The Freelance Diaries: Inner Self

molly jacques inner self

It's been a while. The Freelance Diaries. Remember the days when I posted each week with tips and tricks for all you creative freelancers out there? Well I'm back in action!

This week I want to talk about getting in touch with your inner self. I know - I talk a lot about these romantic ideas of finding your voice, being nice to people, etc., etc - but I promise, these tips seriously make up a huge portion of my freelance life. Otherwise, I would just be sharing administrative stuff every day. Womp womp.

Which brings me to my point - getting in touch with your inner self. This idea is similar to the idea of finding your "voice" or "style" as an illustrator or designer. It's important because it challenges all you guys and gals to stand out among the crowd. It takes years to develop (and frankly, is a lifelong journey), but here are a few tips for starting to develop a consistent "self".

PINTEREST // Start a board with all your favorite letterers, designers, or illustrators. Be really selective - what do you like specifically about each image? The colors? The composition? The technique? A combination of everything? Try pinning images that vary in styles but all fit together seamlessly. Check out the screen grab here of one of my boards... everything just seems to "fit", doesn't it? But everything is also varying in design, texture, and concept.

RESEARCH // Go to your local library and start sticking your nose in old books that focus on typography (or whatever you're interested in) - either take a mental photo or snap photos on your iPhone to remember which images you like and WHO MADE THEM. If you really liked the book, research where you can purchase it. Use these inspirations as a part of the overall project. You don't have to have everything on Pinterest - it's just a great place to store inspiration.

YOU // Start using your pinspiration and research photos as reference to figure out what you like specifically in each photo. Challenge yourself to pick bits and pieces from each image to make a totally NEW image that looks completely different from everything that you've pinned or dog-eared, but seamlessly fits into your pinterest board.

And that wraps up some fun little exercises for getting in touch with your inner creative. Remember - this is a lifelong pursuit! Be gentle with yourself if you're still struggling to find what makes you tick. Want more tips on a similar topic? Check out previous entries in The Freelance Diaries.

If you find this series helpful - please share! Pin the image above, Tweet about it or Instagram your progress using #mollyjacquesworkshop


Now that summer is officially over, I'm slowly moving into a more laid back schedule here at the studio. Apple cider, donuts, candles, pumpkins? Check, check, check, check. We're in chillin' mode here at the Jacques studio and we're enjoying the beautiful details of fall.

That said, I'm ready to jump back into our weekly column, Great Lakes Lettering in The Wild. Each week, I'll post different images that use our hand lettering style fonts in a beautiful way. Today, I'm featuring the lovely publication, Molly Makes.

GLL Font(s) Used: Frosted

GLL Font(s) Used: Frosted

Molly Makes is a publication featuring some killer crafts and DIY projects. We love how they use our fonts to bring a hand made/hand lettering feel to their magazine.

GLL Font(s) Used: Frosted

GLL Font(s) Used: Frosted

GLL Font(s) Used: Frosted

GLL Font(s) Used: Frosted

GLL Font(s) Used: Frosted

GLL Font(s) Used: Frosted

GLL Font(s) Used: Frosted

GLL Font(s) Used: Frosted

To check out Molly Makes, visit their website today to see all of their fun projects and the opportunity to subscribe to their publication.


Hey everyone!

This summer has been a whirlwind - between traveling and working on my commissioned work, it's been a challenge keeping up with the blog. Stay tuned - I'll be posting periodically throughout the remainder of 2014 with updates and (hopefully!) more fun DIY posts! For now, be sure to explore my refreshed website!

Do you follow me on Instagram? If not - head on over ASAP to check out my mini series #calligrapherselfie and join the discussion. I want to hear about your journey into the crazy world of modern calligraphy and your take on where it's progressing.




• Envelopes in your favorite color (we love these notecards and envelopes!)

• Metallic Sharpies (we used gold and silver)

• Number 2 pencil with an eraser




Write the name and address in pencil - consider mixing script and non-script hand lettering styles for texture and personality. For example, try writing just the name in script and the rest of the address in non-script, as seen above. If you're as confident as Molly, go ahead and start your address with Sharpie.



Trace over the hand lettered pencil address with a Sharpie of your choice. We LOVE the metallic Sharpies because they show up really well on virtually any envelope and add some sparkle.



Finish the lettering by adding a thicker line weight on the down strokes. This gives your hand lettered design some dimension.  Don't forget to erase pencil marks after the marker has dried. Also, think about adding some fun details on the envelope like polka dots or other simple illustrations! Don't worry too much about where you'll be putting the stamp at this point - just make sure that no important information is up near the top right corner of the envelope. It's okay if polka dots are there.



Finally, write the return address on the back flap.  Molly started in Sharpie, but feel free to use pencil first. When you're finished, add on a illustrative element like a little heart, vine, or polka dots. These small details make it much more exciting when someone gets the letter in the mail! If you're using the Sugar Paper heart notes then definitely add in a few of those cute little guys in gold to match.


Check it out! You now have some pretty awesome envelopes to send to some lucky people!


Photography and copy by Brooke Hitchcock, hand lettering and concepts by Molly


Perfect Your Skills | Molly Jacques

After a bit of a break, welcome back to The Freelance Diaries!


This week I'm going to chat a bit about something that's perhaps the most important bit of advice I have to offer - perfecting your skills. Whether you practice modern calligraphy, lettering, illustration, graphic design, film, etc., etc., you need to be the best you can be.


In the past, I've talked about developing a voice and the importance of having a distinctive portfolio as a creative freelancer. This makes the client experience much more streamline. They know what they're getting; you know what you're giving. That said, before you get to this point, you've really just gotta perfect your skills.


Funny enough, you can actually get very far with sub-par skills if you're pleasant to work with and have some killer marketing tactics. I'm a firm believer that you should continue to put work out there for the world to see, even if you're not 100% to your skill level goal. This gets the ball rolling and encourages people to actually start paying attention to your work.


Again, that being said, perfecting your skills is what is going to make your work stand out amongst the slew of sub-par artists out there. Perfecting your skills gets you to the place where you can actually make real decisions on how you want your artwork to look.


Now, there are a few ways to perfect your skills. First, and the most obvious way: practice. Practice makes perfect, you guys.


Second, you need to learn.


Learning from well versed artists is the absolute best way to begin the lifelong journey of perfecting your skills. There are lots of ways to learn... Private lessons, workshops, online classes, or even continued education. Depending on your budget, you'll choose one of these options. All of these have one thing in common, though: you're learning the skills from someone who has been doing it a really long time and KNOWS what they are doing.


I know a lot of you ladies and gents out there are self taught - which is awesome! My advice to you would to be go out and (AT LEAST) take a workshop from an artist you admire. If you can't afford a college education (which is the #1 way to learn your skills...) then investing in a hands on workshop is going to get you where you need to be.


Still not willing to splurge on a workshop? Take a quick online course that focuses on the skill you want to learn. There are so many online classes out there, it will really surprise you. In my experience, online classes can be a great way to learn at your own pace on a shoestring budget. Like before, learning in a hands on environment will ALWAYS beat online classes, but sometimes you just gotta make it happen without that luxury.





Molly Jacques Workshop

College for Creative Studies (psst... I teach here!)


Now let's start practicing! Where are your favorite places to learn? Leave a comment below and let us know!


Did you find this helpful? Leave a comment below, pin it, tweet it, share with your friends! I want to know about your journey as a freelance artist.