Art has never been an easy scene to break into, and becoming a comic book artist might be one of the most competitive fields in the field. Of course, some determined and talented artists make their way through the industry and become a defining voice of it, even after the fact.

The history of comics cannot be discussed without acknowledging the usual erasure of any contribution black artists have made to it. Some of these artists helped build and produce modern comics when this field was in its infancy. Perhaps the best known is Matt Baker, often considered the first black comic book artist. Baker started as an artist working on titles like sheena queen of the jungle, ghost ladyand Vaudah. This job led him to freelance with Atlas Comics, which would eventually become Marvel Comics. Traces of Baker’s style can still be seen in modern comics. His depiction of glamorous and strong women with extravagant costumes certainly still has echoes in modern works.

Black artists like Matt Baker, Elmer C. Stoner, and Orrin C. Evans may not be as well-known as Jack Kirby, Frank Miller, and John Byrne, but they shaped comic book history from the start, and they are only a few whose work was rarely awarded.

The industry has changed a bit though. It’s still competitive, but there’s room for those who will take it in an interesting new direction in the same way artists like Matt Baker did. If you want to follow in Baker’s footsteps, consider starting with the Learn to Draw Comic Characters Pack. This 33-hour guide provides instructions on drawing, how to start selling art online, and more for just $20.

Learn to draw comics with a self-study course

Julia M. Cameron via Pexels

Drawing isn’t always easy, but if you put in the work and stick with it, it can become a great skill you possess. Working in tandem with the often temperamental creative process itself, all four courses in this online course are available for life, meaning you can move at the pace that suits you. Just because massively influential comic book artist Brian Stelfreeze paid for college with his denim jacket art, doesn’t mean you have to progress so quickly to succeed.

This pack gets you started with the basics. In the How to Improve Your Figure Drawing step-by-step course, you’ll practice drawing gestures, posing, drawing negative space, and sharpening your understanding of perspective. You can practice drawing the human form and memorize how the anatomy works. In time, you will even learn to create dynamic poses and create complex gestures. Comics are expressive by design, so this course is essential.

From there, you can move on to more specialized learning. In How to Draw Dynamic Comic Book Superheroes from Start to Finish and How to Draw Heads, you’ll learn how to break superheroes down into familiar parts, study proportions, anatomy, suit design, and more. You’ll cover gameplay and concept art techniques and relate them to the comics, and you can even start developing your own cast of heroes. We wouldn’t have a modern Black Panther without the Brian Stelfreeze comics that brought it to life, and it’s the same kind of inspiring work you could do yourself.

If you want to create art off the page, don’t skip Digital Painting Amazing Fantasy Art in Manga Studio 5. You will learn how to create rich backgrounds, build a character from sketch to final painting, create a professional quality concept art and use the tools built into Clip Studio Paint to do it all. Just note that you will need to already have the software, as it is not included in the course package.

Find out how to start selling art online

@Burst via nappy.co

If you want to be one of the next great comic artists, honing your skills at home with this set is one way to learn how to create work good enough to market. Whether you’re trying to turn the art of comics into a full-fledged career or just a side hustle, knowing the business aspects is as important as developing your craft. Through training in these online courses, you can learn how to compose detailed characters and use it as a way to take commissions and start building a business as an artist. If there’s anything the long history of comic book artists can teach us, it’s that art and entrepreneurship go hand in hand.

The instructor behind each of the courses in this package probably knows this well. Robert Marzullo is an active professional artist and has been for much of his life. Marzullo has been published in comic books, created 3D animations for television, illustrated storyboards for commercials, wrote the book Learn to draw action heroesand has owned and operated his own design business for over 15 years.

Put pen to paper or stylus to screen and start training to become the next household name in comics. For a limited time, you can get all 181 lessons in the Learn to Draw Comic Characters Bundle on sale for $19.99 (reg. $800).

Prices subject to change.