Panna Zsamba watercolour artist

I paint and draw fantasy creatures, birds and wildlife.

I’m Panna Zsamba, a self-taught watercolour artist based in Dublin, Ireland.

I have always been an artistic person and entertained myself by doodling ever since I was a child, however, my focus hasn't been on art from the beginning. I was born in Hungary, where I first I studied English literature and culture at college, though I took freelance web development jobs during those years. Graduating from there I became a software engineer. In a different way this career fulfilled my creative passion, but I couldn't hold in the real itch to create fine art, which burst out in my early 30s. I decided then to take my artistic self seriously, and to the next level.

First I started with landscapes, but I was missing something. I wanted to have activity in my scenes. Figurative art just broke its way out of me eventually.

Panna at work while her boss is supervising the job done
Me at work while my boss is supervising the job done

I mostly use watercolour as my primary medium, though I tend to experiment with coloured pencils a lot lately. As a kid I loved comic books, which shows in my style. My work is defined by harsh ink outlines and vivid colours I use in most paintings, the former inspired by traditional comic book and manga inking.

Panna's workspace, where the magic happens
My workspace, where the magic happens

I take my reference photos myself where possible. I want to fully own the experience each painting holds. All the adventures of getting to the spot, waiting for the right moment, the shutter sound, and eventually the artistic process are all in there in each piece.

Panna on the hunt at the Bull Island bird sanctuary
Me on the hunt at the Bull Island bird sanctuary

My choice of subject is usually inspired by folklore and myths, while I also love to capture the beauty of animals and wildlife around me, especially birds. I'm lucky to have the origins in a country that is so deeply connected to myths, and also to live in another place now, where the same can be told. I learnt to open an eye to see the fairy magic in the small everyday things. Believe me, it's there!

My Statement

I work as a fantasy and animal artist because I have always been fascinated by the beasts of stories of my childhood and myths in my readings in later life.

Part of my inspiration comes from novels and stories, but wildlife constantly affects me in almost all everyday situations, like a walk to the grocery store, or just looking at my bird feeder through the kitchen window.

I choose watercolour and ink as materials to capture my subjects because these light mediums provide a fairy-tale-like atmosphere to my work. This lightness is balanced by the sharp outlines of figures, inspired by superhero comic and manga books of my childhood.

A bird is a symbol of freedom. The supernatural lets you escape reality. When painting, my subjects work as a stress relief for me, so I can get lost in the magical world I create.

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Artwork and content © 2020 Panna Zsamba

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