155+ Realistic Octopus Tattoo Designs and Meanings


The octopus is meant to be a master of disguise. It has the ability to escape attacks from predators, and can defeat other sea creatures who are three times its normal size. These features are just some of the qualities that a lot of people like to associate with their tattoo – And since the octopus comes in a variety of sizes, colors, and shapes, the possibilities of building a completely unique tattoo are endless.

In various societies and cultures, the octopus is always a recurring character in underwater myths and legends. For example, the ancient cultures of India, Egypt, Greece, and Babylon all contained myths where an octopus, or an octopus-sized creature, tries to stop life on land for whatever reason it may be. And the hero of these myths must overcome these nasty creatures, since they are seen as an enemy of Earth’s inhabitants. Getting an octopus tattoo could also be a good way to represent these cultures, especially if the particular artistic style of a culture is incorporated into the tattoo design. It can also be used to depict the wearer’s own commitment to life, or as a way to defy an enemy who tries to do things their own way.

Octopus Tattoo Designs

The octopus is a popular marine life tattoo design that is suited for both ladies and gentlemen. People who get an octopus tattoo design is often drawn into its powerful and symbolic depiction. The octopus is a flexible creature and tattoo design, which provides its artists with a bigger allowance for creativity’s sake. Apart from this, however, the octopus has frequently been used as a character in plenty of movies, stories, and cartoons. This allows more people to relate and sympathize with the creature. These are perhaps the main reasons as to why the octopus makes a fantastic tattoo design. And as time went on, better knowledge and understanding about this illusive sea creature started to come up to the surface, together with better ideas for tattoos. This gives plenty of people to choose the octopus as their first tattoo.

  • Graffiti-style Octopus Tattoo: The graffiti-style octopus tattoo looks amazing as a design. It’s an almost fantastical tattoo design as a whole. The detailing, the ink lines, and the color make this particular tattoo look awesome. The way the artist drew this tattoo is just amazing, and it creates a strong impression about a character who sticks in the individual’s mind.
  • Octopus and Compass Tattoo: This involves a green octopus who has spikes and spots. The design can be worn nicely on the person’s arm, so that it gives the impression that the creature is floating upside down, or hovering over. The color has been nicely incorporated into the design. The octopus is also holding a compass here, which is meant to be a sign of protection and good luck for sailors who travel on the sea. A compass is also a good representation of having to stay on course, and serves as a guide for finding your way back home. Perfect color injection and excellent lining make this tattoo a great piece which you can enjoy for so many years.
  • Cartoon Octopus Tattoo: Acquiring an animated-looking octopus tattoo is highly popular for those who love pirates or have dreamed of travelling across the high seas. A cartoonish octopus tattoo doesn’t always mean outlandish or silly. Instead, you can add in other human-like traits, like a hook, an eyepatch, or a treasure chest, into the design itself. Creating an animated octopus tattoo also lets you play with the animal’s own features. Will your octopus tattoo wear a scary expression because it’s about to attack a ship? Or are you going to make it wear glasses and get it to read books? Combining animal and human elements into your octopus tattoo is the best way to make it look unique.
  • Halo Octopus Tattoo: This design is not only clean, but completely simple and stylish at the same time. It’s got light shading and amazingly fine ink lines, which makes the octopus stand out against the wearer’s own skin. Some fantastic dotting work is also done here, which is meant to accentuate the look of the octopus. This will carry on towards the blue mandala-style halo found on top of the sea creature. It’s a stunning design as a whole, not to mention a finely-executed piece of art. It is a tattoo that will surely cement the octopus as one of the finest creatures of the ocean.
  • Octo-Skull Tattoo: This design incorporates a warped skull look, with several tentacles crawling out of it. The tentacles make their way around the arms and the shoulders. It’s got a really creepy look to it, like death reincarnated – As if the octopus has moved into a cranium shell and slowly glides its way through the deep, dark abyss. The inscription used for the tattoo also has amazing linework, and great highlighting. It’s been paired up with a wonderful shading work, giving it a cool and bold design. You can wear this particular tattoo as a dark totem to ward off evil spirits, or even as some sort of badge of honor which you can wear to the grave.

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Octopus Tattoo Meaning

A lot of the symbolic qualities that come with the octopus and an octopus tattoo are taken from its special abilities, or its physical appearance. For example, when an octopus is trapped by a predator or a rival, then it can actually break off one of its tentacles to be able to escape immediately. The tentacle will grow back after a period of time. This is the reason why the octopus is sometimes considered to be a symbol of regeneration or rebirth.

Apart from that, the octopus’ physical characteristics are also meant to symbolize the qualities of resourcefulness and versatility, which the octopus also uses wisely to help itself escape. One more attribute that’s exclusive to the octopus is its ability to change its color, depending on its current environment. This is a skill that the octopus can use to its advantage, to hunt for prey and hide from predators. Their ability to be able to change their appearance and colors is utilized to a person’s characteristics of ingenuity and adaptability. Meanwhile, the octopus’ giant eyes can mean the wearer’s own visions of the past or future or be associated with a powerful brain or being highly knowledgeable. In an octopus tattoo, you can either depict it as holding onto something or letting something go.

Octopus Tattoo Placement                                       

Octopus tattoos are highly flexible, which could mean only one thing: It lets you place the design on practically every part of the body. Depending on the size that you want for your tattoo, as well as the amount of detail you want to put in with the design, you can easily figure out which part of the body works the best as a canvas for the octopus tattoo.

The legs, the arms, and the back are the best places to put an octopus tattoo on. These areas will let the artist put emphasis on the octopus’ best features, which are its eight tentacles. For a fully elaborate and detailed design of an octopus tattoo, a giant back piece will certainly fit this concept well. But for those individuals who prefer to have a simple standalone tattoo, then the legs and arms are most likely the best places to put them on.

Before you could book yourself for an upcoming tattoo appointment, be sure to think about it carefully for at least a week or two – To make sure that you know deep down that you really want to get a tattoo done. This is to help stop any rash and sudden decisions that you could most likely end up regretting in a couple of years’ time.

Choose a tattoo design that will definitely suit your own personality, your skin tone (if you want to get a colored tattoo), and the spot where you want to place it on. Because this is most likely your first tattoo, it’s always good to ask for the advice of a professional – Preferably a skilled tattoo artist. When you’re discussing potential tattoo ideas, be sure to ask them to incorporate your own preferred ideas in the design, and ask them what you can do to make it seem like it’s the best octopus tattoo in the world.

Keep yourself hydrated as well. Before you can head on out to the shop to get the tattoo done, drink plenty of water on the days leading up to the appointment.  Keeping your skin well-hydrated ensures that it’ll be in a better condition for getting a tattoo done, and it also means that your skin won’t have a hard time accepting the ink, making the entire process much easier and quicker to do, compared to dehydrated skin.

Is Getting An Octopus Tattoo Painful?

Since the needles used by a tattoo gun come into close contact with your nerves and bones, they will strike against the area dozens of times in very high speeds. This could feel similar to an intense vibrating feeling – Some people think that it’s not painful at all, but it’s not pleasant either. The less fat or muscle found on top of a bony area, the more painful it’ll be.

The shoulders and arms aren’t that susceptible to pain, however – And not only that, the artist can gain access to them easily as well, together with any part of the body that has a decent amount of fat in it. All parts of the body which contain plenty of flesh and muscle on it will result in a less painful tattooing process. This means the legs, the thighs, the upper forearms or the arms, and the shoulders. Areas where the skin is a bit more firm, like the top of the leg or the calf, also results in a less painful tattooing experience. If this is your first tattoo and you’re not sure if you’ll be able to withstand the pain or not, then stick to those areas just to be safe.

Frequently Asked Questions About Octopus Tattoos

  • Do you need an appointment, or can you walk in?

A lot of tattoo shops will accept a walk-in, but they still prefer it if you could book an appointment beforehand. Keep in mind that the artist’s own availability for accepting phone calls is only limited. The best way for you to book an appointment is to pay a visit to the shop and talk to them. But when it comes to customized tattoos, these artists will suggest that you come in the shop to do a consultation before the session can begin.

  • How long does a tattoo take to be completed?

The amount of time it takes to finish off a tattoo will depend on many factors. Not only does it involve the size of your tattoo, but the color and the positioning will also play an important role regarding the overall cost and time placed in the piece from beginning to the end. And like always, be sure to talk to your tattoo artist and figure out the time it takes to complete the tattoo before the initial session appointment, so you won’t be too surprised in the end.

  • Do you do touch-ups on a tattoo?

Plenty of artists might just provide you with a touch-up after the first six months of getting the tattoo. These touch-ups are great for correcting mistakes, which could happen as your tattoo heals up. It’s not exactly unusual for a tiny bit of color to come out of the tattoo as it heals up, and the artist is always willing to fix up these things for a free price, just as long as you follow the steps for maintenance.

  • Can I bring my kids?

Children are not allowed inside a tattoo shop – This applies to anyone who is making a ruckus, is unruly, loud, rude, etc. No refunds will be made. Always remember that other people who have kids have most likely made babysitting arrangements and want to get a tattoo done without screaming kids running around the shop and causing chaos.

  • Where on my body should I get a tattoo?

This decision is completely up to you. Your artist could recommend a placement of your tattoo, thanks to its size or shape – But the final choice will all depend on the wearer.

How Much Does An Octopus Tattoo Cost?

The final cost of a tattoo will depend on the place, and the skill of the artist, among other factors. If you currently reside in a small town and there are only a couple of artists found near you, then a price could go as high as $200. That’s because there aren’t any competing shops that could challenge the high price of the tattoo. But if you live in a big city in which there are plenty of shops around every corner, then this means you can get your tattoos done at a very low cost. This could also go the other way around: A large city equals expensive tattoos and a small town can result in an affordable tattoo.

But before you can get your first tattoo, be sure to check to see how much it costs for you to get one done. You can pay a visit to a nearby tattoo shop and ask for an estimated price. After that, be sure to make a comparison of the prices and see which shop offers the best service that’s the best value for your cash.

Octopus Tattoo Maintenance Tips

The aftercare process begins after the tattoo is finished. The artist will initially place a thin coat of petroleum-based ointment on top of your new ink, then cover it up using a bandage or a plastic wrap. The covering stops bacteria from getting into the tattoo and infecting it. It can also stop the tattoo from getting irritated and rubbing onto fabric.

Leave the dressing on for a couple of hours. This can help absorb the excess ink or fluids that leak from the finished tattoo. You can only remove the bandage during the recommended number of hours that your artist tells you – Sometimes it’ll last for a few hours, or even a day. Wash your hands first using soap and lukewarm water, then clean up the tattoo using a scent-free mild antibacterial soap, and water.

You can now remove the bandage and clean up the tattoo. This process must be repeated for two to three times a day, until the tattoo is completely healed up. The moisturizer on the skin will wear off eventually, and the tattoo might seem as if it’s oozing out a sticky and thick substance. This is normal – It’s just additional fluid and ink from the tattooing process.


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