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This Amazing Artist Recreates Exotic Birds as Lifelike Paper Sculptures

Paper Bird Art by Diana Beltran Herrera

Kakapo

Artist Diana Beltran Herrera pays homage to all types of birds by meticulously rendering our feathered friends as paper sculptures. For years, we have marveled over her ability to translate birds’ beautiful plumage and their majestic wingspans into faux creatures who, at first glance, look like the real thing.

Herrera’s lifelike paper flock features birds of all shapes and sizes, from the majestic salmon-crested cockatoo to the fluttering violet-crowned woodnymph. Achieving these incredible likenesses—regardless of breed—is the result of much research. “I spend a lot of hours collecting images of the subject in different positions,” Herrera explains to My Modern Met, “then I do some reading to find the right measurements.” The color of the birds is also an important aspect to the artist, so she spends additional time trying to find the right shades and tones of paper. All told, it takes a minimum of a week to research a particular bird. “It isn’t just looking at a photo and grabbing some scissors to cut the paper,” she explains. “I do a lot of planning, so half the work is getting all the pieces and their measurements.”

Once the research is complete, Herrera begins to build her subject. She starts with an armature using the same paper that the rest of the creature will be made of. “When I started to work with paper,” she recalls, “I was developing very structural elements. I used to have a lot of strips of paper that I used to cut and glue to form a volume.” This approach has stuck, and now she uses it whenever she produces a three-dimensional object. “I find it very flexible because almost any shape can be created with paper.”

Herrera has built a lot of sculptures, but she still has many types of birds she’d like to recreate. “I would like to do really ordinary birds such as a seagull and a pigeon,” she shares. “These are birds I see every day and are so undermined. I find beauty in them and feel sorry that they have become so used to living in our artificial environment.” Although wistful, she enjoys studying these common creatures and respects them. She admits, “They are quite smart.”

Artist Diana Beltran Herrera pays homage to our feathered friends through her paper bird art.

Bird Sculpture Paper

Spix macaw in progress

Bird Sculpture Paper

Spix macaw

Herrera dedicates a lot of time to researching her subjects and getting their measurements, proportions, and coloring just right.

Bird Sculpture Paper

European robin in progress

Bird Paper Sculpture by Diana Beltran Herrera

European robin

The results are faux creatures who, at first glance, look like the real thing.

Bird Paper Sculpture by Diana Beltran Herrera

Rufous headed robin

Paper Bird Art by Diana Beltran Herrera

Eurasian hoopoe

Paper Bird Art by Diana Beltran Herrera

Eurasian hoopoe

Paper Bird Art by Diana Beltran Herrera

European Magpie

Paper Bird Art by Diana Beltran Herrera

Racket tailed Drongo

Bird Paper Sculpture by Diana Beltran Herrera

Salmon-crested cockatoo

Bird Paper Sculpture by Diana Beltran Herrera

​King bird of paradise

Bird Sculpture Paper

Hummingbird in progress

Bird Sculpture Paper

Violet-crowned woodnymph

Bird Sculpture Paper

Northern flicker with decoration

Diana Beltran Herrera: Website | Instagram | Facebook

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Diana Beltran Herrera.

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