Leo Dillon 1933-2012

Illustration has lost another giant. Leo Dillon, husband and life-long collaborator of Diane Dillon, passed away on May 26th. Together they created a remarkable array children’s books and book covers. 

While their style could change to meet the needs of any project, you can always recognize a Leo and Diane Dillon painting by its exquisite sense of design and decorative qualities, and the joy of celebrating all races and cultures. They have stated, “We all have a lot in common. It is our beliefs that divide us. We have little control over what life brings us but we can change our thoughts.”

They have won Caldecott medals, Coretta Scott King Awards, Society of Illustrators medals, and countless other recognitions for picture books. They may, however, be better known to Tor.com readers for having put a face to the New Wave of sf/f fiction in the 60s and 70s. The Dillons created many covers for Harlan Ellison and for the Ace Specials under Terry Carr. Their association with science fiction remained strong throughout their career and garnered them both a Hugo and a Spectrum Grand Masters medal.

Our thoughts are with Diane Dillon and their family and friends. Leo and Diane once stated, “Art in its many forms has survived to inform us of lives long gone. Art inspires, lifts our spirits, and brings beauty to our lives. We wish to pay homage to it and the people who created it.” The Dillons have, unquestionably lifted the spirits and inspired generations of people, and will continue to do so for generations to come. 

(Samples of the Dillons’s work below….)

Irene Gallo‘s gateway to sf/f was hunting down the Dillon covers to Harlan Ellison books. She will always remember her brief meeting with them at the Spectrum Exhibition.


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