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Jason Chin may not be a scientist by vocation, but he has managed to capture the art of science in his stunning and detailed children’s picture book illustrations, soon to be on display at the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature (NCCIL), beginning February 8th.
Chin stands out among other artists for his desire to accurately and truthfully portray the world in his art while bringing vibrancy and color to the characters and illustrations he exemplifies. Chin is dedicated to experiencing and immersing himself in what he chooses to portray first, before putting it on paper. For example, he shares a connection to the characters in Grand Canyon as he hiked the same trail that is represented in the book: The South Kaibab Trail, which typically takes about 4-6 hours to hike. Chin’s research, immersive exploration, and attention to detail allow for such complex scientific topics to come to life for young children while also capturing the attention of older readers. Not only does Chin take influence from experiences; He uses a variety of techniques and mediums to forge a more interesting and accurate illustration. He had this to say about Watercress, his Caldecott Medal winning title: “In Watercress, the plants become a motif representing each culture and the blending of cultures. One way to represent the blending of culture is to use techniques from Chinese bamboo painting in my painting of the corn in Ohio. For example, I use Chinese brushes and I even held them in the Chinese way, which is up and down, as opposed to, like a pencil, the way I would normally paint.” Chin’s accolades include the 2022 Caldecott Medal for Watercress, by Andrea Wang, and a Caldecott Honor, Sibert Honor, and the NCTE Orbis Pictus award for Grand Canyon.
Like Chin, the NCCIL was intentional about the interactives displayed among his beautiful artwork in the museum. Thanks to a grant from the Texas Commission on the Arts, the NCCIL was able to purchase a new technological interactive that will be set up toward the back of the museum, where children and visitors alike can create their own art, scan it in, and watch it come to life on the big screen. Beginning Thursday, February 8th at 5:00PM, a Members Only Cocktail Hour will give NCCIL members the chance to mingle with Jason Chin. His exhibit will open to the public at 5:30PM and he will begin his free Artist Talk at 6:00PM, sharing his experiences, inspirations, and techniques. On Friday, February 9that 10AM, nearly 200 high school biology students from around the Big Country will make their way to the NCCIL to hear Chin speak and sketch with him. The NCCIL will donate sketch books, pencils, and pencil bags to every child in attendance to take home with them. Friday evening at 6:30PM, the NCCIL will host a planetary dinner under the stars in honor of Jason Chin, with an engaging and electric Artist Talk, hosted by guest curator Erin Holland.
To finish off the weekend, the NCCIL will host two family friendly events on Saturday, February 10th. At 10AM, Jason Chin will lead an intimate children’s workshop that is free to NCCIL Members, and only $20/child for non-members. Children will get to create with him and have a book signing opportunity. From 10AM to 12PM, scientists and educators from around the big country will fill the NCCIL Gallery and present hands-on, immersive science activities during a free Family Fun Science Saturday. Every activity will be based on one of Jason Chin’s picture books and is sure to be engaging for children and families. The first 50 children will receive a free NCCIL book and the first 200 children will receive a free Raising Canes kids combo, generously donated by Raising Canes Abilene.
If you would like to experience the world through Jason Chin’s paintbrush, “The Universe in You” will remain on display at the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature through May 10th. Registration is currently open for his children’s workshop! If you’d like to know more about the NCCIL, visit their website at nccil.org or call 325.673.4586.
February 8th 2024
Jason Chin’s “Your Place in the Universe”- FREE
5:00PM: *Members Reception (beer, wine, and charcuterie provided)
5:30PM: Exhibit opens to the public
6:00PM: Public Artist Talk with Jason Chin
5:30-8PM: Create a free family fun art project in the NCCIL Art Studio
February 9th 2024
10:00AM: Honors Art Initiative: High schoolers from around the Big Country will tour the NCCIL, sketch with Chin, and hear him speak
February 10th 2024
10AM-10:45AM: Workshop with Jason Chin: A children’s art workshop led by Jason Chin
Register at nccil.org *Members receive FREE REGISTRATION, or $20/child
10AM-12PM: Family Fun Science Saturday- FREE
Hands-on activities with scientists and educators from the community
First 50 children receive a free NCCIL book
First 200 children receive a free Raising Cane’s kid’s combo coupon
*NCCIL Members can leave your books to be personalized early by the illustrator. To renew your membership or become a member, visit https://nccil.square.site/memberships As always, the NCCIL is FREE to the public, Tuesday- Saturday from 10AM-4PM.