Alumni Of the Week: Leo and Diane Dillon


All images courtesy of

Many great artists can attribute the core foundation of their work to their matriculation at Parsons, but how many can attribute the core foundation of their marriage to our institution? Leo and Diane Dillon can do both.

Illustration power couple and class of ’56, the Dillons met in 1953 while studying at Parsons where they “became instant arch-rivals and remained together from then on.” Shortly after graduation, they married and developed a very unique method of creating work together.

With a career spanning over 50 years, the Dillons created more than 100 speculative fiction book and magazine covers. Together, the two amassed over 20 prestigious awards for their work including the 1971 Hugo Grant Award for Best Professional Artist, five New York Times Best Illustrated Awards, the 1976 and 1977 Caldecott Medal, and the 2006 Knickerbocker Award.

Following Leo Dillon’s death in 2012, the New York Times referred to the Dillons as “one of the world’s pre-eminent illustrators for young people, producing artwork — praised for its vibrancy, ecumenicalism and sheer sumptuous beauty — that was a seamless amalgam of both their hands.”

In 1997, the Dillons were inducted into the Society of Illustrators’ Hall of Fame and in 1991 they received a Doctorate of Fine Art Degree from Parsons.

“The Art of Leo and Diane Dillon” is on display October 21 – December 20, 2014 at the Museum of American Illustration at the Society of Illustrators. For more info on the Dillons and the current exhibit, visit the Society’s official website.