Hello Wendy. I've been using Craft Artist Professional for a couple of years, I've used it's predecessors' before that.
I learned to scrap using a desktop publisher by the same company (Serif), and then when they crated Digital Scrapbook Artist I switched to that as it had more specialised features than the desktop publisher. A few years ago they added extra stuff and renamed it Craft Artist (I personally don't think the rename was a smart move, but that's not my decision).
What's it's like? It's really really quick and easy to use and learn. My eldest started out with DSA and has now been upgraded to Craft Artist. She's been digital scrapbooking solo since she was 4 1/2, before she could even read, it's that easy to use.
There is a free downloadable cut down version called Craft Artist Compact. It is well able to do all the basics. The masking, blending, stencils, advanced shadows, and fancy scissor/punch cutting tools etc are disabled in it and you'd need the full (Professional) version for that.
Being a bespoke scrapbooking/crafters software package it has everything you need to do available in a mouse click and is much more suited to scrapbooking quickly than something like Photoshop, and a small fraction of the price. I don't know how it compares with the other scrapping packages around as I haven't tried them. I do know it has more features than My Memories Suite does, as I was doing something with a user of that and she couldn't even do some of the basics that can be done in Craft Artist Compact in My Memories.
I can achieve the same results as all my PS CS using friends can get so I think Craft Artist Professional is fully featured as well as simple to use.
Serif have just created an upgrade (Craft Artist Professional 2) that has more features in it designed to help paper crafters produce printables for their projects easier, one of the new features does automatic 3D decoupage assembly stuff. I haven't upgraded yet.
Blessings from Angela