As for digital painting, I think the first step is knowing your tools. First, if you don't have one already, get a nice graphics tablet to draw with. They can seem expensive but the best brand is definitely Wacom——I've had Intuos3 since mid-2007 and it still works like new. Then you want to learn some painting tricks in Photoshop or whatever program you use, stuff like layer masks, how to make your own brushes (I use these brushes almost exclusively), flipping the canvas horizontally to see mistakes, etc. There are a lot of great resources online for digital painting with specific programs.
From there you just start drawing! Do photo studies, anatomy studies, try different styles, mess around with color...just experiment with anything and everything until you find a lot of stuff that sticks and that you enjoy. From there it's gravy