> Is this (drawing many geometrical figures) the only way to
> create 3D graphics or is there some better way?
You don't draw sprites with tons of little drawing instructions, do you?
Usually you just load an image and draw that whole thing on the screen. In 3D it's (as Kevin already pointed out) similar: you load your model(s) and/or map [together with their assoziated images] and just draw 'em on the screen.
Of corse you need to use a different api this time. The easier route would be Xith3D together with one of the loaders.
If you want to try creating models by yourself you can try some of the various (free) modeling packages:www.anim8or.comwww.wings3d.comwww.openfx.org
IMO anim8or is the easiest at the beginning.
For UV-Mapping you can use the build-in uvmapping capabilities of those packages (wings recommended) or you can use an external uvmapping programm:www.uvmapper.com
(classic version free - pro ~50$)
And *phew* for texturing you'll need a paint programm. If you don't already have something like photoshop try that one (free):www.gimp.org
For specific modelling/uvmapping/texturing(skinning) quesions:www.cgtalk.com