I have some artfriends that are challenging each other into trying new mediums, new techniques and things like that in order to grow and learn more in the artfield. Lately I have been encouraged and inspired by them to try the digital media.
At first it was awkward using the tablet and mildly frustrating not to know the way around the software but it was well worth the effort since the rewards are great! I believe the digital media can speed up learning in the artfield provided you have the basics of drawing and painting in place.
There is a lot of sources of information on this subject but I found I have found great help from Daarken at his site http://enliighten.com/
I thought I was going out of the comfortzone but I feel right at home. Try it, it has a lot going for itself!