GIMP : Best free software for graphics editing and creation. In our opinion the best software period. The user’s imagination is basically the limit of what this can do for visual presentation. The initial learning curve is helped by the many tutorials available online.
InkScape: Our vote for best free software where custom text and shapes are needed. The learning curve is steep and this program doesn’t even try to be user friendly, but the results once you are past that are impressive.
Paint (windows xp): This can be downloaded from various sites for free. The newer versions (vista, w7,w8) require extra mouse clicks to do what was automatic or default in the older version. When building graphics that can add up to hundreds of extra “clicks” in a very short time and the advanced features of the newer versions are not needed in conjunction with GIMP and InkScape.
Once these three programs are loaded into your graphics toolbox there really is not much one can do. Even for users looking to upgrade to industry standard software using these first will certainly help in deciding what works best for you.
All graphics editing done for The West Report whether background or post inserts are with the above programs.