First things first: I'm new here so greetings to all you cartographers!

I'm not really into cartography as a hobby in itself - I'm more of a worldbuilder myself. My artistic abilities are limited to making simple heraldic banners in GIMP or drawing stick figures in paint. But since maps are an integral part of the worldbuilding experience, I dabble in cartography from time to time. And time and time again, I have failed to produce a satisfying map. I used to use Campaign Cartographer but I don't really like the program that much anymore.

I don't know if this is the right forum to post this, but I'm looking for pointers and tutorials. Especially tutorials for GIMP. I've almost given up on the software - there's no tutorials out there! The one that looked most promising was removed and would be posted on another site - alas the link gives me a 404. Bugger.

I could also make the switch to photoshop, but I'm a little worried about that. It's a great software and there are plenty of tutorials out there, but it puts a strain on your computer and (or so I've heard) likes to freeze more than once in a while.

So does anyone know of any good GIMP tutorials (I've checked the list here but I haven't really found my cup of tea yet) and what do you think about photoshop mapping?

To give you an idea of what I'm looking to create: a more or less tolkien-esque map like the one's made by European and Arabian cartographers (such as Piri Reis) in the renaissance. The scope would be fairly large (not an entire world but a continent with lots of kingdoms, empires and other landmarks). More general pointers and tips for beginners are welcome too!

Thank you!