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Celebrating Illustration, Design, Cartoon and Comic Art of the Mid-20th Century

Working for "the slicks"

Tuesday, April 25, 2006



This week's narrative is from the 8th issue of Illustration, excerpted with the permission of Dan Zimmer. The text is © David Saunders:

EC: I don’t need any glasses to look at these things! (laughter) I can tell you this, there came a time when I didn’t need the model to pose at all! So I used to do these things without the model, and that’s how fast we worked in the illustration business for pulp magazines.
DS: You could only afford to hire a model for the slicks, because they paid better.
EC: Yeah. If you’re working for the slick magazines, you’ve got to have a model. Yeah. You couldn’t fake anything, because in the slicks there’s a story. This is a high-class magazine. It’s not a pulp cover or that sort of stuff. (laughter)
DS: You know, it’s funny. I’ve never heard a slick illustrator call them the “slicks!” My father was a pulp illustrator who never made it to the slicks, and he always referred to them as the “slicks,” but I’ve always presumed he used that term because he was a pulp artist. Like some guy from the poor side of town who says, “Those hot-shots over there have all the luck!” But if that fellow makes it big and moves uptown, he’s not going to call himself a “hot-shot.” So, why would a slick illustrator still call himself a “slick” illustrator after he made it to the Post? Did all the slick illustrators refer to themselves that way after they’d made it to the slicks?
EC: They still used that term because the pulps used pulp paper and the slicks used slick paper. It’s always been the name of the profession. But also, the word “slick” is like the word “star” in the theater world. (Laughs)

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