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Don't know which toy you are using, but I have found Ultrafractal to be the most artistic in the long run. Most of us go through the same stages of learning:
Have a good time with your new toy!!
- make interesting designs by accident
- make interesting designs by accident and then see what they resemble
- make interesting designs with some purpose and knowledge
- start layering the designs to make more interesting ones
- decide to get serious and take some lessons. The ones from Janet Parke at VAA are the best. They will teach you the basics of the fractal program, how to work purposefully, and how to use the layers. She goes on from there.
- if you're interested, you should subscribe to the Ultrafractal mailing list where you will gain a great deal of insight just by watching what other do. They're good people who will answer your questions as well.