If there’s one thing we know about Molly Jacques it’s that she’s got impeccable style. The talented illustrator, designer, and calligrapher keeps herself busy creating beautiful typefaces, teaching, and working on projects for big name clients like Target & West Elm. It’s in her studio that Molly finds her creativity comes alive! Her organized and effortlessly decorated space definitely speaks to Molly’s personality and style. Think gorgeous lettering, vintage finds, brass accents and the best chalkboard wall we’ve ever seen! Join us as we go for a special tour of her enviable workspace and chat about work, life, and her big plans for the future!
Your work is amazing!! How does your studio influence your work and where do you draw from for inspiration?
Thanks so much! My studio space is really important to me because it’s where I get to retreat for eight hours on the daily and be creative. It helps keep all those good vibes a-flowin’ when I feel comfortable. The space influences my work in the way that I approach making art. Because I have a split room studio, I’m able to approach my art in a big and open way. You’ll see in the photos that I have one room dedicated to digital tasks like email and editing artwork and my other room is strictly for getting hands on with my lettering. I’ve got a huge old drafting table that allows me to spread out and get messy. Which, ultimately, inspires messy lettering that tends to be all over the place, ha!
Aside from your own amazing artwork, what other artists or pieces do you admire and would love to hang in your studio one day?
I’m an art lover through and through with a big soft spot for illustration. Right now I have my most recent art purchase hanging in the studio, an original ink illustration of Marceline from Adventure Time. The art was created by my insanely talented friend Chris who illustrates a good portion of the AT comic covers. This piece in particular was created for one of their book covers.
I would absolutely love to get my hands on an original Joe Sorren painting. I’ve been a big fan of his for many years now… His color and application… they’re like a dream… I was lucky enough to see a bit of his work in person over at Wacko in Los Feliz last summer; his paintings are even more beautiful in person.
I’m also my husband’s biggest fan. We have his paintings up all over our home and I’m in the process of finding the perfect one to hang in my studio!
How do you set up your studio for success?
I set my studio up for success by keeping a little nook specifically for bookkeeping. I’ve got my file cabinet that serves as a home for all my open job sheets, closed jobs, receipts, etc.
In addition to the administrative stuff, I make sure to have everything I use on a daily basis in a place where I can easily get to it. For example, I keep my computer right by my scanner/printer and try to always have extra printer paper and ink on hand. Over at my work table, I keep all of my go-to art supplies in the top drawer along with books for inspiration right below.
What advice do you have for other artists or designers when setting up their very first studio space?
Figure out what you’ll be using every day and create a specific home in your studio for it. I know it’s tempting to spend a lot of money on making your studio look beautiful but, trust me, it’s more important to have it be functional.
What was the very first piece you sold and how did that impact the rest of your business?
In relation to my freelance work, the first real-deal job I remember working on that impacted the rest of my business was in 2012. I had worked on lots of small jobs before for small businesses but this one was really special because it taught me how to work on big scale projects in collaboration with ad agencies and also give me a bit of insight into usage rights. I got to work with a whole team of people to bring an idea from start to finish!
My job was to create chalkboard lettering for a Macaroni Grill TV commercial. So, it was my first time working with an ad agency and my first time creating art for broadcast…Totally changed my approach to freelance work, and ultimately gave me the confidence to work with ad agencies and design firms on a consistent basis.
What’s next for your business?
I’m launching my e-course website called Molly Jacques Workshop. The website has been my baby for so long. I can’t believe it’s finally going to be out in the world! On MJW, I teach aspiring calligraphers and letterers how to make it their job. Members learn the craft, the business, and then how to connect with clients. The website is really special to me and it’s going to be a very intimate setting where myself and other top notch professionals give personal feedback to every student.
One of the aspects that really inspired me to start this website is the lack of basic knowledge out in the world for wedding calligraphers who want to transition into commercial calligraphy. I started out working in the wedding industry and found it an easy transition into commercial simply because my background is in Illustration, and the both industries overlap a bit in relation to pricing and client interaction.
It’s not the same for many other self taught calligraphers. A lot of calligraphers tend to feel lost when it comes to knowing not only how to snag commercial jobs, but then how to work with a creative team and the client to execute a job from negotiation phase, to concepts, to final, and then to usage rights. MJW is going to help solve that problem and hopefully give more calligraphers the opportunity to branch out.
Where are your favorite places to shop when sprucing up your studio and office?
A lot of the pieces throughout my entire home are hand-me-downs from my Grandmother. Our home here in Grand Rapids is over 100 years hold so the antique furniture really fits in. In my studio, I bought a few pieces from Ikea, a few from World Market, some pieces are antique, like my drafting table and brass unicorns…. West Elm has recently found a home here in Grand Rapids so I’ll most definitely be splurging a bit over there!
Molly Jacques Workshop // www.mollyjacquesworkshop.com
Portfolio // www.mollyjacquesillustration.com
Instagram // www.instagram.com/mollyjacques
Pinterest // www.pinterest.com/mollyjacques
Twitter // www.twitter.com/mollyjacques