Appalachian Mountain Top Removal LEGO sculpture
Mike Doyle's "Appalachian Mountain Top Removal" sculpture is constructed from about 10,000 Lego pieces.

Ah, Legos. These iconic toy blocks are generally regarded as staple of childhood, but there's a bevy of serious artists out there who are doing amazing things with the medium.

"Beautiful LEGO: Wild!" cover

We get a taste of some of these artistic possibilities in "Beautiful LEGO: Wild," a gorgeous photo book that was released in 2015 by No Starch Press to much fanfare. The book features whimsical toy block sculptures made by both hobbyists and professional fine artists.

World-renowned Lego artist Mike Doyle (whose intricate "Appalachian Mountain Top Removal" sculpture is seen above) was inspired to put together this vibrant compendium of nature-themed sculptures following the success of the previous two "Beautiful LEGO" books.

"One of the best things about looking at Lego creations is the discovery that shapes are not what they seem to be at first glance," Doyle explains. "Seeing how simple shapes combine to give the illusion of a bigger picture is exciting."

"Sea Otter Mum and Pup" LEGO sculpture
"Sea Otter Mum and Pup" by Sachiko Akinaga

What makes the "Wild!" book so compelling is the way the artists have compensated for the medium's rigid "blockiness" to produce work that takes on the soft, forgiving qualities of its organic living subjects.

As Doyle explains in the book's preface, "[animal] forms need to be recognizable and specific, and the tight curves and appendages can be difficult to achieve with Lego pieces."

One artist who excels at building animals from Lego blocks is Sean Kenney, whose uncanny sculptures are reminiscent of pixelated artwork. One of his most celebrated works, "Monarch," is created using more than 60,000 Lego pieces:

"Monarch" LEGO sculpture
"Monarch" by Sean Kenney

"I like to think that what I create is more than just a bunch of pieces pressed together the right way," Kenney explains in the book. "My sculptures need to be rooted in personal expression and have some kind of educational or artistic value."

Want to see more fantastic Lego art? Continue below for a small selection of sculptures found within the book, or better yet, go out and pick up your own copy to see them all!

"Senneck's Reside" LEGO sculpture
"Senneck's Reside" by David Hensel
"Fawn and Doe" LEGO sculpture
"Fawn and Doe" by Sean Kenney
"Aquarium Tank" LEGO sculpture
"Aquarium Tank" by Andy Hung Chi Kin
"Cool Puggie" LEGO sculpture
"Cool Puggie" by Marcos Bessa
"Reading Dreams" LEGO sculpture
"Reading Dreams" by Barbara Werth
"Macaw" LEGO sculpture
"Macaw" by Carlos Mendez
"The Fox and the Flower" LEGO sculpture
"The Fox and the Flower" by Mihai Marius Mihu
"Rose" LEGO sculpture
"Rose" by Chris Wunz
"Gone Fishin'" LEGO sculpture
"Gone Fishin'" by Jimmy Fortel