21 Octopus Tattoo Design Ideas to Inspire You

If you’re considering finally getting that octopus tattoo you’ve been thinking about, but can’t figure out exactly what you want, then you’re in the right place.

From tiny new-school styles to intricate black and white sleeves, this comprehensive guide will give you 21 octopus tattoo design ideas.

Browse them to jump-start your brainstorming and help you design your dream octopus tattoo!

A brown octopus

Color Inspiration

Octopus Wrapping a Scuba Mask

Starting off strong, this traditional style color tattoo features an octopus’s tentacles wrapped around an old-school scuba diver’s mask. Along with the intricate design work, the colors of this tattoo make it incredibly unique. The use of warm tones juxtaposes the traditionally expected blues and greens that go with underwater scenes.

With heavy outlining and gradient color shading, this tattoo is a great option for anyone looking to add some color to their design.

Warm Colored Profile View

If you were a fan of the coloring of the previous tattoo but not so much of the design, this shoulder piece may intrigue you. Sticking with a more classic reference image, the heavy shading and use of deep reds and burnt oranges make this tattoo pop.

The light pink colors with a hint of white throughout the bottom of the tentacles add a great touch of lightness to these strong colors.

Abstract Watercolor Design

This tattoo features watercolor shading in a more abstract design. It’s a larger piece, taking up the better portion of the canvas’s upper arm and shoulder. However, the sketching of the linework and blending of the watercolors makes this tattoo feel light and delicate.

Using a range of shades, both warm and cool, make this octopus perfect for the artistic style tattoo lover.

Purple and Green Water Color

If you’re looking for something smaller and cleaner than the last design, then this idea is perfect for you. The clear detailing and thin outlining of the base sketch allow for a solid view of the octopus itself.

Adding the blends of purple, green, blue, and yellow watercolors give this tattoo an artistic flare, while still maintaining its subtlety and minimalism.

Blue Octopus on an Orange Backdrop

This colored idea ties in a bit of everything from the previous photos. The inner arm piece combines warm and cool tones while including both watercolor and traditional shading styles. The image has minimal outlining, and its lightness against the bright orange background helps this tattoo be both a statement and minimalist piece.

Japanese Chest Piece

This Japanese-style chest piece gives the octopus tattoo a whole new look. It combines traditional Japanese and new-school styles while contrasting warm and cool tones to paint a dramatic ocean-inspired scene.

It also has a great flow into a full arm sleeve, and an entire chest piece, if that’s something you’ve been eying.

This idea is a great way to go if you’re looking for a true statement piece.

The Wizard Octopus

For a more animated take, this new-school style features a blue and green magical sea creature wearing a purple wizard hat. Although small enough to fit on the outside of the canvas’s lower leg, this design provides great detail.

The wizard hat, magical wand, and smoking cauldron place a creative twist on the traditional octopus tattoo and make it hard not to fall in love with this image

Orange and Purple with a Strong Expression

Here to wrap up the colored tattoo ideas is this bold orange and black piece. Combining the use of shading and lightening techniques, like where the head seems to shine, makes this tattoo more realistic.

With the octopus’s expression, the angle that it’s drawn, and its placement on the canvas, this tattoo has an edgy and strong feel.

Traditional Styles

Black and White Detailed Traditional

This black-and-white idea is the epitome of a traditional octopus tattoo. It features a clear view of the creature’s eyes and head and places a dramatic emphasis on its tentacles. It has accurate shading and uses white space to create contrast throughout the drawing.

If you’re looking for a simple and classic octopus tattoo, this photo is an excellent representation.

2D Colored Traditional Style

For a different take on the traditional style, this octopus tattoo design has pops of color dispersed throughout. It has a simpler layout than the last, with clean and minimalistic outlining. This picture utilizes small bits of color to contrast the darker black points.

If you aren’t looking for a hyperrealistic 3D tattoo, this image may be a perfect fit.

Black Work Ideas

Alien-Like Back Piece

A true black work piece utilizes shading and line work to create a graphic design. This octopus tattoo example does just that. Its dramatic placement on the canvas’s upper back, the use of geometric shaping, and its alien-like expression make this piece a bold work of art.

Black and White Chest Piece

Here’s another example of a great black work style, this one being a chest piece. The upside-down octopus tattoo design features flowing tentacles and a drooping head, making its orientation an interesting view.

Between the sharp edges, smooth circles, and meticulous use of negative space, this is quite a statement piece.

Fine Line Tattoos

Fine Line Hip Placement

Pictured here is a hip tattoo that uses fine line work to create something both simple and intricate. This octopus tattoo idea can be used on a large scale, like in this picture, or shrunk down to fit your placement preferences.

If you’re into fine-line, easily read, but still unique tattoos, this is a perfect way to go.

Small Minimalistic Octopus

This photo is a great example of a small-scale octopus tattoo that uses fine line work. It has minimal shading and uses these fine lines which emphasize the tentacle’s suckers. This technique helps draw the viewer’s eyes to make the tentacles the main feature of this eight-armed creature.

The octopus tattoo design is simple, clean, and can be placed anywhere on the body.

Fine Line Hand Work

If you love hand tattoos or creative placement, this octopus tattoo idea probably caught your eye. It has a swift flow of lines and each tentacle lays perfectly along the canvas’s fingers. Although it takes up the entire hand, the negative space in this design still allows it to feel light and minimalistic.

Octopus Sleeves

Wrap Around Arm Sleeve

Here’s some inspiration for how to incorporate this theme into an arm sleeve.

In this example, the placement of its head above the elbow allows the tentacles to wrap around the length of the arm to create a sleeve. Its long span leaves extra room for linework and shading, allowing you to make it uniquely yours.

Partial Tentacle Sleeve

If you want to incorporate an octopus into a sleeve but still leave room for other tattoos, you may appreciate this picture. The placement of the octopus’s head on the canvas’s shoulder helps to leave room for other tattoos. With this, the downward flow of the tentacles help to keep a focus on the intended theme, even with additional designs.

Because the largest part of the octopus is on the shoulder, the downward flow of the tentacles allows for the placement of other tattoos while still keeping a focus on the intended theme.

Hyper-Realistic Leg Sleeve

For a different take on a sleeve, this hyper-realistic leg piece uses the larger canvas area to add immense detail and create a true art piece. Unlike many styles that feature this underwater creature, this design focuses on the head and face rather than the tentacles.

Other Options

Small Geometric Design

If small tattoos are your thing, this might be right up your alley. It’s an abstract style that would fit well anywhere on the body.

Although small enough to fit just above the elbow, as shown here, it still holds intricate detail and geometric linework to make it abstract and artistic.

Stippled Octopus

Despite its minimal use of ink, this piece really catches the eye. The stippling technique that’s used to create the shading makes this tattoo stand out, especially against the sporadic dark patches and un-shaded suckers.

It’s a big design, but if you find the right artist, you could likely shrink it down to fit your preferred placement.

Small Ankle Piece

Here is an example of another small piece that would fit well anywhere.

It features gradient tentacles that flow and wrap around one another and uses minimal detailing to create shadowing and depth, despite its small size. It’s simple, clean, and classic.

Like in this photo, an octopus tattoo can be placed alone, but it would also be a great addition to a patchwork sleeve.

Inspired for Your Octopus Tattoo?

Closeup of an octopus tattoo.

There are tons of creative and eager tattoo artists waiting to help you bring your octopus tattoo dreams to life. Now, all you need to do is figure out what that idea looks like to you.

Whether you’re loyal to watercolor, new school, traditional, or fine line tattoos (or have no idea what you want), the opportunities for octopus tattoo designs are endless. Hopefully, this list helped spark some inspiration for jumpstarting your design and creating your dream art piece.

If you’ve decided that maybe an octopus tattoo isn’t your thing, or you just really love browsing for new tattoo ideas, check out our other Tattoo Ideas posts for inspiration!

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