if you're ever in the LA area, I'll buy you a lunch.
I'll be happy to do the same for you if you're ever in New England.
I was just talking to my friend, and he suggested that maybe the photoshop plugin can save time with stuff like backgrounds. Mountains, forests, all those backdrops. because I will have a hard enough time with all the characters, so that could be a huge time saver.
Not a bad idea. Disney used a similar technique when they did the animation for Snow White using separate layers for background, middle ground, objects, and characters. (They also developed a special camera - dubbed the 'multiplane' camera - that allowed them to move as well as focus on each of the (up to 7!) layers independently. This produced an almost 3-D visual effect - but that's a topic that merits its own discussion!)
I know you're not doing a graphic novel, but there's a really good book I picked up a few weeks ago that has some excellent tutorials that might help with what you're doing. It's called The DC Comics Guide to Digitally Drawing Comics
by Freddie Williams II (ISBN: 978-0-8230-9923-8). This book is very well written, and has concepts that go well beyond just creating comic books.
There's sections on stetting up your digital workflow; creating library objects (buildings, backgrounds, etc.) from photos and sketches; layering techniques; wireframe creation and use; hybrid digital-traditional art approaches, etc. This is one of those rare rock-solid & hardcore 'how-to' books. Minimal theory and philosophizing. But packed with a lot of hands-on specifics. Especially good is the section on using a scanner in conjunction with penciled images. It's geared mostly towards Photoshop, (like what isn't, right?) but you can easily extrapolate his techniques to work with other products.
Well worth looking at next time you're in Borders or Barnes & Nobel. (And at $22.99 list, it's a steal!