Although this was been asked and answered before, I still do not understand the process. I am a complete novice- this is my first day using Blender for 2D animation. I don't know how to upload my own images to materials/textures or how to add a plane. I am struggling to find a straight forward answer here, and I've been looking for about an hour now. Please let me know what is the best way to upload my own image as a background AND texture for 2d animation.
The process is relatively straight forward, but can be made easier by enabling a built in add-on for blender called "Images as planes". Go to User Preferences > Addons and search in the box for images - only one result should pop up -"Import/Export: Import Images as Planes". Check the box and exit user preferences.
Hover your mouse over the viewport you are using and press Shift + A. Select image and then image as plane. A box will pop up letting you select you photo from your PC. Pick the image you want. If instead, you are looking to use a background image, pick "Background", the rest is the same.
Lastly, to see the image, select one of the rendered mode tabs - either Material Preview or Rendered Preview.
This is the 3D viewport in the 2D animation tab. To add an image you have to be in object mode. But what happens when you press shift+a, are you saying nothing happens? If so, have you changed any of your shortcuts/hotkeys? You can also access it from the menu at the top. See image: