Molly Jacques

Name: Molly Jacques

Pencil hand: Right

Craft: Illustration

Brand: Molly Jacques Illustration

Location: Grand Rapids, MI


“Something that has always stuck with me is to work hard and be nice to people. I know it sounds really cliche…. but it’s done me well.”

Molly Jacques
Molly Jacques
Molly Jacques


What do you do?

I’m a freelance illustrator with a strong focus on letters. I work with a variety of clients to create custom illustrated lettering for editorial, print, advertising, etc…. I also teach lettering, illustration, and calligraphy.

What does your work space look like? Where do you like to create?

I work from our 100+ year old home which means we have some really interesting big windows, but it also gets pretty hot in the summer without traditional AC! I love it though. My space has a lot of character as it’s two separate smaller rooms connected by an open archway. I use the first room for my digital work station where I answer emails, work digitally on projects, etc. I use the second room for all my hands on work. I have a huge (probably too big for my space) antique drafting table that makes it easy for me to spread out all my drawings and get messy.

What role does the pencil play in your process?

The pencil is my number one go-to tool. Always. I pretty much start with pencil sketching for every single project that I do. I don’t always finish in pencil, but sometimes I do. For the most part, I don’t think the pencil could ever be replaced.

Why do you choose to work with pencils and, specifically, Blackwings?

I choose to work with pencils because they capture the energy of a drawing quickly and efficiently. They are forgiving. Pencils can offer up a variety of stylistic techniques that other tools just can’t offer; the texture, subtle value shifts, and delicacy can’t be duplicated. I love blackwings because they offer a soft, smooth lead that can achieve both dark and light values within my drawings. Blackwing pencils are also very pretty – where else can you find a pencil with that much class?!

What other tools are essential to your process?

I use a wide variety of tools depending on the project that I have on hand, but my go-to tools are: pencils (again, love my Blackwings!), sketch paper (I like to work on layout bond), Higgins Eternal ink, paint brushes, Micron pens, my calligraphy get-up, and my computer along with a few other digital tools.

How do you overcome ______ block? Writer’s block, artist’s block, etc. 

I get away from my work and get out into nature. I love to clear my head and focus on something that’s physically active like rock climbing and backpacking. I almost always feel super refreshed and inspired after a long weekend trip to somewhere in the wilderness.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

I really don’t think I can pin point the best. I’ve received a lot of good advice and a lot of bad advice over the years. Something that has always stuck with me is to work hard and be nice to people. I know it sounds really cliche…. but it’s done me well. I’ve formed some really solid business and personal relationships by always putting my full effort into something I commit to along with always trying my best to be empathetic in all circumstances.