Artist makes animals out of the stones she finds

When we think about art, we often think of stretched canvas, hung in museum hallways or on living room walls. But there’s no rule saying that painters have to paint on traditional canvas. Hardwood, paper, plastic and metal are all acceptable painting surfaces. In fact, Japanese artist Akie Nakata, who goes by Akie, uses found stones and rocks and transforms them into super realistic-looking animals.

Akie is inspired by the natural shapes of stones, and first had the idea for her unique creations after encountering a pebble that looked like a rabbit. She does not reshape the stones themselves in any way, instead choosing to work with what she finds. She explained to My Modern Met that she asks herself questions to ensure she’s making the right choice: “Am I positioning the backbone in the right place? Does it feel right? Am I forcing something that disagrees with the natural shape of the stone?”

She paints the stone surfaces with acrylic paint to bring her creations to life. Although the stones are not living creatures, Akie believes that they have their own “stories to tell” and tries to let the stones “speak to her.”

She showcases her work on Instagram, where she has more than 15,000 followers, and also on her Facebook page. Check out this incredibly detailed owl:

You can totally see how this strangely-shaped stone was perfect for making a crocodile:

This miniscule Pug is so cute:

The blue eyes on this Himalayan cat are so haunting:

Sometimes, Akie makes her creations available for sale, which she announces on Facebook. She does not take custom orders or advance reservations for any work in progress or future work because she uses the stones she finds as the source of her inspiration.

While we can’t guarantee that you’ll turn out anything half as amazing as Akie’s work, there are tons of ideas out there about how to make cool crafts by painting rocks, like these kindness rocks from the blog Mod Podge Rocks! that are emblazoned with inspiring messages:

Modge Podge Rocks Blog

Feeling inspired to do some rock collecting?

This story originally appeared on Simplemost. Checkout Simplemost for other great tips and ideas to make the most out of life.