I'm fascinated by and with this artform! I use a program called GIMP, GIMP is the GNU Image Manipulation Program that works very similarly to Photo Shop. (As matter of fact, if you have PhotoShop and want a newer program, your PS brushes will work just fine in GIMP.)
Now, don't ask me what GNU means, I might be able to muddle through the program, but some things I just can't figure out. AND some things are better left alone, according to my brain. So, I went to Wikipedia and copied the definition of GIMP for you...
"GIMP (the GNU Image Manipulation Program) is a free software, raster grapics editor. It is primarily employed as an image retouching and editing tool. In addition to offering freeform drawing, GIMP can accomplish essential image workflow steps such as resizing, editing, and cropping photos, combining multiple images, and converting between different image formats. A raster graphics editor is a computer program that allows users to paint and edit pictures interactively on the computer screen and save them in formats such as JPEG, PNG, GIF and TIFF." sheesh I hardly understand all of this myself. I didn't find a usable definition of GNU that a layperson would understand...sorry if you are offended by this, but I didn't understand it.
The brushes are just images that will speed up your ability to create crisp new artwork. It can also allow you to put insert things into your art that you might not have the ability to draw. That's the cool part. Now for the great part of GIMP...Guess what? It's free! (I'll wait for you to catch your breath) Ready? Ok, so you know, PhotoShop is VERY expensive, I have seen it selling for 169.00 or more on some sites, geeez Louise can you afford that?? I know I can't. In these trying economic times, I can hardly afford anything, especially since I am unable to work. Well anyway, I have been using this program for about two years now, and am just now figuring out all of the things it can do. Now for the not-so-great part, GIMP, like any other photo manipulation program and art program can be a bit cumbersome if you're new to the digital world. However, I have taught myself everything I know about this program, and I am a "boomer".
And now, the ugly part, well not ugly about GIMP but ugly about digital art vs. painting with a real brush on canvas/paper...the art community...it's really not accepted in the "art community", as real art. For this reason hesitate telling people that some of my pieces of art are created digitally (how long did it take for photographers to be taken seriously as artists?) Some artists prefer to utilize the computer to create their art, others prefer to use wax, and others still prefer to use pastels,chalks, acrylic paint or mediums that I certainly haven't tried. Understand that I have had my own reservations about digital art in the past, especially when I found out about the brushes that can be downloaded. But you know, creating digitally is not as easy as you may think.
"Adobe and Trowel" digital painting using no downloaded brushes, by me.
The "FREE" brushes can be found on http://deviantart.com There are a number of people who take the time to make these brushes and offer them to others to use. If you go to deviantart, type in the search bar, "free gimp brushes" and you'll find MANY pages offering them to you. There are a number of other sites you can download the brushes from, but I have found deviantart to be reliable and have no hidden viruses, etc.
So my suggestion to you is this, go to GIMP.org, download the free software, go to deviantart.com and download some brushes and see what you can come up with. Maybe it will change your mind about digital art like it did mine.
To see more of my work, please go to vanfleetstreetdesign.etsy.com
Until next time...