Szabolcs Kókay: Wildlife Artist

Chimpanzee Pan troglodytes by Szabolcs Kókay @kokayart

Szabolcs Kókay

Hungarian conservationist and wildlife artist

Szabolcs Kókay was born in Hungary in 1976, and has been interested in nature, especially birds, since childhood. Although he has been drawing for as long as he can remember, it was only later on in his life, around the age of 20, when these two interests merged. For Szabolcs, watching and sketching nature go hand in hand, so much so that he cannot imagine doing one without the other. When potraying wildlife he is trying to have a vision of the animal within its natural habitat. That’s why he travels in search of new inspirations (like Snow Leopards in Ladakh, Birds of Paradise in Papua New Guinea, Spoon-billed Sandpiper in China).

Szabolcs Kókay
Szabolcs Kókay

Szabolcs Kókay @kokayart is a talented, respected and award-winning wildlife artist with a passion for animal conservation. Find out more about him and submit your #wildlife #art #artivism to Creatives 4 Cool Creatures #Boycott4Wildlife

After working in nature conservation, Szabolcs became a full-time artist and illustrator in 2001. He has won many international art competitions including the former British Birds ‘Bird Illustrator of the Year’ award, and Birdwatch ‘Artist of the Year’.

Study trips have taken him to various places around the world, including Trinidad, China, India, Australia, Papua New Guinea, Morocco, Uganda and Japan.

Over the years, Szabolcs’ technique when approaching painting wildlife has radically changed, as he used to work solely from photographs. He feels that the revolution in digital photography and the invention of digiscoping attributed much to this approach. He now feels lucky to have realised over time the importance of working directly from life, and in recent years he has tried to spend as much time in the field as possible.

Society Memberships

Society of Wildlife Artists

Scholarships, Awards, Prizes

2000. British Birds ‘Bird Illustrator of the Year’ PJC Award
2001-02. British Birds ‘Bird Illustrator of the Year’ 3rd place
2002. Birdwatch Artist of the Year, identification category winner
2008. Birdwatch Artist of the Year 1st prize
2010. Don Eckelberry Scholarship Award from the Society of Animal Artists
2014. Langford Press Field Sketches Award
2015. Sociedad Gaditana de Historia Natural illustration competition 2nd prize


The Natural Eye 2016


  • Birds of New Guinea, Princeton University Press
  • Woodpeckers of Europe, Bruce Coleman Publishers
  • The Black Woodpeckers, Lynx Edicions
  • Le Requin, Delachaux et Niestlé Publishers
  • Protected birds of Hungary poster series, Ministry for the Environment

Buy art, puzzles, stickers and clothing by Szabolcs Kókay

Published by Palm Oil Detectives

Hi, I’m Palm Oil Detective’s Editor in Chief. Palm Oil Detectives is partly a consumer website about palm oil in products and partly an online community for writers, scientists, conservationists, artists and musicians to showcase their work and express their love for endangered species. I have a strong voice for creatures great and small threatened by deforestation. With our collective power we can shift the greed of the retail and industrial agriculture sectors and through strong campaigning we can stop them cutting down forests. Be bold! Be courageous! Join the #Boycott4Wildlife and stand up for the animals with your supermarket choices

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