(or almost free)
For free or nearly free 3D software go back here:
The Gimp, as you can see from the screen shots below, is a full-featured FREE 2D image editing and painting program.
Click on any images to go to The Gimp, then proceed to the Manuals and Download pages.
Click on the image to go to Project Dogwaffle, a family of digital painting programs, from free to over $100.
Click on the birdie to go to the 'best 3D' website for an array of inexpensive 2D and 3D programs.
ONE MORE THING...
Zoo publishing, now 3D Total, started a downloadable 2D magazine about a year ago.
You will find features about and by experts to share their skills and inspire you.
To download a free, low res version of this, click on the image.
The full hi-res version mag is just $4.50, and for that small sum well worth a look, IMO.