I used to use Xara products 10 years ago, and they were great and fast, but since I no longer do web design, just hosting I'm not sure if those products kept up.
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Well i know gimp is the go to , but even though it was designed for a different purpose adobe illustrator is quite handy for use of editing , of course it doesn't give you the more complex functions of graphics like layer masks but im thinking maybe you dont need that, oterwise gimp , but gimp to me ist that user friendly and Photoshop has massive online support
If you are a beginner, instead of starting with other application, just start watching some online tutorials about photoshop. It gives a big advantage than the others like GIMP. The new version (CC 2018) gives you new instruments, so just start learning how to use it, instead of searching for some new or simple application.