Firstly, I am a bit hesitant to post this information because I am still very much an amateur in the field of illustration. Like many here, I did not receive any formal art training and often felt very insecure about pursuing a career in art. It has been a rocky journey for me as well but one that I never regret making. In fact, communities like this forum encourage me to continually learn and share with so many like minded people who share so many of the same struggles and ardent love of art. That is why I hope that this small post can help someone in some tangible way.
I have spent about a year learning Blender during my free time and I have to say that it was well worth the investment. Between juggling marriage, 3 kids, ankylosing spondylitis, and work, it was definitely not a cake walk. However, I would highly recommend it simply because I think that it can help artists/story tellers map out so many possible scenarios in a tangible way. Especially with the addition of Grease Pencil which allows you to draw directly in Blender (and onto your models!) , you can sketch out compositions natively in the program as you would in Photoshop, move around the camera, lighting scenarios, textures, play with an infinite number of variables etc.
Here are a few screen shots of the illustration that I worked on for last month's challenge translated into 3d.
If this was helpful, just let me know and I can try to post some of the free resources I have used to help me become acclimated with Blender. All of these resources, including Blender, are free.