Simple 2D graphics engine

Hello all,
I'm fairly new to C++ but have experience in other languages like JavaScript, BlitzBasic, and HTML.
I have an idea for an operating system I want to make, but I'm not ready for the steep learning curve and the 10K+ hours of work that come with assembly language, so for now I decided to write a proof of concept in C++. The OS will have a GUI, so does anyone know of a fast and simple 2D graphics engine? (with or without 3D capabilities) Or should I write my own? (I don't know how to do that, so any tutorials or documentation you could point me to would be appreciated.) Or is a proof of concept not a good idea? (and what should I do instead?)

-For the glory of God
without commenting on your goal of creating an operating system, try learning SDL. That gives you lowish level access to screen operations.
I think most simple graphics engines require an OS to run ^^

EDIT: Sorry, I reread your post - looks like you were probably aware of this...
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SDL was good suggestion by NeuroFuzzy, but SFML would be good choice, too. I´ve heard various recommendations concerning it, so why wouldn´t you check it out? It also has nice object-oriented design as a "bonus", which especially I like - makes programming easier:
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2D graphic game engine !! i think the clanlib the best of them
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