[quote:3i8wgt20]Curious how many people use, say Blender, to draw 3D characters and animate them. Then, use tools to render animation frames to 2D sprite sheets. Blender lets you control camera angle making it easy to produce different perspective based 2d art.
Drawing the art is likely just as if not more time consuming but once its done in Blender you can change the sprite sheets a lot easier then redrawing 2d sprite sheets.
Also, I like Inkscape.
I use a program called DAZ Studio(Free) for just that purpose. Much easier than trying to copy a wooden doll to get those postures. Its a good technique for complex animations
Also note that the title is art programs for beginners. I learned digital art using Paint.NET and can attest to its versatility. The nice thing about it as opposed to GIMP is that the GUI, (Personally) is more clean and utilitarian. Once you get to the point that you are playing with the image altering settings you will find that Paint.NET will have a large selections of plug-in's for you to play with.
One thing you may find is that drawing with the mouse leaves a lot to be desired. I use a Bamboo Drawing tablet that you can pick up for 60USD for a middle of the road one and it allows you to sketch more naturally.
A lot of people are suggesting vector image software such as IncScape and Illustrator(you can find CS2 Free form Adobe) but I dont think that they are good beginner drawing software. When I first started a few years back I tried vector graphics but had a hard time getting the how to to click. With IncScape which I use extensively now after a few years of experience. you do not sketch, which was the part that bothered me. You dont even really draw as you are just setting up vertacies and vectors to create shapes and using the program to make the basics do various things. But you of course are welcome to try and you may find it easier than I did.
Depending on your style your pipe line will use many programs. I use a hybrid of 2d and 3d products in my art and once you pick up the basics those will most of the time carry to smiler products. Except for Blender I have not tried it in three years but with a GUI that was difficult to work and a hot key / general controls hard to memorize. I would stay far far away.