I think mostly it important to at least draw. I mean yo should not only draw traditionally, but also get the hang of traditional tools. Mostly you just need to start small, and if you just buy a bamboo tablet and a cheap software, like Paint tool sai, gimp (which is alos free), you can do fine in digital.
But traditional is also without excuse. Feng zhu the concept artist, he has a video about traditional mediums, where he just has a series on practicing his lines a whole page. ITs very important to have a sketch book, because its cheaper and portable to get your ideas out, then for a computer to zap your batteries out. Or take ctrl+paint. There is a section ctrl+paint unplugged, which mean he is showing you need the fundimentals to do stuff.
Pretty much its all about having information in your head, being to see and really observe alot. Observation is not an imediate thing for most people, and for the most people, we just make up for it, by working alot and doing alot of art work. Experimenting like scientist and seeing which results we like along the way.
If you think about though, art in any part, whether its pastel, oils or digital, they all will help out each other, but traditionally can help understand digitall. Like the smudge tool is like using a tortellion, or underapaintings is like every concept artist who does a grey scale or monochromtic color then they glaze using layer filters over the painting. So its good to learn traditional not only because it teaches foundations which It should, but because it helps to learn. Traditional was before digital, and so the rules are about the same result in the end such as: composition, the mood, the colors, the value, the poses, telling a story with a static image, etc.
I think a good place to start is to take a pencil and do a line drawing from observation. Make sure that you measure angles, double check proportions and most of all keep at it. As for suggest reading materials this book is the only one I can recommend for complete beginners, drawing on the right side of the brain.
The journey of a thousand miles begins with but a single step.
What I would do is start with traditional drawing. That way you can get a hang of your style. Start with pencils (take a look in the arts and crafts section of your local....*URG* Walmart to find sketching pencils.) The pencils have different led weights like HB, 4H and 8B. So you can sketch with a low height pencil like 4H, and then when you want to finalize the lines, you can use heavier pencils to make it easier. Also helps with backgrounds and effects.
Books are also a great way to start. Take it from me. Never took a formal class. Books and deviantart are how I learned. Also obverse art that is similar to your style. Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. The great part about art is that there is no real "wrong" or "right" way to draw: To each their own!
Once you are familiar, THEN go snag a tablet. And name your tablet. I named mine Sketchy. If you love it, it will love you. Getting back on track, tablets to me feel like natural extensions of your hand and pencil. Only the pencil is like a hundred digital art tools in one. My Wacom Bamboo cost about 80 dollars from Fry's Electronics, so it not exactly cheap but worth every penny.
However, I am me and you are you, and since I am not you and you are not me...*grabs Olmec mask* The choices are yours and yours alone!</b>