I bought a book "Digital Painting Fundamentals with Corel Painter X" by Rhoda Grossman. It looked like a good buy because IMO it had lessons in it that I was looking for (i.e. showing me how to start from scratch. Not just painting over or onto a photo. When I went to Barnes & Nobel to thumb through some books I kept seeing photo manipulation or painting that looked a bit too cartoony. And whenever I'd find somewhere online somebody flat out asking another for help in getting started many times I'd see an answer "just play around with the brushes and see what works for you."
To me that's kind of a lame answer. Maybe it's more of a "Hey, I put in the hardship and effort to learn it, so should you." "Nobody gave me any handouts." Eh, I guess that has it's merits I mean no one wants some lazy-ass getting praise and credit for doing something they didn't have sense to figure out for themselves. I've had someone ask me questions about Adobe Illustrator "Hey can you do this in Illustrator?" and I'll answer "No, not to my knowledge." and they just stare at me... "But you should be able to do that right?" And I'm thinking dude, I don't write the freaking program I use it just like you.