Interview with Molly Jacques | Illustrator & Hand Letterer

At Bloom we love learning and garnering inspiration from other creatives who are doing things right. One of those girls is Molly Jacques, an extremely talented hand letterer & illustrator. You have probably seen Molly's work as her list of clients include Nike, Victoria's Secret, Entertainment Weekly, Cole Haan and the New York Times (just to name a few). Despite Molly's success she is as down to earth as ever, and has even recently launched an online space to educate other professionals in her field. We love that, and we love what a down to earth and sweet soul Molly is. Today, Molly is here to share some insight and advice with the Bloom community!    

Meet Molly!

A few basics: I'm an illustrator from the great state of Michigan who loves word art, rock climbing, and a good snuggle with my pups/Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan/Title: Illustrator / Hand Letterer/Coffee or Tea: Coffee, always/Where can we find you on a Saturday morning? Eating pancakes and spending time outdoors.

1. How did you get started as a hand letterer and illustrator?

I knew I wanted to be an illustrator way back in elementary school. My parents were super supportive of my love of drawing and encouraged me to pursue a higher education in Illustration. I graduated from CCS with a BFA (concentration in Illustration) and then launched into the professional industry in 2010. I worked for a little stationery company for a while and fell in love with hand illustrated words, which lead me into hand lettering and calligraphy.

2. What has been one thing you've learned the hard way as a business owner? 

Taxes. The first few years I was freelancing, taxes were pretty easy because I wasn't getting that much work. As business got better, I quickly realized that I was totally lost when it comes to taxes and If I did them incorrectly, it would cause huge problems. I now have my Mother in Law (thanks Mom!) do all of my bookkeeping and we have an accountant to do my taxes. This method has been extremely helpful for me because it takes that work off my hands and it has actually taught me a lot about the proper way to keep track all of my income and how to prepare everything for my accountant. I like to think that now we're a little super team of freelancing tax pros =)

3. How do you decide which projects to take on, and which to pass on?

 This is a hard one... As a freelancer, I'm thankful for every job that I snag. That being said, I will usually turn down a job if I feel it goes against my morals or the client isn't willing to pay a fair wage. I love taking on jobs that offer up creative freedom and allow me to really flex my skill set.

4. What would be your best piece of advice for creatives wanting to start their own business?

 Do your research and be realistic. Understand the industry you're getting into and find a mentor to help guide you along the way.

5. What has been your most memorable project to date, and why? 

My most memorable project to date was the typeface that I created for Google Maps. Google is such an inspiring company and their team is so pleasant to work with. I was able to really get creative and I totally had a fangirl moment when the typeface went live.

6. You offer workshops, tell us a little about that. 

I've had the opportunity to teach private calligraphy and lettering workshops all over the country and it's something that I'm really passionate about. My workshops are based around college level curriculum ranging from foundations to more advanced illustrative techniques like digital applications. I've taught a combination of these courses at College for Creative Studies so I'm really confident that workshop attendees are really getting the best education there is out there in a condensed form. I'm currently working on bringing Molly Jacques Workshop into an online format, giving the opportunity for individuals to learn the skills on their own time, from home. MJW is going to be as close to my in-person workshops as possible, including personal feedback and mentorship for aspiring calligraphers and letterers.

7. What has been the most rewarding part of your business? 

The most rewarding part of my business is being able to bring my client's ideas to life. Starting with just a creative brief and working side by side with a client to create what's in their mind's eye is a form of problem solving that makes me tick. I love it. I also really enjoy seeing others take what they have learned from my workshop and apply those skills to their own career. I think that's why MJW is such a passion project for me. It gives me the opportunity to really mentor others who what to do what I do but don't know where to start.

 8. You were a featured teacher at La Petite Bloom, how was that experience?

 So much fun! It was a challenge pairing down the curriculum into a 30-minute lesson but I'm always up for a good challenge. I loved being able to meet the attendees and share some fun basics in calligraphy.

See some of Molly's work below and visit her here:  Website | Instagram | MJW