Science and Art: This Artist Creates Meticulous Human Anatomy Cutouts

Posted by

The human anatomy is so beautiful, complex and mysterious. Light & Paper founder Ali Harrison perfectly captured that in her intricate paper cutouts or “handcuts.” Sounds simple? Well, you have to check out how difficult it is to create these jaw-dropping masterpieces.

Where It All Begins

Harrison started creating this meticulous craft just because of her desire to give a unique Christmas present. She simply began with a cutting board from her kitchen and a box cutter she just borrowed. When she realized how much she loves paper-cutting, she founded Light & Paper. But this time, she uses a cutting mat and an even sharper blade like x-acto knife.


A post shared by Ali – Light & Paper (@lightandpaperali) on

Harrison’s business became very successful. When she started having a hard time fulfilling every order because of the time-consuming task of hand-cutting, she resorted to laser-cutting. Most of her designs focus on human organs.

How to Create

Despite the complexity of the craft, the materials and way of execution is simple enough to understand. Harrison first draws her designs on paper by using the blade like a pen. In this way, the cuts would be smooth and detailed. The patterns inside the outlined area are actually based on free-hand drawing. Harrison would just continue until the whole area is filled with patterns. She explained she has no idea what the result would be as soon as she starts.

To transform the drawings into products, the patterns become the basis of housewares cut by lasers. First, the drawings must be scanned into the computer. With Adobe Illustrator, the designs are converted into vector images. After pressing print, the laser does the rest for the final output. Every piece requires 20 to 60 hours just to be completed.


Harrison also welcomes ideas other than hers. Her website encourages people to send her ideas for projects. She aims to expand her business even more. For example, she made a bicycle cutout to serve as a cake topper. She also created a city landscape with cutouts to represent buildings, trees, mountains, and other architectural and nature inspirations.

Other Light & Paper products are coasters, window installations, table numbers, gallery wall pieces and ornaments. In particular, Harrison’s window installation for AGO and BRIKA received a lot of praises. It is inspired by the infamous painter Vincent van Gogh’s “The Starry Night.” The overall look is composed of layered cutouts of different sizes and colors. Some of the pieces were even huge, making you more amazed by Harrison’s craft and dedication.

The artist also has a campaign for Planned Parenthood through her t-shirts with the design based on the female reproductive system. Aside from this human anatomy design, Harrison also produces cutouts inspired by the human heart, lungs and brain.

Final Thoughts

It is amazing how traditional art and technology combine. Some people may think that technology can ruin the idea of art. But, Harrison, together with her business Light & Paper, prove that technology can enhance art and even immortalize it. Not only that, it is also mind-blowing to think that one simple idea can turn into a successful thing. That’s why don’t stay in your comfort zone when you know you have the talent.