Leo Dillon 1933 - 2012
May 29, 2012 11:10 PM   Subscribe

Book illustrator Leo Dillon, who in partnership with his wife Diane Dillon, illustrated and did the covers for many of your favourite childrens' books, has passed away on May 26th.

As Irene Gallo says in the short obituary linked to above:
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.
Most of this was on display in their work for what we'd now call young adult novels, on e.g. A Wrinkle in Time, but they also did the covers for a lot of sixties science fiction paperbacks, most notably for the Ace Specials line. Much of their artwork is on display in this "online archive dedicated to sharing the work of Leo and Diane Dillon".

Diane and Leo Dillon previously on Metafilter.
posted by MartinWisse (18 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Interview with the Dillons in Locus, April 2000.

Cover for Keith Roberts' novel Pavane, 1969.

Cover for Dangerous Visions, the anthology edited by Harlan Ellison, 1967.
posted by aurelian at 11:33 PM on May 29, 2012

A pair of other covers they did for Harlan:

Strange Wine. 1976.

The Essential Ellison. 1998.

The years-long collaboration with Harlan was very fruitful.
posted by aurelian at 11:42 PM on May 29, 2012

Oh man.

The Dillons' work shaped my childhood. From the mid-60s through the 70s their work was everywhere -- not just in children's books, but in magazine articles and other publications as well.

I have a set of the Time-Life Science Encyclopedia, published over a span of years, with entire sections illustrated by the Dillons; I used read them over and over and linger on the paintings. The art holds up better than some of the science has.
posted by ardgedee at 2:57 AM on May 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

Oh man. I scrolled down through the obituary and hit the cover of L'Engle's A Swiftly Tilting Planet. Talk about bringing back memories. And then paging back through the "online archive" link -- holy cow, their art had been all around me as a child. Amazing.
posted by Forktine at 5:35 AM on May 30, 2012

posted by doctor_negative at 6:13 AM on May 30, 2012

I love his and Diane's work. Their children's books, sci fi book covers, ads, all of it. Hugely inspirational , unique, and really deep. Rest in Peace.
posted by Liquidwolf at 6:13 AM on May 30, 2012

posted by dlugoczaj at 6:45 AM on May 30, 2012

Last month I tracked down an old copy of Dangerous Visions - great book, but it wouldn't have been the same without the Dillons' powerful illustrations.

posted by El Brendano at 7:08 AM on May 30, 2012

Until 24 hours ago I'd never heard of them, and I'm still to find a book they've illustrated that I have read with their cover.
That said:
We're loosing far too many '60s/'70s creative peoples lately.
posted by Mezentian at 7:46 AM on May 30, 2012

I'd unknowingly seen lots of their illustrations before, but the book cover that clued me in to their work was the simple but striking illustration for paperback cover of John Brunner's The Traveller in Black.
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 7:51 AM on May 30, 2012

posted by Jilder at 9:13 AM on May 30, 2012

While writing an essay on the Dillons last week, it was wonderful to be able to sit down and immerse myself in their story and work. I will forever be impressed by the grace of their illustrations and the scope of their methods.

Although they had over fifty years of successfully working together, Diane described some of their earlier times:

"“... we would get into these vicious fights, but they weren’t about money or going out to eat dinner, or any of the usual married things. It was about why one of us put a line around the character, or why we ruined a drawing with a certain color.”-Diane

But they obviously worked together very well, and these quotes express a little of the mentality involved:

‘’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.” -Leo

“...we could look at ourselves as one artist rather than two individuals, and that third artist was doing something neither one of us would do.”-Diane

So one dot for Leo, and one dot for the "third artist."



posted by redsparkler at 9:58 AM on May 30, 2012 [2 favorites]

My heart hurts right now - I especially loved the covers they did for Garth Nix's Abhorsen trilogy. RIP. :(
posted by Anima Mundi at 10:01 AM on May 30, 2012

their art had been all around me as a child.

I feel the same way as you. Simply amazing to look through that archive and realize I've seen dozens of examples of their work though the years and had no idea who they were.

I greatly prefer to their style to the art on most modern fantasy/sci-fi books.

We're loosing far too many '60s/'70s creative peoples lately.

Yep. :-(

For Leo:

posted by lord_wolf at 12:20 PM on May 30, 2012

posted by dbiedny at 12:38 PM on May 30, 2012

Also, that archive link has hipped me to a bunch of books I need to get for my kids and myself, if I can find the editions with Leo and Diane's illustrations and/or covers. Thanks, MartinWisse!
posted by lord_wolf at 2:27 PM on May 30, 2012

posted by Halloween Jack at 4:44 PM on May 30, 2012

I fell in love with their work for the Abhorsen series and then in searching for buying their work I stumbled upon all their other work which were amazing and marked a lot of my reading.

posted by jadepearl at 5:48 PM on May 30, 2012

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