Leo and Diane Dillon
Leo and Diane Dillon wrote in 2008: “Our challenge as illustrators is to decide how best to graphically portray words and attack the viewer. We don’t illustrate words literally. It is our job to expand on the words—to illustrate between the lines. Once we read a manuscript we throw ideas back and forth and wait for that one idea we both get excited about. Then we proceed with the pencil drawing. When this is approved by the publisher we decide what media to use to create the finished art. To illustrate a book jacket we must sum up the manuscript in one image. For a picture book we have many pages to build details of that world.
“Working together over time our vision and style has blended into what we call ‘the Third Artist,’ one who creates something unique and different from what either of us would do separately. The combination of our minds and skills allows for more choices. Technique, style and the various media we use have given us a larger ‘vocabulary’ to express our ideas. While we don’t specialize in one technique or style, something recognizable still comes through. With each new assignment, we are always discovering and learning. It has been a fascinating experience.”
Leo and Diane Dillon have been considered two of the most talented and versatile illustrators in the United States. They collaborated to create award-winning art for many years and have illustrated more than forty books together. Their artistry has twice been awarded the Caldecott Medal and the Hamilton King Award, and has also been awarded a Coretta Scott King Award. The Dillons have one son, Lee, who is a talented painter, sculptor, and jewelry craftsman.
Leo Dillon passed away in 2012.
Selected Collaborations of Leo and Diane Dillon
Where Have You Been? written by Margaret Wise Brown (Scholastic)
Between Heaven and Earth written by Howard Norman (Gulliver Books)
The Girl Who Dreamed Only Geese: And Other Tales of the Far North written by Howard Norman (Gulliver Books)
The People Could Fly: The Picture Book written by Virginia Hamilton (Knopf)
Earth Mother written by Ellen Jackson (Walker)
Jazz on a Saturday Night (Coretta Scott King Honor Book) (Blue Sky Press)
Mother Goose on the Loose (Harcourt)