How do I make (vector) drawings?

I want to make a cool pattern with plants and leaves, it should look something like pic 1 (just one color). Do you think I would have to draw it myself (I’d be using Freehand I guess) or is there maybe an easier way around it (maybe some kind of PS filter)? I already tried to trace a BMP in Flash but the borders don’t come out smooth. Also I’m not really good at drawing and how would I get done the details of a leave anyways (see pic 2)?

Also is there a way how to cut out objects from the background without having to trace it with the lasso or mask modus in PS? Heard somewhere that one can just make the background of an image transparent if its a gif?