Excerpt from email I sent to someone looking for artist freeware on Newgrounds. I thought it might even help some folks on here who may be interested in trying out digital art:
As for freeware art programs, you could try Artrage 2.5.2; the free
version has a few things unavailable but it is pretty usable overall.
You can download it from download.com, where it has reviews and ratings
from people who have downloaded it before. There are also lists there
of similar programs and prices where applicable.
The full version costs $25, and might be worth it if you end up using
it a lot. The Artrage program simulates real paint, markers, crayons,
pencils, chalks, etc and has a layers feature. It works on Windows
Another one is Artweaver, which I can't say I've tried, but I have
looked it up and it seems pretty similar. Smoothdraw NX3 has no
limitations, though it is an older version, and works on Windows
98/Me/2000/XP. You could also search out Smoothdraw 3.1.2 (newest
version, I think), but the free download has the saving feature
disabled - so if you are only creating images for web, you could be
cheeky and just capture finished images via screenshots.
There are, of course, things like MS Paint *shudders* and GIMP. You could also try the trial versions of Adobe programs such as Photoshop, Illustrator and more which can be found on their official site at adobe.com/downloads - the programs are quite expensive to buy, so if you don't want to get attached to something you can't afford right now, it might be best to avoid the trials. They are quite good if you need it here and now and want to see what the latest version is like though.
Just pretend I didn't say anything about using screenshots to get past the saving-disabled feature on the limited version of Smoothdraw 3.1.2... Thanks. >_>