MJW: Calligraphy Basics in Anaheim

#mollyjacquesworkshop #calligraphy
#mollyjacquesworkshop photography by Will Coile
#mollyjacquesworkshop photography by Will Coile
#mollyjacquesworkshop photography by Will Coile
#mollyjacquesworkshop photography by Will Coile
#mollyjacquesworkshop photography by Will Coile
#mollyjacquesworkshop photography by Will Coile
#mollyjacquesworkshop photography by Will Coile
#mollyjacquesworkshop photography by Will Coile
#mollyjacquesworkshop photography by Will Coile
#mollyjacquesworkshop photography by Will Coile
#mollyjacquesworkshop photography by Will Coile

February 6th marked the date for my Orange County calligraphy basics class which was held at the lovely Anaheim Packing House. You guys, this place is seriously amazing. If you live around the area, I highly recommend you check out this charming little market. Not only are all the vendors absolutely top notch, the people there are extremely friendly and helpful. Between the sunshine, good food, and teaching my favorite thing ever, this workshop was high up on my list for most fun.


For those of you who aren't familiar with my workshops, I teach a variety of skill level classes focusing on hand lettering and calligraphy. This class was Calligraphy Basics where we covered all of the introductory content of learning calligraphy.


Students arrived around 12pm on Saturday to find their swag bags with a curated calligraphy kit by yours truly, a small gift from my friend (and attendee) Katie Dean, crazy cool tumblers from The Mason Bar Company, and snack tokens for Dark180 chocolate and Popbar (both vendors of the Packing House). Throughout the workshops, students sipped on coffee from Cafecito Organico and enjoyed the gorgeous florals designed by the ever so talented OC designer Shannon O'Neil of Cargo Creative


All of the photos for the calligraphy class were shot by Will Coile.


I'm so thankful to have met so many truly inspiring people at this workshop and I sincerely look forward to staying in touch and watching each of your progress in your new skills! If you want to follow along with the workshop, you can do so on social media using #mollyjacquesworkshop


And lastly - and HUGE thank you to all of our sponsors for this class! I'm so thankful for all of your contributions to make this happen. To follow our sponsors, check out their websites here...


Event Planning & PR / Alana Yarbrough

Flowers / Cargo Creative

Tumblers / The Mason Bar Company

Jewelry / Katie Dean Jewelry

Hot Chocolate / Dark 180 Chocolate

Photography / Will Coile

Popsicles / Popbar

Coffee / Cafecito Organico

Venue / Anaheim Packing House

TFD: Motivation Is A Luxury

#thefreelancediaries via @mollyjacques

Hey guys and gals!

Today, my twin sister (yes, I have a twin) posted a witty article on Facebook to her husband who is a freelance writer. The article was all about why motivation is NOT the key to getting things done and meeting goals.

Let me start off with a little background info... My brother in law (his name is Jon) and I have very different jobs, but we often find ourselves chatting about similarities we face every day as we work. Ultimately, we have a few things in common: we set our schedules, we monitor our productivity, and we set and achieve or fall short of our own goals. These are all important aspects of being self employed and can make or break it for you. We don't have someone there to hold us accountable for finishing up a hard day of work or making sure we meet a deadline.

And this brings me to today's topic... Why motivation is a luxury. You see, I can't tell you how many times I get people saying to me: "Man, I don't know how you work from home. You have to be REALLY self-motivated!". I think that people assume that to be a successful freelancer, one must be motivated to do their job. 

But, you know what? Motivation is a luxury and is based on unreliable emotions. I love my job, but it's a job. I don't always feel like working but I sure don't wait until I have a spark of inspiration to finish what needs to be done that day. To be a successful freelancer, one doesn't need to be motivated, one needs to be well disciplined in their approach to work.

Wisdomnation put it well when they describe the difference between motivation and discipline...

"Motivation, broadly speaking, operates on the erroneous assumption that a particular mental or emotional state is necessary to complete a task. That’s completely the wrong way around. Discipline, by contrast, separates outwards functioning from moods and feelings and thereby ironically circumvents the problem by consistently improving themThe implications are huge."

See what I mean?

I hate to be a Debby Downer and rant here, but I think it's an important topic. So, for those of you reading this who are talented artists but for whatever reason are not meeting your goals, not getting consistent work, not maintaining healthy business relationships with clients, I'm going to offer up three bits of disciplinary advice that I encourage you to practice this week:



For any artist on the face of the planet, this probably is an administrative goal. Maybe it is answering every email in your inbox that day. Maybe it's going through your credit card statement to itemize your expenses for that month. Maybe it is making sure that your desk is clean at the end of every work day. All annoying things to do, I know, but doing these things regularly, and most importantly, when you don't feel motivated, is a step towards disciplinary success. It shapes the way you approach each day of work.



Every day. Make a to-do list. Itemize the list with things that need to be done right away and things that need to be done by the end of the day. Do all of those things. Even if you don't want to.



Thankfulness propels discipline. I know this sounds weird, but it's true. We always have something to be thankful for. Unmotivated because you hate your job? Guess what... The unemployment rate here in the U.S. is still around 5.6%. Not everyone else has the means to pay their rent and feed their family. To work is a privilege, not a given. If you are self employed and get to create art for a living, you should be pretty darn thankful. When you're thankful, you do work because it needs to be done. Not when "you feel like it" or feel "motivated". When you're thankful for what you do have, you stop obsessing over what you don't have.


... And that's it for today. Did you find this post helpful? Maybe you're like me and are astonished by how many people think you need to be self motivated all the time to get work done. Maybe not. I want to hear your thoughts. Comment below and share your story.



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!