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Diane Dillon


Diane Dillon

Leo and Diane Dillon have been producing stunning illustrations for books, album covers, posters, advertisements and other media since 1957. Today they are prolific as ever. This husband and wife collaborative team are the only artists to win the prestigious Caldecott medal for childrens book illustrations two years in a row, in 1976 for Why Mosquitos Buzz in People's Ears and in 1977 forAshanti to Zulu; Leo Dillon was the first African-American artist to win that award (1976). They have also won the Hamilton King award, the Gold Medal for Childrens Book Illustration from the Society of Illustrators, and the Hugo in 1971 award for science fiction book illustration. The Hugo was won mostly for the groundbreaking work they did for Terry Carr's Ace Specials. Well known fantasist Harlan Ellison was the one who introduced Terry Carr to their work. 

The Dillons' work is a triumph of style over media and content. Every project they tackle invariably bears the unmistakable Dillon hallmarks of clean and precise lines, painstaking attention to detail, profound concern with accuracy and content (reflected in the way their works always deepen and enlarge the literature they illustrate), a human warmth which suffuses their characters, and an innovative use of color. The range of techniques they have used throughout their career is no less impressive than the effects achieved in each and every illustration. While they have favorite media, like most artists, they don't hesitate to teach themselves new skills and techniques when they feel the assignment demands it, and they have invented new techniques when no existing one would satisfy. 

Leo and Diane Dillon, born eleven days apart on opposite coasts (Leo's birthday is March 2 and Diane's is March 13), met in 1953 at the Parsons School of Design in New York City. The story of their meeting and partnership is the stuff of artistic and romantic legend: each was immediately attracted to, and intensely jealous of, the other's work, even before they'd seen each other. Each believed the other to be a superior artist, and their years at Parsons were spent in a difficult combination of companionship and competition. They separated briefly after college, overwhelmed by the intensity of their relationship, but (fortunately!) found they were miserable without each other, and married in 1957. 

The Dillons are far more than "just" husband and wife. Together, they have produced what they refer to as the "third artist:" an astounding collaboration of tremendous talent that has continually mystified all those who know them and their work. Those who have been privileged to see this amazing team at work, and the Dillons themselves, relate stories of how a piece in progress will pass back and forth between them countless times during production, with each artist continuing and improving upon the work, until the finished product is a unique blend that could not be separated into "her" or "his" contributions. 

Diane Dillon

Books by Diane Dillon

by Leo Dillon and Diane Dillon - Picture

All roads lead to kindness in this powerful final collaboration between Leo and Diane Dillon. In a colorful tree house, a rainbow of children determine the most important needs in our complex world, and following spreads present boys and girls happily helping others. Kids bring abundant food to the hungry; medicine and cheer to the sick; safe housing, education, and religious tolerance to all; and our planet is treated with care. Forgiveness and generosity are seen as essential, because kids know how to share, and they understand the power of love.