TFD: Two Things I Can't Work Without

Hey everyone! Thanks so much for tuning back into The Freelance Diaries. For those of you who are brand new here, in this series, I share little tidbits of my experiences as a full time creative freelancer. This could be things that motivate me, ways I conduct business, or helpful tips on self promotion.

Today I want to share with you two things I absolutely cannot work without. I know that everyone works differently, but I strongly believe that if you're a working illustrator, letterer, calligrapher, designer, etc., you need these things too. It may seem like a no-brainer, but it's 110% a must in my book!

1. A Kick Ass Website

Yep. This is possibly the most important thing for a self employed creative. Having a kick ass website. There are many working illustrators out there who are a part of the previous generation who still think they don't need a solid online presence. Unless you're Brad Holland (who, by the way, has a website), you need a solid online portfolio. Period.

The new generation of Art Directors and Buyers working in the field are usually finding your artwork by way of the internet. This means, if they find an image of yours floating around the world wide web, and they can't pinpoint where it came from (a reliable portfolio page), they will move on and find someone else. It's just a fact of life (sorry guys!). If you are an illustrator that is part of an earlier generation without a great web presence, and you're reading this, I hope this message gives you a kick in the butt to take the leap. Updating your work and digital face could be the change you're looking for and could bring you new work.

Not a web designer? No problem. I highly recommend jumping on the Squarespace bandwagon.  Full disclosure, the link I'm providing is my affiliate link. That being said, I would never promote anything here on my website if I didn't stand behind the product fully. Do you like my website? I use Squarespace. 'Nuff said. The templates are highly customizable so you can create something that will fully fit your style.

2. Reliable WiFi

Seems like another no-brainer, but it's important to mention because of (literally) how important it is. I always tell people that really I don't need a ton of stuff to run the creative side of my business. One thing that is a must is being able to connect with my clients. I need to be able to send sketches and final artwork via email and It needs to be done on time. Whether from a coffee shop or from a home studio, you need to be able to send emails and you need to have reliable WiFi to do that. Again, earlier generations needed to take like 10 more steps than we do and send final, original artwork directly to the agencies they were working with. Then, the directors on the job would have to document everything at their studio, and potentially send the original artwork back to the illustrator by snail mail. Times have changed, now you only need to upload your art into the computer and click send. If you screw up something that simple by not having access to email, just think back on all of the steps you would need to take as a 1980's Illustrator and you'll call up Comcast, stat.

Those are the two things I can't work without. How about you? Do you have a solid online portfolio up and running? Do you send your artwork to clients via email or are you still sending originals through snail mail? I want to hear what works best for you and if these bits of advice are helpful. Again, if you are an Illustrator that was working full time during the 80's and now business seems to be lagging - I highly recommend picking up one of these techniques. It could be exactly what your business needs!

All my best,


TFD: A Freelancer's Approach to Instagram

#thefreelancediaries Approach to Instagram


Everyone has them: your absolute favorite Instagram accounts to follow. We're constantly liking their photos, following along with their story, eager to see what they'll post next. But what makes a good Instagram? What are the specific reasons we're drawn to follow certain people? These are important questions to think about if you're a freelancer because social media is a huge way to promote your work. The more followers you have, the more your little community grows. It's a small piece of a big puzzle called self promotion.

So, today I want to share with you a few of my favorite Instagram accounts to follow. I'll share specific reasons why I follow them and things that I wish were better.


@cody_erickson via Instagram

Okay, so it's sorta a known fact that Cody is my husband. But that's not the only reason I love following his story on Instagram. Cody is a pretty killer artist, but there are a few things about his IG that I am particularly stoked on:



There are so many IG accounts out there that are just a business. I enjoy the fact that Cody is totally real and you can see that on his feed. He's not afraid to sometimes share photos that aren't perfect if they reflect something he's excited about. Often, you'll see that the things he is excited about will influence his work. For example, he posts lots of rock climbing photos along with some kick butt landscape paintings. I think that this adds value to a feed. It makes one feel connected to the artist.



This is a given with any account I enjoy following. Having legit artwork is a MUST.



Here's the thing... Most artists who are successful on IG will say that you need to be consistent. And, generally, that's true. Having a consistent account encourages people to be drawn into your story, similar to how one would be drawn into a good book. But what does consistency really mean? Sure, having a consistent color scheme helps tie everything together, but having a real story is where it's really at. Cody has that. Cody shares a feed that represents himself as an artist and generally as a twenty something year old with a passion for nature.

Maria-Ines Gul via Instagram

Let's talk a bit about Maria-Ines's work. Killer, right? Here are a few things I like about her feed...



Maria-Ines's work is very distinctive. Her style is well thought out and has been tailored over the years. I appreciate that and genuinely love her style. The combination of rough drawing, flat shapes, fun textures, and SOLID composition gets me every time. LOVE.



Maria-Ines works in a simplified color pallet for all of her illustrations. This creates a really nice consistent color vibe throughout her entire feed. The content is also consistent. She posts concept driven illustrations regularly, causing the viewer to stop and think. I really like this about her feed because a lot of IG accounts are just "pretty". This one is pushing the envelope with concept.


One thing that I'd really like to see more of on her feed is open conversation. I enjoy following along with artists that ask their followers questions and engage in conversation.

Hattie Stewart via Instagram

So Hattie Stewart is pretty rad. Odds are, if you're and Illustrator, you probably know about her. Let's talk about WHY I follow her work (and love it)



Enough said.



Again, I'm a sucker for a consistent story. Her style has been tailored to perfection. Her color choices are wide but work together in a crazy cool way.


Again, I'd love to see Hattie promote more conversation on her IG account to make it feel more personal. Right now, it looks like she uses IG primarily as another portfolio platform. The real her is slightly mysterious. That can be a good thing, but, in general, I really like seeing the "real moments" on Instagram.

And that wraps things up! Who are your favorite artists that you follow on Instagram? Why? How can you apply those techniques to your own approach to social media to grow your community? Comment below and let me know!

If you follow along with me on IG, you'll notice that I really like consistency in visuals. I try and balance my feed with portfolio work, informational posts, and somewhat personal posts. You'll notice that I usually only share highly styled photos to keep the "story" going and I opt out of sharing really personal photos. This isn't because I'm afraid of showing my messy desk, or what I look like in my PJ's... it's simply because I'm a fairly private person. Do you practice a similar approach to social media, or do you like to share more personal moments with others? Do you feel like Instagram has been a positive self promotion tool for your freelance business? Let's start a conversation below.

All my best,




iPhone Download: The Best Is Yet To Come

#MollyJacques hand lettered iPhone background
#mollyjacques hand lettered iphone background

Hey everyone! I hope you all are having a great week.

Today I wanted to share with you this fun, hand lettered iPhone background. Hoping this will give you a little inspiration throughout the week.

Notice that little monogram at the bottom? MJW? That stands for Molly Jacques Workshop. There are awesome things in store for MJW for 2015 so be sure to follow along on social media with #mollyjacquesworkshop

Download your background here, and if you love it share with your friends!



SHINY & NEW // Recent Work

Molly Jacques Lettering

As I look back at some of my most recent posts, I quickly realized that I really haven't been sharing any of my recent work with you guys and gals. I know that a big portion of you tune into my blog to get helpful tips on freelancing, but I think it's equally important to share actual freelance content; what I'm up to.

So today I wanted to share a few recent projects that I've worked on. Some have been updated to my portfolio, others not so much. Either way - I'm hoping to ignite a little motivation in each of you. I'm hoping to inspire you to reach out to your dream clients and hope for the best. I'm so thankful that I've been able to work with some pretty rad clients this past year.

In addition to these that I'm sharing today, I've also had the pleasure of working on a few campaigns throughout the summer that literally haven't hit the market yet. I'll have to share those at a later date.


Design by Plenty // Lettering by Molly Jacques
Design by Plenty // Lettering by Molly Jacques


Molly Jacques for Weight Watchers Magazine


Molly Jacques for Rachael Ray

Molly Jacques Calligraphy
Calligraphy by Molly Jacques
Lettering by Molly Jacques


Molly Jacques via The Wall Street Journal

I'll leave you with these for now! Did any of you see these illustrations on newsstands or online? Comment below and let me know what ya think! Also, have you been working on any fun projects lately?

All My Best,


PS - Did you pick up your free desktop download yesterday?

Desktop Download: Breaking The Rules

Breaking The Rules #mollyjacquesworkshop

Hey everyone! I'm so happy to see that we've got a few new followers here in my blog. I'm thankful for all of your comments and suggestions, and I've got some killer TFD posts coming up in the near future in response to your questions. In the meantime, I have a gift for each of you - a desktop download to inspire your work week!

Break The Rules #mollyjacquesworkshop

Be sure to stay tuned into my blog to follow what I'm doing with #mollyjacquesworkshop! Like this desktop download? Comment below and be sure to share with your friends! Download this bad boy here.