In early November, Yoshihiro Watanabe, 33, worked silently at his home in the city of Kumamoto, concentrating for two hours as he cut out a sheet of colored paper. Without any sketch on the paper, he made a cutout using a pair of scissors as if drawing with a single stroke of a brush.

What came out was a detailed cutout of a dinosaur, an instantly recognizable triceratops. Watanabe, who has autism, is currently working hard on his craft for an exhibition at a museum in Belgium in the spring.

Watanabe does not look at samples or references when he works. With his hands and a pair of scissors, he turns sheets of paper into precise cutouts of insects and animals, and transforms dry leaves into realistic-looking creatures that seem so lifelike they might move at any moment.