Leo & Diane Dillon, 2000 | Photo by Beth Gwinn
Artist Leo Dillon, 79, died May 26, 2012.
Dillon is best known for his professional and personal partnership with wife Diane Dillon (née Sorber) — they are the only artist team to jointly win a Hugo for Best Professional Artist (1971). They have worked extensively in various fields of commercial art, creating album covers, holiday cards, movie posters, advertising, and children’s books. They also illustrated numerous SF novels, notably many covers for Ace Books in the ’60s, including many of the Ace Specials, and are also known for their iconic cover and interior illustrations of Harlan Ellison’s Dangerous Visions anthology. Their work in the SF field became less frequent after 1972.
Leo Dillon was born March 2, 1933 in Brooklyn NY. He attended the Parsons School of Design in New York, where he met Diane, also a student there. They both graduated in 1956, and were married the following year.
The duo won Caldecott Medals for Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears (1976) and Ashanti to Zulu (1977), and their work was collected inThe Art of Leo and Diane Dillon (1981). They were named Spectrum Grand Masters in 1977, were inducted into the Society of Illustrators Hall of Fame in 1997, and received a joint World Fantasy life achievement award in 2008.
For more details, see his entry in the Science Fiction Encyclopedia.
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I carried around a lot of books through High School, but this oversized, thin-spined book was a constant.
I kept the Dillons close at hand because their work was the best weapon I had in my epic battles with my Art Major instructor, a bitter and brittle woman who hated my guts. She sneered at the crap I dragged into the Art Room, the comic books and anime photo-novels and the issues of Epic Illustrated—it was all crap. Well, OK, fair enough; most of it was crap. But the ideas behind the crap weren’t stained forever with the guilt of original sin, or something. (I often got into philosophical/visual arguments I hadn’t a chance of winning.) But I could always rely on the Dillons, man; if all else failed, I could peel open my copy of AoL&DD and jab at something—an element, a shadow, a configuration of color, the whole theory, the point I was trying to make, visually—and it would always shut the bitch up. Never failed. The Dillons were invincible.
— The Creep in the Art Department
Many of these images came from The Art of Leo and Diane Dillon