The Tale of the Mandarin Ducks


Notes: Leo and Diane Dillon met at Parsons School of Design, and spent four years competing with each other. After graduation, they decided to join forces, becoming husband and wife as well as a collaborative team. The Dillons have produced illustrations for books, posters, advertisements, and other media, employing a stunning range of techniques. They have favorite media, but don’t hesitate to learn new skills if they feel an assignment demands it, or to invent a technique if no existing one is satisfactory. Collaborative art requires flexibility, and the Dillons believe it is important to “take advantage of accidents and surprises.” A work in progress will pass back and forth between them countless times during production, with each continuing and improving upon the work. The finished product is a unique blend that cannot be separated into “his” or “her” contributions. The Dillons have illustrated over forty books and are the recipients of numerous awards, including both the 1976 and 1977 Caldecott Awards. Leo Dillon was the first African-American artist to win that award.