Artist Uses Nature To Complete Beautiful Paper Animal Silhouettes

paper animals

Photo Credit: Nikolai Tolsty

Artist Nikolai Tolsty creatively joins images of paper animal silhouettes in a natural setting to produce beautiful artwork with a unique twist. The combination is surprising, yet perfect, with the surroundings offering color for the cutout as well as a scene to frame the animal. Tolsty carves out the sleek animal silhouette on a sheet of paper and then photographs the cutout, superimposed on the world around him.

Papercutting as art has been practiced since at least the sixth century in China, but it was only in the 16th or 17th century that this craft stretched all the way to Europe. The manufacturing of paper didn’t begin in Europe until the 10th century.

Tolsty searches for an authentic and visually engaging background using everything from tree trunks worn with rustic lines to freshly fallen autumn leaves, dewdrop-covered grass, brilliantly bold flower petals, and everything in between, leaving his options practically endless.


Each photo in this ongoing project settles on a section of scenery that compliments the latest paper creature. The artist’s work also demonstrates the power of contrast, with sharp lines of the paper silhouettes complementing the lush textures of the environment. While it’s a simple project, aiming to capture the many shapes and forms of beauty that unceasingly occupy the world around us, it’s also beautifully original.


humming bird