Well gee, I’m happy you thought of me
As for modeling programs, my go-to program is Maya. I find it the most user friendly in general (menus make sense, yay), and I feel that it has the cleanest workflow overall. It does cost money though, but there’s a free 30 day trial, and there’s also a free student version (but it is only for non-commercial use). The thing about Maya though is that it can do so many different things, so it might be a bit overwhelming. But if you focus only on the modeling and texturing parts of the program I think it’s manageable.
I’ve also worked with 3DS max, which is in many ways the same, but with a different way to go about things. Less user friendly than Maya if you ask me though. And this also costs money, but also has free trial and so on.
Blender is a good alternative if you’re looking for something free, but personally I’m not loving the workflow of the program. It is very shortcut heavy, and some shortcuts will not make a lot of sense if you’re coming from other programs, but if you get used to it, it’s a very solid program, especially considering that it’s free.
There are also scuplting programs like Zbrush and Mudbox which can be great for creating characters or just adding details, but I’m not sure what kind of style you’re aiming for with your characters, and if you’re just starting out, sculpting programs might be overkill at the moment.
Anyways, I’ve rambled for quite a bit now about all sorts of programs. Hope some of it is useful