We were initially unsure what PaintBerri's unique selling point was. The online paint app features free in-browser painting, a competent full painter mode that includes pen pressure (apart from when using Chrome), layers, hotkeys and many other professional-quality digital painting tools, together with a lite painter version compatible with older computers and mobile devices. Yet numerous art apps, available for both desktop and mobile devices, offer a more impressive toolset.
Furthermore, there are a number of online forums you can upload work to and comment on other people's art, and sites with more powerful tools for building a design portfolio. Then the penny dropped: the appeal of PaintBerri is that it's a safe place for young artists to hang out and socialise.
Although there are many places to show off your artwork, a lot of them include established professional artists with awe-inspiring skills and a large number of followers willing to praise their idols at every turn. This makes it harder for inexperienced artists to draw attention from these digital celebrities. Furthermore, it can be quite intimidating to display your art alongside somebody who's been doing this for years.
Because of the limited tools and only two layers, more experienced artists will stay away from the app. This levels out the playing field, keeping heavy hitters away and meaning everybody else has more visibility and feels safer to share their work publicly without risk of unfair comparison. PaintBerri also features a cap on posts per day, to prevent artists from flooding the forums with their art, giving everyone a fair chance to be seen.
Free membership to PaintBerri gives you access to in-browser painting tools, unlimited storage, auto-backup and unlimited comments, while a Premium Membership also grants you eight group slots, adjustable height comments, 600 characters per text comment, eight publishes per day and no advertisements.
With a lot of role-playing groups and fan art-based content on the site, PaintBerri certainly caters towards a younger user-base and will most likely leave many older art hobbyists mildly nonplussed and perhaps even underwhelmed with the social features.
The best we can say about PaintBerri is that it's a haven for young, neophyte artists, looking to make friends and learn new techniques in an encouraging environment without worrying about being judged or critiqued too harshly.