The rule of thirds is a rule used by artists and photographers in relation to composition. How does it work? Divide your paper into thirds as shown and place your subject in the area of the one of the circles indicated below:
This question isn’t particularly easy to answer with a yes or no. Of course you can paint before you can draw. I think the question should be whether or not you want to and not to see drawing and painting as separate activities.
Regardless of if you are drawing or painting you will still be facing similar challenges in creating artwork. Perspective, tone, line, capturing movement, gesture, proportion and composition are all key skills that are going to be challenges in drawing and painting.