I created a new banner for my blog. That's my character George on the right. He stars in a comic strip I draw for DBR Media. And it's called, George.
Anyhow, I used the Gimp to create the banner. Just ike PhotoShop, I used layers in Gimp to create each element and then combined them all into a single image.
The most bottom layer was the crimson background. New layers were created for white text. I also resized the text in each layer to fill the area a bit. I then did the drawing of George at the computer. I scanned this in using Xsane and then added color using Gimp.
I pasted this "George" layer on top of the crimson background. I then created a new layer behind George. Using Gimp's brush menu, I created a brush with a soft edge. I then painted in white on this new layer, highlighting behind and around the character so the black outline would stand out a bit on the crimson background. I then dialed down the opacity of this "highlight" layer so it would soften and blend in a bit. I cropped, resized and saved as a Jpeg.
All of this was done in Gimp running Linux.
So, do you still want to buy that $600.00 copy of PhotoShop?