Yale Printing & Publishing Services

YPPS’s Michael Ferguson Self-Taught Illustrator

Michael Ferguson first discovered his passion for illustrating in his 20s while working the late-night shift at a printing shop. He explains that his hobby was born out of opportunity. “There was a lot of scrap paper around, and when we produced large jobs I often had a lot of time to kill, so I just started sketching.” He soon realized that sketching came easily and naturally to him and became driven to learn more and further expand his skills. His interest in art gravitated specifically toward fine art, painting, and learning old master techniques. He began to immerse himself in all of the resources he had available, many of which were online. “That’s the great thing about the age that we live in—you can learn anything online. If you have a passion for something, you don’t necessarily have to go to a college or institution to learn.” Michael also accredits his circle of friends and artists with encouraging him and guiding him to the various learning resources that were available. 

Through the years, Michael honed his craft, practicing classical style drawing and even illustrating a children’s book called Someday Soon, in 2011. It wasn’t until a chance encounter at an HR&A holiday gathering that YPD Captain Von Narcisse ran into Michael’s friend and fellow Yale staff member, Don Relihan that the wheels were set in motion for their collaboration on Von’s children’s book, The Forgotten Prophecy. While Michael admits that children’s book illustrations are not his primary forte, on this particular project he enjoyed the creative process of interpreting the story, trying to capture the essence of it through illustration, and then seeing how close he was to the vision of the author.

Michael continues to draw daily. To him, it is more than a hobby, “It’s a creative outlet; it’s my alone time; it provides me with a lot of benefits.” He is open to any artistic opportunities that may come his way in the future and refuses to limit himself to any one area of art. Some of Michael’s past and current work can be found at  on his website.