Dillon, Leo

Tagged: Art

(1933-2012) and Diane Dillon (1933-    ): US illustrators, the only team (married in 1957) ever to win either the Hugo or the Locus Award for Best Professional Artist, both of which they received in 1971. They began freelancing in 1958, at first working separately. Together their work has covered many fields: record album covers, advertising art, Christmas cards, children's books and movie posters among them; they are among the most respected commercial artists in the USA. Their sf work for Ace Books in the late 1960s and the beginning of the 1970s – notably for the Ace Specials – was particularly good, though perhaps their most celebrated work has been for children's books, winning them Caldecott Medals for Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears (1976) and Ashanti to Zulu (1977). They have designed especially strong covers for books by Harlan Ellison, and additionally provided interior illustrations for his original Dangerous Visions (anth 1967). Their sf production became only occasional from about 1972.

The Dillons' work is often similar to wood-block prints: rough, sometimes semi-abstract shapes powerfully assembled. The team was, however, extremely versatile and worked in a variety of styles and media, notably an Art Nouveau-derived look reminiscent of Gustav Klimt (1862-1918), as can be seen in The Art of Leo and Diane Dillon (1981) edited by Byron Preiss. Richard M Powers was one of the first to show that semi-abstract images of some sophistication could sell sf; the Dillons went on to prove the point incontrovertibly. In 2008 they received, jointly, the World Fantasy Award for lifetime achievement. [JG/PN/DRL]

see also: Fantasy; Illustration.

Lionel John Dillon

born New York: 2 March 1933

died New York: 26 May 2012

Diane Clare Sorber Dillon

born Los Angeles, California: 13 March 1933

died

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