Luci Gutiérrez’s third cover for the magazine offers a whimsical take on a typical New York City commute. Gutiérrez, who is known for her clean lines and playful characters in her work, will be familiar to readers as the weekly illustrator for the magazine’s Shouts & Murmurs section. She recently spoke to us about finding inspiration through travel, her first impression of New Yorkers, and the art of the subway nap.
You’re based in Barcelona but are a frequent visitor to New York. Were your first impressions of the subway as kooky as this image suggests?
I would say it’s easier to see kooky situations in New York than in other places, and this is one of the reasons that I love New York so much. People seem to go their own way and not worry about what other people think. I ended up getting used to it, so it stopped surprising me, but I was amazed the first time I came to the city.
So much of your drawing relies on very fine, detailed observation. Is people-watching a big part of your process?
You’re right; there’s a voyeur in me, and I enjoy observing people. Especially when I’m in New York, I like going out and drawing people. I have notebooks filled with sketches. I do it for pleasure, but later I use them in my work. Most of the characters I draw are based on these sketches.
Do you get your ideas while out in the city or while sitting at your work table?
Usually at my work table, but I need to have been out in the world to get ideas. Drawing at my desk is a way to digest what I see. And I need to have a pencil in my hand to come up with ideas—in my case, they don’t come out of the blue, but a pen will draw them out.
Have you ever napped on the subway? Where do you find your own peace and calm?
I’m a big fan of sleep and, yes, I have napped a lot on the subway and never missed my station!
Besides sleeping, I find peace and calm when I have the chance to draw with no purpose. It’s a special time just for myself. It doesn’t always happen, but I’m always looking for it.
For more covers celebrating the subway, see below:
“New York Moment,” by Eric Drooker
“Straphangers,” by Liniers
“Next Stop: Spring,” by Jenny Kroik