Stone artist, Akie Nakata, from Japan, is a painter who’s “rocking” the trend of transforming pebbles into gorgeous, almost life-like work of art.

From Tamagotchi to teddy bears, it’d seem many people have always been obsessed with having teeny tiny cute animals around them, even if they aren’t alive.

Sure, this creations may not be able to do much for us apart from being adorable, but just seeing and touching their cute little faces and feel like a parent (just for a second) is enough to make you lead a great day.

But now, a Japanese artist has taken the art of creating tiny cute animals to a whole new level, with her drop-dead collection of painted stones.

Akie Nakata – popularly known as Akie – has loved picking up stones ever since she was a little girl, selecting the ones she felt had the best “character.”

Her inspiration for painting small stones into adorable tiny animals came a few years ago while taking a walk along a riverbank and encountered a particular pebble that looked like a rabbit.

Speaking to My Modern Met, she said:

“Stones have their own intentions, and I consider my encounters with them as cues […] to go ahead and paint what I see on them.”

Since then, she has been turning pebbles and stones into incredibly detailed cats, dogs, mice, birds, possums and more. Now, she delights more than 83,000 Instagram followers with her beautiful creations.

Akie considers each character she creates carefully. She asks herself, ‘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’s surfaces with acrylic paint.

Opting to paint the eyes last, she considers her work complete when ‘the eyes are now alive and looking back [at her.]’

She says:

“To me, completing a piece of work is not about how much detail I draw, but whether I feel the life in the stone.”

Her creations are utterly adorable and incredibly realistic. She says that when she holds one cute animal in her hand, she feels everything it has ‘silently witnessed over the millennia.’

Believing each stone has its own story to tell, the self-taught artist breathes life into every pebble with her works of art.

She reveals:

“Sometimes I paint while I talk to the stone as I hold it in my hand.”

Akie now hopes everyone treasure her pebble pets just as they treasure their own lives, because, as she puts it, ‘we all stand on the same earth, and we come from the same earth.’