-Derry in CT
The best place to start is drawing. Drawing, drawing and more drawing. That may not be the place you want to start - that's okay, jump in wherever you like. At some point though, you will have to go back to drawing. It is the foundation on which you will build your skills. Why not make it a strong one?
Here's the good news Derry:
1) Most everyone can learn to draw. If you have average eyesight and average eye-hand coordination, you can learn to draw. It's a skill you learn like any other - no different than learning to play tennis or guitar. You just need the right information and practice.
2) It will cost very little to start. For the price of a pencil, an eraser and some paper, you can begin.
At this point, the best recommendation I can give you is to get a copy of Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards. This book has been in print for years (any edition will work). You can find it in any book store for under $20. It's worth buying a copy if you are able. If not, check it out of your local library. This book is so well known I'd be very surprised to find a public library that didn't own a copy.
The premise of Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain is that learning to draw has very little to do with training the hand and everything to do with training the eye. The drawing exercises in this book will help you see what Edwards refers to as "the raw data of vision that hits the retina." To see purely without preconceptions, expectations or editing.
The necessary quality to begin is discipline. Discipline to practice of course, but more important the discipline to stay with it even when you don't like your results. The more you do the better you will be - that's a guarantee. I also guarantee that if you work your way through this book, doing every exercise as laid out, you will know how to draw. You will have the key to drawing which is seeing. Once you have that you can learn different materials and approaches with confidence.
Thank you for your important question.
All the best,