard Pro, for a new scholarship for students in the MFA Visual Narrative program.

Awarded to two students annually in support of their thesis projects, the scholarship provides each recipient $2,500, an iPad Pro and the Sketchboard Pro artist bundle, which includes a Sketchboard Pro for iPad, Sketchboard Pro travel bag and sticker pack, and Braintreehouse’s original Essential Procreate Brushpack, plus advisory expertise from designated Sketchboard Pro artists.

Additionally, all MFA Visual Narrative students will be eligible for an annual discount accessible up to one year after graduation.

Sketchboard Pro artist bundle

Sketchboard Pro artist bundle

Created in 2019 by illustration studio Braintreehouse, the Sketchboard Pro iPad holder has quickly become a must-have tool for artists. Designed for and by artists and featuring strong legs that easily fold out to create a comfortable 20-degree angled drawing surface or a tabletop easel, a form-fitted cradle and a charging port for your device, the ergonomically designed stand allows users to bring the drawing desk experience virtually anywhere.

The company also partners with climate collective Ecologi, which plants a tree for every Sketchboard Pro sold.

Sketchboard Pro Scholarship applicants were asked to provide an essay detailing how they will use the technology and financial award for the creative and production process of their thesis project; 10 samples of their best work to demonstrate the strength and merit of their creative and professional pursuits; and a formal presentation of their thesis project story and concept, including visuals. Two MFA Visual Narrative program alumni were included in the submission review panel.

For upcoming years, the application deadline will be in October with the final award decision announced in November and awarded in December ahead of their final semester.

Laura Brown

Laura Brown and her drawings of Stone Arch Bridge and Woodstock (from

The first two scholarship recipients, Laura Brown ( and Oret Peña (, are both second-year MFA Visual Narrative students. Brown’s novel project, Fallen, uses a base of scanned pencil drawings to tell a story of friendship, desire and loss, touching on the self-help paradox. Peña’s project, currently titled Magical Girl Leila, brings Latino lead characters and representation to American comics, inspired by her love for cartoons, anime and classic magical-girl manga heroes such as Sailor Moon, Tokyo MewMew and Madoka Magica.

“It began as a cute pun when we would tell people that our mission with Sketchboard Pro is to support artists,” said JJ Harrison, Co-Founder of Braintreehouse. “As artists ourselves, we understand the grave importance of raising awareness, appreciation and value of the arts with the hope that each new generation of artists has it better than the last. We are incredibly grateful that the success of Sketchboard Pro is allowing us to make good on our mission and sponsor scholarships for such talented young artists as Oret and Laura. We couldn’t have asked for a better partner in this endeavor than the School of Visual Arts and we look forward to broadening our relationship with education.”

Oret Pena

Oret Peña and her “Fruit Girl” illustrations (from

Introduced in 2013, MFA Visual Narrative is a flexible, low-residency program designed for working professionals and students of visual storytelling alike. Three onsite summer sessions are connected by two years of online study during the fall and spring semesters. Through creative writing and visual development, graduates are empowered to become the next generation of original content creators. Alumni have moved into careers in creative direction, animation, comics, game development, film, toy design, information and motion design, education and many other disciplines. Recent graduates have worked for such organizations as Apple, Fisher Price, Penguin Books, Disney+, Chase, Deloitte Digital, Nickelodeon, MTV2, Exploding Kittens, Major League Baseball, Nike, Google, The Boston Globe and the White House. Founding program chair Nathan Fox and artist, printmaker and faculty member Panayiotis Terzis also created the SVA RisoLAB, the only dedicated educational Risograph printing facility of its kind.

Founded in 1968, the Visual Arts Foundation provides scholarships for deserving students to study at the School of Visual Arts; supports exhibitions, conferences, and competitions and promotes the study and improvement of the arts; encourages cooperation and exchange among artists, designers, students, publishers and others engaged in artistic activities; receives gifts, legacies and donations; and offers awards, appropriations and scholarships from these resources. |



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