In order to be fully fluent and be able to understand Mandarin Chinese, you really need to learn the Chinese characters. There are many people who say that you do not really need that and to learn Chinese only by pinyin is fine. OK, I must aggree and disaggree in the same time.
While you can learn to communicate only when you know pinyin (actually kids at school in China start that way), there will be time where a certain word have the same pinyin pronunciation, but means something else. When you know the characters for each word you learn, you will be able to show the charater in case people would misunderstand you.
Also in China, many signs are in Chinese characters, so you really need to know the meaning, otherwise you might get lost or get into some troubles. If you would like to read books, magazines and newspapers, you will definitelly need to know how to read.
I am not saying you need to be able to write them. If you want, its ok, but you should be fine with knowing them passively. Mening when you see the character you can recognize it or when you press pinyin alphabet on your phone or PC, you must be able to recognize the character which you want to write.
So, on this pages I will share with you some videos or articles that will teach you to recognize these characters and to improve your overall knowledge of Chinese language.