I've never found Adobe Illustrator to be very practical or intuitive, in fact, old versions of Freehand and Fireworks were my main means of producing vector illustrations and designs before Flash came along. As simple (glitchy and flawed) as Flash has always been, I've always found it to be easy to learn, manipulate, and be my preferred digital animation tool of choice.
But today I've been playing around with the free trial of the Mischief digital art program, and I must say, I'm impressed. It gave me the same feeling that Sketchbook Pro gave me when I bought my copy of it 6 years ago (for $20)... easy, simple, and fast to learn and use.
Mischief has a similar environment to Painter, with a basic user interface, quite minimal in its menu layout, yet still feels like all the art tools are laid out quite practically. I remember seeing a trailer for this software years ago, but I had literally forgotten all about it till today.
For a mere $65 dollars you get this nice piece of software for sketching and doodling. What's the difference between this and Sketchbook Pro? It's a completely resolution-independant VECTOR based art tool!!! The artwork many are creating is astounding, because they often look like digital paintings made in a bitmap-based program similar to Sketchbook Pro or Painter.
Here's the demo:
Here's where you can download the software (Mac & PC): madewithmischief.com
Probably it's only setback is the fact that it cannot export its native vector art to any other vector-based format besides it's own. This means the only way to extract the artwork is to rasterize the image into a Photoshop or JPG file. I suspect that's part of the secret of Mischief's innovative software with infinite zoom capabilities and smooth-fast drawing interaction.