Welcome to the Guild GameCartographer. Wow, you've only just begun and already you are the cartographer huh? Well a couple of free programs that you should start with are GIMP and Inkscape. I'd also spend some time reading through some of the tutorials for these programs in the tutorials sub-forum. Once you begin on a project, post up a work-in-progress pic and ask for feedback. You'll pick up some tips and tricks that way.