1968 Reader’s Digest edition of “Rebecca” by Daphne De Maurier.

It must have been fate. Born eleven days apart on opposite coasts, Leo and Diane met, competed artistically, and eventually fell in love while attending Parsons School of Design, each aspiring to a life of art. After their marriage in 1957, the artists initially pursued separate careers in illustration before recognizing their strengths were collaborative in nature. In an effort to work in a particular style that they both could master, they symbiotically and seamlessly melded their personalities and styles, employing pastels, colored pencil, watercolor, acrylic, stencils, typography, woodcut, pochoir, found-object assemblage, collage, and sculpture into an entity/partnership that they came to refer to as “the artist.”

Noted Leo on the gorgeously striking complexity of their distinctive decorative realism and unconventional techniques: “People often comment on the ‘Dillon style.’ I think that someplace, the two of us made a pact with each other. We both decided that we would give up the essence of ourselves, that part that made the art each of us did our own. And I think that in doing that we opened the door to everything.”

Marie Laveau Cover Artwork, 1977

The Dillons became famous in the science fiction community for their imaginative and incredible variety of drawings and illustrations for prints, book jackets, textbooks, album covers; the books of authors such as Ray Bradbury, Garth Nix, and Isaac Asimov were all embellished with cover art revealing “the artist’s” unique vision. The Dillons were presented with the Hugo Award for Best Professional Artist in 1971, making Diane the first woman to receive the award. Outside the world of fantasy and science fiction, the Dillons became renowned for their numerous children’s picture books celebrated for illustrating stories featuring all ethnicities and cultural heritages–for which they received unprecedented back-to-back Caldecott Medals.

original art for the cover of John Brunner’s The Traveler in Black

 

DEATHBIRD STORIES, by Harlan Ellison cover art

 

Queen Zixi of Ix , or the Story of the Magic Cloak LP art

 

A Wrinkle in Time cover study

 

The Ring, 1968

 

Cover art for World’s End by Joan D. Vinge

 

The Tempest album cover Caedmon Records (1975)

 

Different: An Anthology of Homosexual Short Stories cover art

 

The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury cover art

 

art from Claymore and Kilt: Sorche Nic Leodhas

 

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Drax says

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. Thank you for this. LONGtime fan of the Dillons. Great post. We will blab about it on the twitstream... 🤘

Emera says

Thank you for this wonderful post. I've been a fan of their art since the cover of Garth Nix's Sabriel pulled me in while book-browsing as a tween, but I hadn't seen many of the pieces that you shared here. Their use of color and the range of textures and media that they used are amazing.

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