case that's your question: a vector is basically a 'line', defined by end points; it may be curved, consisting of curve points and curve grades, as well as shades wich are defined by grades.
Letters now are usually formed by outlines (some are bitmaps, though). outlines can be converted to vectors (the font loses some of its information then), and then transformed. (most special effects, like 3-d etc., are made by vectors, too.)
pencilpaper: i think it depends on why you have little to no talent in using them. if you don't have an eye, then a computer won't help much. if your hand is unskilled, well, that can be trained, and it helps a great deal, i think. it is a very different, a very immediate and sensual approach. after all, pen and paper are the fastest and most flexible editor, at least at some things.
but i too am only guessing. i have been trained as draftsman and painter since i was 13 years old, when computers where still roomfilling machines with litte green-black screens. anyway, if you decide not to be afraid of paper and pen, you can ask me for some hints (wich certainly can never replace a teacher, a studio, patience...).