First step in learning Illustrator

I started to learn Illustrator with a tutorial.

I was able to create a custom brush and draw something using that. However, it takes a lot of time to do even a small task.

The problem I find with learning Illustrator is, you can achieve the same effect form different approaches. For  example, I have seen tutorials where the drawing is done with Pen tools and without pen tools. Should I use Paint brush? Which one should I select?

Then the other problem is, when you choose a tutorial, you go through step by step and after each step when you compare your art with the Copy in the tutorial, it wouldn’t look the same awesome. And it makes me less motivated to continue. If you take a programming tutorial, you will always get it 100% correct after each step.

Third, even if you get the pencil drawing correct, you can ink with flat color, copying color from the source. But, when it come to applying 3D effects like Lighting and shading, it becomes another pain. And the layers has to be multiply, screen, etc etc modes and I don’t get them why they should be that way.

So, In the next attempt, I have decided not to copy the same image as it is in the tutorial but to come up with something new from my imagination. I’ll use the technique explained in the tutorial for the inking.

Will update how it  goes in the next attempt.