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Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Authors

Leo Dillon

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Leo Dillon

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Full Name: Lionel John Dillon
Born: March 2, 1933
Brooklyn, New York, USA
Died: May 26, 2012
Occupation: Artist, Illustrator
Nationality: American


Leo Dillon was an American illustrator of children's books and adult paperback book and magazine covers, most of which were created in collaboration with his wife Diane Dillon. One obituary of Leo called the work of the husband-and-wife team "a seamless amalgam of both their hands". In more than 50 years, they created more than 100 speculative fiction book and magazine covers together as well as much interior artwork. Essentially all of their work in that field was joint.

The Dillons won the Caldecott Medal in 1976 and 1977, the only consecutive awards of the premier honor in U.S. picture book illustration. In 1978 they were the highly commended runners-up for the biennial, international Hans Christian Andersen Award for children's illustrators; they were the U.S. nominee again in 1996.

Leo Dillon, of Trinidadian immigrant parentage, was born and raised in East New York. He enlisted in the Navy for three years' service so that he could attend art school. The couple met at the Parsons School of Design in New York City in 1953 -- where they "became instant archrivals and remained together from then on". They graduated in 1956 and married the next year. An association with writer Harlan Ellison led to jobs doing book covers for his short story collections and both cover and interior woodcut illustration for his anthology Dangerous Visions. They illustrated a large number of mass market paperback book covers for the original Ace Science Fiction Specials, for which they won their first major award, science fiction's 1971 Hugo Award for Best Professional Artist. A detailed biography and introduction to their work and styles was written by Byron Preiss in a book he edited in 1981, entitled The Art of Leo & Diane Dillon. They once described their work as incorporating motifs derived from their respective heritages.

The Dillons have one surviving son. Lee (Lionel John Dillon III), born 1965, became an artist and collaborated with his parents several times, including the illustrations for Pish, Posh, Said Hieronymus Bosch by Nancy Willard.

Works in the WWEnd Database

 Non Series Works