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Writer and illustrator Emma Jacobs shares a glimpse from her book “The Little(r) Museums of Paris.”

Emma Jacobs, a dual citizen living in Montreal, grew up and spent most of her life in the United States. But Montreal is her absolute dream city, apart from the winters. And even though she still spends the majority of her time reporting for media in the States and doing some illustration work, she enjoys exploring as much of the city as she can in the time left over.

“I have trouble staying in one place for too long. The last couple of years have been split between Paris, Montreal and Philadelphia. I love each of them, in different ways. I really like living in a second language – and the language fluidity in Montreal is its own really special, beloved thing for me.”

Her journey into art began when she picked up micron pens and watercolor, gouache, all the tools she uses today, in high school. While she’d really like to get more comfortable with digital tools, this is what she knows best. Programs like Adobe Illustrator require an investment of time to learn in and out and get truly comfortable in that she just hasn’t found yet, but people do amazing things with it.

“I love the idea of an undo button. I drew and painted for myself for a long time, just something to keep my hands busy and de-stress and interpret an environment – especially when I travelled. At a certain point, working as a freelance journalist, I wanted to diversify my workload a bit, so I started taking on illustration work. My favorite projects combine the two. I think what I do as more visual documentary.”

Emma Jacobs feature for Merrymen Magazine
Writer and illustrator Emma Jacobs feature - Merrymen Magazine Volume 3

Doing visual journalism, that is to say talking with people and researching the thing you’re painting, is more satisfying to Emma than completing a project entirely at a desk.

“It’s social and makes me feel much more engaged and connected to the subject.”

Writer and illustrator Emma Jacobs shares a glimpse from her book “The Little(r) Museums of Paris.” Merrymen Magazine Volume 3 Article

Her new book, The Little(r) Museums of Paris is a hand-illustrated guidebook to the (relatively) small museums in the Paris region. The writing half is part reported, part historical research, part travel journal.

“I try to single out a story or a couple of details that give a feel for each spot. These museums in general, have a lot of atmosphere and more charm than a lot of the big, famous institutions there.”

Published on June 4, 2019 and available wherever books are sold, you can order it online here.

The message behind Emma’s book is to urge people to visit the lesser known tourist attractions.

“Walking into some of these little house museums, they can have so much more atmosphere, can give you a much better feel for a moment in the city’s history than a lot of ‘must-see’ spots.”

She’s hoping that guests learn more about the places they visit, like the Camondo Museum. And that once they know the collector Moise Camondo actually tore down a perfectly fine house to build this one to match his 18th century furniture collection, which he completely buried himself in after his son’s plane went down in World War II – that adds a whole other layer to the experience.

“I hope the book gives readers those sorts of entry points into these places too.”

Collectively, the stories around each of these museums also come together to tell a history of the city, one that Emma hopes will add some complexity to the Paris that people think they know.

© 2021 Merrymen.

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