Hey. I’m in a very similar situation to you in that I’m also very new to this, and because I’m just starting out I decided to do everything relatively cheaply until I improve. Here’s a quick rundown of the setup that works for me.
I picked up a super cheap (but really effective) lightpad for sketching out your animation. I highly recommend the Minisun Lightpad, Ive only got an A4 version just now but i’d get the A3 size in a heartbeat.
I’ve taped down a small pegbar to hold my paper.
Once I’ve sketched out my frames, I’ll quickly take snapshots of each image with my document camera - I managed to get hold of one of these for around £60, and it’s a life saver. It’s USB so you plug it into your machine and just click away. It’ll number your files in a designated folder on your computer. It takes no time at all.
From here you can just import your image sequence into Flash, After Effects or if you don’t have those, you could try software such as Gimp or Pencil. - http://www.pencil-animation.org/
Using this software you can export your image sequence as an animated gif or video.
I hope this helps!