First off, welcomne to the Guild, The Mappiest Place on the Web
Secondly, your research has not led you wrong. We here at the Guild pride ourselves on being able to teach the joys of mapping to ANYONE with the interest and willing to put in the effort. A great starting point is to look here for a Quickstart Guide to Mapping. This will give you the basics. The next couple of forums to check out is the Finished Maps and Cartographers Choice forums, found lower down on the main page. These will give you plenty of maps to look through and find styles that you like. Most of the threads in these forums will have links to the WIP (Work In Progress) threads where the artists talk about what and how they did things, along with some mentioning the software used. Sometimes they tell what tutorials they used to learn the various techniques used to create the map.
Thirdly, if you have no idea about what software to use, we have a Software forum which lists (with brief discriptions of how they are used) the various programs which are used within the Guild. Well worth the browze through.
Finally, and I cannot stress this point enough, MAP! You can't learn mapping without putting "pen to Paper", even if it is done digitally. Once you start on a project, post your efforts in the above mentioned WIP forums, and we will be quite happy to help you get the map to where you want it o be. Remember that this is a journey of learning, but one well worth the trip. If you get lost we will always be here to to help you back into known teritory.
Enjoy the stay and don't be shy