An octopus inked on the arm serves as a reminder of the
monstrous, majestic, and totally freaking awesome power of nature. There is something about these animals that simply cannot be duplicated by another creature in the world.
The octopus can still remind a person that there is magic in the world and that there are giants in the deepest parts of the ocean.
A octopus tattoo will provide a glimpse of the majestic monster. It also symbolizes that you are big and able to take on the troubles of the world better than others.
You have enough arms to take life by the guts and squeeze if you need to. You are telling the world that you are not afraid of darkness because you are brave enough to conquer it.
Octopus Tattoo Ideas
This unique octopus tattoo uses a variety of cool abstract techniques to deliver quality body art. The brilliant color palette of purple suckers and orange base works effectively in creating a vivid, eye catching art work, while the detail chiseled into the suckers makes it seem like they could grip anything and not be pried loose. Also like the small detail work along the animal’s tentacles making a different colored bubble effect on the skin.
A classical black and gray delivery for this Octopus. He looks like he’s pressed right up against the glass of an aquarium, with the suckers laid out and fully engaged. The realism of this piece is somewhat subverted by the complete weirdness of the tattoo’s aspect, which makes it work from an innovation standpoint.
Suckers are a key component in the creation of a top quality octopus tattoos. If they aren’t done to a base level effectiveness it’s impossible to deliver a quality tattoo. This part of the subject’s upper arm sleeve exemplifies the attractive technical aspects of suckers. It incorporates interesting shape and flow, good counterbalance between white and black ink highlights that draw out realism, plus an iconic layer of contrast to the rest of the Octopus’ anatomy.
This is a killer octopus tattoo. The artist has combined the best elements of ‘death tattoos’ – darker aspect, skull creation, wicked shading effects – to put together a seriously unique bicep tattoo. The understated sucker detail looks shaped and blackened like the muzzle of a shotgun. Also like the negative space tentacle at top left and eyes as it establishes contrast and a degree of extra breadth.
Love this old school style octopus. It’s a great amalgam of American Traditional concepts given a pulp fiction book style texture in black. The key to this ink’s success is the unique shadow technique created with a variety of multi directional hashes and fine line. The artist works these fillers in a variety of different ways to create depth, strength, and detail. The tattoos protruding from the eye are uncomfortable looking but cleverly constructed. And there’s never downside to a fanged skull either.
A great full octopus tattoo based on traditional black and gray style giving the art cool shading effects more aligned with cloud or waves. Unlike other pieces critiqued so far this ink incorporates significant detail into the mantle and head of the big sea creature. Making this area a focal point is clever, as the tentacles and suckers are perfectly inked but are only a minor piece of the work. The black fuzzy fill shading could be considered a bit too heavy – the main image is dark enough – however it does give the bottom of the sea effect needed to complete the idea.
Another cool Skulltopus which looks like death floating through the ocean – I think i’d rather fight Jaws with my bare hands than get anywhere near this dude. It’s a very thick and busy concept tattoo with unique technical aspects, such as the bubble rot tentacles and water color/line tattoo fuzzy fill shading.
The clarity and skill of the line work in this octopus tattoo is amazing. It’s a vivid, crisp use of black ink reminiscent of an old school American Traditional piece rather than sketch like realism. The canny use of subtle shade elements contribute brilliantly to this effect, while the suckers look they could lock on to anything.
This octopus upper arm sleeve tattoo does a great job utilizing various negative space elements in support of strong black line execution. The suckers look good because the artist has resisted the temptation to fancy fill each circle. The big fella’s eye is the best part of the tattoo; it’s cleanly etched with an all knowing look imbued into the shadow. The use of weird, scratchy/patchy shading makes the octopus’ mantle (the big round bit) look like a funky bowling ball.
Putting this half sleeve upper arm ink into the horizontal allows it to be a broader, more flowing Octopus tattoo. It’s a clever manipulation of space from the artist, who then incorporates top quality suckers, and tentacles creeping across the image like vines on a bush. Using the washed blue background ink makes a nice contrast for the traditionally shaded black and gray.
Color upgrades this piece from mediocre to good, while darker/more emphatic detail put into the suckers would put it into the next tier – totally bad ass. The vivid orange gives this octopus a funky, flaming look that works fantastically as ink on skin.
An exceptional representation of the sea monster Cthulhu that was first created by horror writer H.P. Lovecraft in the 1920s. To look upon the creature was to invite insanity and horror for it’s victims. This upper arm sleeve uses tremendous detail and shading in black and gray to bring the big nasty to life – the artist has effectively utilized an image part octopus, part Predator, and all destroyer, to illustrate it crushing a ship within it’s vast tentacles.
The earthworm characteristics of this alien octopus are fantastically fat and vivid, with well inscribed suckers attached to the ugly limbs like limpets. The tattooist’s decision to place the image higher up on the subject’s shoulder allows for a broader, larger sized arm tattoo that plays well to it’s strengths in detail and shape. The mantle and head of the creature is another highlight – they eyes are like large, liquid marvels displaying appetite and menace.
This is a beautifully executed half sleeve drawn in the traditional style. The brilliance of the work lies in the subtle shade effects, such as alternating, leathery gray black texture of the skin color supported by simple yet genuinely clever suckers, or the bubble like imprints on mantle and head. This octopus tattoo lacks the sizzle of other works on this list, but it offers masterful technique and a commitment to quality ink.
The painstaking old-timey realness of this octopus makes for a transcendent piece of body art. Just the rippling, bubbling skin of the beast is an epic dedication to flawless style and technique. This is a premier tattoo and a complete image, that would certainly grace the front of this artist’s portfolio.
This octopus tattoo is great but for reasons surrounding the nicely etched eight tentacled focal point. This work stands out because the artist has capably determined that focusing on the other fill elements to this half sleeve – the school of fish, blackened boat hull, and even a sneaky skull placed at the bottom – make a better balanced nautical theme. It’s paid off handsomely and fashioned a sleeve tattoo of the highest quality.
The head of this octopus looks like a woman’s dress that’s been kicked up by a gust of wind to show tentacles instead of legs. Awkward. It’s a solid piece made to stand out by brilliant technical application of dotwork shading nestled amongst fine black outlines. Rather than make them bold and thick, the decision to have the suckers sketched in works brilliantly against the back drop of dots. It’s the type of tattoo you appreciate more the longer you look at it, which is great for an image so permanent.
I love a well depicted combination image, especially when clever use of negative space underpins the tattoo delivery. The balance between the nifty human skull and octopus beside it is smartly achieved. There’s little bombast to the combination, they’re drawn effectively – with opposing types of line work and fill – then separated by negative space. One area that’s a let down in an otherwise brilliant piece is the lack of sharp detail in tentacles and suckers. It seems as though the artist’s aim was to mix the heads in, and then ran out of time/motivation/budget to put the needed work in to the limbs.
These suckers stand out in a dark patterned yet effective upper arm octopus. They look like they have the strength to latch on to a boat’s underside and then drag it into the depths for fun. The clarity of each circular groove is enhanced by small pieces of white ink highlight.
Using negative space to contrast the naturally dark ink works cleanly as this octopus grasps the old school diving helmet. The dark lines are edged with contrasting fill that allows the dark shadow fill to offset interesting details such as the helmet’s components, screws, and octopus suckers. It’s not flashy but is well put together.
This 3D new wave octopus is deliberately bloated and gross, which makes it more innovative than most other works. This ink reminds me of Jabba the Hut’s fat weirdness, with an excellent contrast of sickly color layered in to further the bilious nature of the creature. I love how the large central anchor is crafted realistically and threaded with solid black ink offset by crisp angles and shade flourishes. It adds scale and perspective to the ink while the bright octopus throttles it unmercifully.
This is epic. I love the red through maroon color effect crafted flawlessly by the artist. They’ve layered the colors over each other like netting to give the piece tremendous texture, while adding key realism in the laser focused keyhole eye of the Octopus. You won’t find a half sleeve tattoo better than this stupendous match of color and style.
The key to this body art are the fantastic curves of black outline for head and tentacles. They create a subtly spiralling image that the tattooist has used to emphasize the shading of gray scale and negative space. The suckers are also unique – they’ve been deftly spaced and look fresh in mixing straight fill with small, shadowy black accents.
This is a well etched octopus in the realist style featuring clever dark shades, and sensible flourishes of white ink. The one think I’d do differently for such a dark tattoo is lighten the black fill effect, either though using another contrasting color or wider range of gradient shade. The heavy black is too heavy handed around the already dark
The eye of this abstract octopus tattoo sleeve is a brilliant highlight. The liquid orb reminds of a scuba mask in it’s shape. It’s well delivered with black transition fill augmented by small patches of white highlights inside and along the border. The eye effect is carried further by the craft work of heavy gray shade which is given a circular idea by the way it fills around the orb. The single tentacle is cleverly done as well, creating an opportunity to fill the inner bicep with a useful design point and link with the subject’s other body art
This is a cracking above/below the sea, octopus tattoo. The beast is just about to come through the surface to devour the excellently inscribed ship. The water transition is depicted with fantastic subtlety by use of savage negative space whitecaps whipped by wind and the octopus. This is a quality, traditional black and gray tattoo.
A funky, incredibly cleanly delivered color upper arm tattoo. The heavily layered color palette of the octopus cycles through bright orange but also offers subtle black shade highlights and white highlight to add gloss to it’s appearance. As vivid as the creature looks it’s technically surpassed by the brilliant bronze diving helmet. The clarity created by the artist through clean color and the detail threaded into screws and mask adds to the class of the entire tattoo.
Love the hatchwork black line alt fill which gives this version of Cthulhu an innovative crocodile skin effect. It’s a great piece of technique. The head too is different, opting for a longer bullet headed shape with skull type facial features. The one quibble I have with this image are the tentacles – I think another style fill apart from fat black color would have worked better in contrast, while the suckers are just simple, negative space circles.
This upper arm octopus is an amazing example of keeping an idea simple but using spare yet effective technical applications to fashion an amazing tattoo. The horizontal lines across the beast’s skin looks tremendous and is well supported by effective shade angles to strengthen it’s effects. This ink goes to the next level by craft sucker creation – it’s almost sketched in to the tattoo with double line type effects that oppose the lightness in the rest of the work. I also love the tattooist’s use of placing a tentacle above the well defined octopus head. It stretches up above and fills out the placement with graceful, curving lines.
A classy neo traditional octopus tattoo. As is the case with ink delivering a variation on American Traditional it’s compact, well colored and shaped by beautiful line work. The message in a bottle is crafted with great care, and opting to have the creature upside down gives it a cool, alternative effects. Love the small, flowing white lines to assist the curvature in the crisp blue lines.
This lifelike Octopus could have been pulled straight from the inside feature of a glossy Nat Geo magazine. I love the blue ocean back fill which helps the almost subdued creature pop further from the skin. The octopus itself is transfixing, because it looks so real. This is masterful realism tattoo.
A great, minimalist style octopus delivered on a large scale. I’m not sure of the aim is to have this image filled in, but that doesn’t matter. Love the mix of long, sliding curves working against the pocket patterns of shorter stripes and tufts. Towards the top the eyes and suckers are given abstract treatment through out of whack circles, and double imaging.
A cool and funky Japanese tattoo depicted with killer use of color – both the aqua and pink manage to straddle the line between subtlety and brightness with skill. Also like the bubbles of gray blue used to shade the tattoo – they’re a great alternative to more traditional skin applications.
A disorienting color octopus, although that may be caused by the triple image. The highlight is the fine, light, circular skin patterns opposing the salmon and sky blue color scheme. The thicker black outlines also work well, however the area of the creatures head and mantle is far too busy to keep the ink completely clean.
Another traditional Japanese style tattoo well placed onto the subject’s skin. It starts well above the arm and shoulder joint, which fashions a great natural shape for the mantle but also creates room for traditional negative space fillers such as waves and smoke to get to work. It’s a shame the image is fully side on, because a more rounded one would further show off this ink’s quality.
I love the horizontal shading on the tentacles in this dark aspected image of octopus and skull, while the suckers also do a great job of contrasting the thicker lines and black. Not a big fan of the head – it needs more clarity – but with the skull ink acting as the focal point around the creature it’s not really an issue.
The suckers on this bad boy look like Simpsons style ham steaks – they’re brilliant at contributing to the new wave effects of the rest of the tattoo. The octopus itself is extremely weird, using different bits of technique to create the color and pattern effects to create slick skin and the colorful underside of the tentacles. The pineapple is a killer touch, it’s bright, clean and nuanced.
This is a brilliant tribal octopus tattoo. Love the traditional shading effects – the arrows and spear points are clear and fresh, coming straight from the Polynesian playbook – the way they snake down the subject’s arm are masterful manipulations of space and pattern. The head and mantle of the octopus looks wicked, while the eye fits beautifully within the image to look all knowing. This is fantastic work.
This is an amazing piece of electric color and bright, balanced imagery. The vivid jellyfish combines with fill elements to stand out against the rusted, broken diving suit. Above that, the creature is bright and cleverly etched, with subtle, realistic features, such as skin bubbles and nodules creating opportunities for texture.