Leo and Diane Dillon: Art Heroes of Mine

Last year-when I started this blog-I spent the better part of it really warming up or getting myself re-acclimated to the climate of creativity.

Before that, before my 10 artistic soul revival in London and Ireland, I had been trapped in somewhat of a creative prison. Perfection had held me hostage, so much so that I would purchase new art supplies but I would never use them out of fear of “messing them up.”

Illustration by Leo and Diane Dillon
Illustration by Leo and Diane Dillon

Praise Yeshua Jesus I am far beyond that place even though there are times that I am tempted to take on that old mind set.

So last year I stole away 15 minutes or so whenever I could to do a sketch or write a few words. Out of these exercise came the birth of new novel ideas as well as artistic collections.

In our attempts to find “self”, we must look to those who inspire us the most. ~Candice Coates

Illustration done by Leo and Diane Dillon
Illustration done by Leo and Diane Dillon

This year I want to take things to the next step. I would like to try my hand at spring-boarding from the expressions of artist who I admire the most. I feel like the 15 minute studies have transformed into warm-ups for something better. In light of that notion I have been looking at artist who absolutely inspire me with perfect humility and awe.

We all learn from someone, and who we are comes out of a result of following our leaders. I feel like I am ready to follow.

I don’t know if I will make a series of blogs like this, but for the sake of “maybe,” my first artistic heroes are Leo (1933-2012) and Diane Dillon. (To see my Pinterest page that I have dedicated to them, click HERE. I will continue to add to the page as more of their images are made available.)

Leo and Diane Dillon are known for their stellar achievements in illustration. Many of their vibrant works are the very images that many children, now adults, grew up viewing in primary school. From books such as “Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears,”  “The Chronicles of Narnia,” “The People Could Fly,” “A Wrinkle in Time,” to later publications such as “Sabriel,” by Garth Nix, the Dillon’s have offered their talents as a blessing and a feast for our eyes and imaginations.

"The Magician's Nephew" by C. S. Lewis. Illustration by Leo and Diane Dillon. This is also my favorite book in the Chronicles of Narnia Series
“The Magician’s Nephew” by C. S. Lewis. Illustration by Leo and Diane Dillon. This is also my favorite book in the Chronicles of Narnia Series

What I love most about the Dillon’s is that they shared such a harmony in their collaboration. Not only were they husband and wife, but they were partners in creation.

What draws me most to their pieces is their expression and movement. The images seem to come alive and take root in the imagination in a way supremely their own. The colors are vibrant, the textures are captivating and the flow from one dimensional plains into that of two dimensional and even three dimensional is seamless. (For more of their art, follow this LINK)

They dashed the notion of “not judging a book by its cover,” in that they made me WANT to read certain books because of the cover art they had created.

I also appreciate the way in which they portrayed not only humanity with reverence and respect, but Black people; showing us in a light that is regal, smart, intelligent, strong and yet soft and vulnerable. In times where negative portrayals and stereo types about Black people are still alive and well, the artwork and illustrations of Leo and Diane Dillon stand as beacons that shout, “We are more! We are beautiful! We matter! There is magic and wonder in our eyes!”

"Mansa Musa" By Khephra Burns. Illustration done by Leo and Diane Dillon
“Mansa Musa” By Khephra Burns. Illustration done by Leo and Diane Dillon

These two inspire me more than any other artists I have had the blessing to learn about. My desire this year is to explore their technique of illustration. I would like to see how their technique translates through my imagination and my hands.

There are several other artist who inspire me much like they do. It would be amazing to see what a marriage of all of their styles, brought together through my own uniqueness and expression will look like.

 

I plan to spend the rest of this year finding that out.

Cheers!

Image from "Miriam's Well" By Alice Bach and Cheryl Exum.  Illustration by Leo and Diane Dillon
Image from “Miriam’s Well” By Alice Bach and Cheryl Exum. Illustration by Leo and Diane Dillon

I came for the soup.dpp widgets

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