So I found a copy of "Programming Role Playing Games with Direct X" at the local library, and after doing some reading it got me to thinking that it might be a blast to try and actually make my own 2-dimensional JRPG, like the old Final Fantasy NES titles (I figure that would be easier than, say, attempting 3-d modelling - if it did come to that, I'd probably just make all the enemies "evil cube", "sinister sphere"...). The problem, though, is that I have very little actual programming experience beyond taking a course on C++ back in highschool, and the few source materials that I have on the topic, like the book mentioned above, mention nothing about sprite animations (the book is meant for people familiar with 3-d modelling, so its a bit out of my league, though still useful in some ways, like when it comes to designing menus), nor how you would even go about doing the artwork for such a game.
So what I'm wondering is, could someone point me in the right direction? Surely there must be some resources out there on the web that could get me started, or barring that maybe there's a book or two on the subject. I'd prefer to do my programming from the ground up, though, mostly because I want to learn how to program and this seems like a good little project to familiarize me with the syntax, so I'm not asking for some "RPG creator" software.