From Caldecott to Coretta Scott

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Diane and Leo Dillon 1933-

Leo Dillon and Diane Sorber were born eleven days apart in 1933. They met at Parsons School of Design in 1953, where they became rivals as they both viewed the other as the superior artist.  They soon realized that their strengths were in collaboration—in art and in life. They married in 1957, a decade before Loving v. Virginia struck down anti-miscegenation laws.

They won the prestigious Caldecott Medals for children’s book illustrations two years in a row (1976 and 1977), the only consecutive awards ever given. Leo was the first Black artist to win the award, and still the only one to have won twice. The Dillons also received two Coretta Scott King Awards, four New York Times Best Illustrated Awards, and four Boston Globe/Horn Book Awards. Diane and Leo Dillon were inducted into the Society of Illustrators Hall of Fame in 1997, and in 2008 they received the Society’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Leo died from lung cancer on May 26, 2012. Diane is still working and R. Michelson Galleries is honored to represent her work, both solo and with Leo.

James Baldwin and Social Justice Covers

Jazz on a Saturday Night, written and illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon, and album covers

I Can Be Anything, written and illustrated by Diane Dillon

On the Wings of Peace, written by Sheila Hamanaka and illustrated by Leo & Diane Dillon

The People Could Fly, written by Virginia Hamilton and Illustrated by Leo & Diane Dillon

Essence Magazine Editorial Illustration

See more of Leo and Diane Dillon’s work here.