"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." ~ Leo and Diane Dillon
Leo and Diane Dillon are among the most talented and versatile illustrators in the United States. Their work has been an outstanding contribution to children of all races and cultures.
Leo Dillon and Diane Sorber were born eleven days apart in 1933-Leo in Brooklyn, New York, and Diane near Los Angeles, California. When they met at Parsons School of Design in New York City in 1954, each already aspired to a life of art. Meeting first through one another's artwork, they immediately recognized the talent and mastery of the other. Over the years, their competitive friendship evolved into a lasting marriage and artistic partnership. “We've worked together for 40 years. In 1997 we celebrated our 40th anniversary and we completed our 40th book, 'To Every Thing There Is a Season.'”
Versatility, diversity, research, and integrity have remained characteristics of the Dillons' work, which ranges from African folktales to Scandinavian epics, from fantasy to science fiction. In addition to two Caldecott Medals (for "Ashanti to Zulu" and "Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears"), the Dillons have received four New York Times Best Illustrated Awards, four Boston Globe/Horn Book Awards, two Coretta Scott King Awards, and the Society of Illustrators Gold Medal.
There are two major messages the Dillons want to convey. The first is that all people, whatever their culture or race, experience the same things. "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." The second is that since the beginning of history, people have expressed themselves in wonderful and unique ways. "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."
Leo and Diane Dillon have one son, Lee, who is also a talented painter, sculptor, and jewelry craftsman. Leo passed away in 2012. Diane still lives in New York city.