I have been asked many times what program I use. Right now I mainly use PhotoImpact Pro to edit my designs, but I recently received Photoshop as a gift from an amazing person, so I have been playing around with that when I can. For those of you who do not want to splurge quite yet on a program, or just want to do a few designs on thier own, here are a few free programs that you can download and use to edit your photos, or make new designs.
Gimpshop - This program is said to be very similar to Photoshop and can do some great things with photos if you are willing to learn how.
Gimp - Gimpshop and Gimp are pretty much the same. The only noticible difference (to me) is the layout.
I downloaded inkscape a while ago and used it a few times. It does take some getting used to, but it does so many things. You can draw shapes, draw freehand, manipulate photos and more. Many prefer Gimp, but this one is probably my favorite one of all the freebies available.
Now, another question I get asked a lot is; Where do I find all of my clilp art? Well, Google is a great way to find clip art galore. When looking for clip art try to stay clear of designs already made or fan art. Those are someone else's hard work and inspiration, so use your own when creating images. There are many, many times that I just cannot find what I need. This is when I make sure no one needs me at home, I get my coffee and I sit down for an hour of art time. I draw a lot of things, but mostly my Mickey heads from scratch. You might notice that not all of my Mickey heads are the same. Sometimes the ears are smaller or higher up than others. If I add a hat or tiara, I'll tweak the ears to fit just right. If an itinerary map doesn't fit, I'll make it fit and so on. Of course I love a good challenge, but I can't do everything and I learn new things every day. I am in no way a professional and don't even compare to some of the amazing artists out there, but I do enjoy my little hobby so much.
Go ahead give it a try. If you want to design for fun, just do it. There is no limit to your imagination...