If you want tattoo ideas for men that can instill fear in others and is a symbol of danger, mystery, intelligence, and illusion, then an octopus is just what you’ve been looking for. The beauty of these creatures is that there are various options to choose from, each unique and appealing. The octopus is respected and feared, inspiring folklore and legends and making sailors worry for their lives at sea. Some are brightly colored and highly venomous, and others that will just release a squirt of ink as they use their skills at deception to outwit and escape. The octopus is an interesting and detailed animal, and this ink lends itself well to several placements, whether that is covering your entire back or the middle of your hand. There are also multiple techniques to try, from Japanese-inspired artwork to geometric.
1. Octopus and Anchor Tattoo
Many folklore tales involve mythical monsters that should be feared. According to ancient cultures, the octopus was an eight-legged monster best avoided. It makes sense that those at sea would then fear the octopus and the combination of the beast with an anchor is a common theme. The creature is associated with many things, including deception, intelligence, mystery, flexibility, and unpredictability. An anchor tattoo, on the other hand, represents stability, strength, and resilience. The joining of these two seemingly contrasting things makes for an interesting and profoundly symbolic tattoo. It could also be an option for someone who wants calm in their life but understands that they must face uncertainties and dangers. Regardless of how you choose to interpret the meaning of these images, it makes for a striking design and one that you will be proud to show off.
2. Octopus and Skull Tattoo
When you look at an octopus and skull tattoo, you may think of death, mystery, and danger, and this is a great choice for a man who wants an intimidating yet thoughtful design. The octopus represents many things. Sometimes it is a monster; other times, it is associated with rebirth and renewal, but the symbolism becomes even more powerful when combined with a human skull. It represents the life cycle and intelligence. Typically, a skull is associated with death and is quite a dark image; however, it can also be seen as a symbol of protection and a way to overcome hard times in your life. You may also get inked with these designs to show you are not afraid, you can handle whatever life throws at you, and you have an unbreakable spirit.
3. Octopus Arm Tattoo
If you’re looking for a visible yet easy location to cover up that is also low on the tattoo pain chart scale, look no further than an arm tattoo. Of the many pros to this location, perhaps one of the best is how a tattoo on your arm can enhance your muscles or give you a badass appearance. It is one of the most popular spots for body art, and an octopus will look great here. You can let it wrap around with its tentacles or opt for a smaller design that fits the width of your arm perfectly. Color and black ink work well, and you shouldn’t be too uncomfortable during the healing time. The upper arm is usually more versatile than the forearm as you can cover it easier, but you can use as much or as little space as you desire.
4. Octopus Shoulder Tattoo
The octopus is an incredibly detailed creature, with beautiful tentacles and often with vivid colors and patterns. Although you can opt for a simple or cartoonish approach, if you choose something realistic, you want to pick a placement that allows for enough detail. A shoulder tattoo is a wonderful way to do this. It is one of the least painful options, meaning you will likely be able to withstand the discomfort of a large design. It is also a great spot for someone who doesn’t want their ink to be visible all the time. This is perfect if you work in a corporate environment or prefer to keep your body art private. An octopus looks fantastic in this area because it can wrap around the upper arm, or the tentacles can continue down your arm or across your chest, meaning you won’t be limited with sizing.
5. Polynesian Octopus Tattoo
Polynesian tattoos are not only beautiful but also deeply symbolic. They have a purpose, indicating social hierarchy and genealogy. The style has become popular worldwide, although whether or not to get body art like this is a topic of much debate. Some believe that it is fine to do so as it honors the art and culture; others find its offense. If you have done your research and decide that a Polynesian octopus tattoo is something you want, there is no denying it makes for a striking design. It is also linked with personal growth, strength, and the ability to adapt. The technique is incredibly detailed, so you will need to get it in a location with enough space to allow for this. Across the chest or back or wrapped around the thigh or upper arm are all wonderful choices.
6. Octopus Hand Tattoo
Hand tattoos are for men who have a rebellious spirit. It was once a location reserved for delinquents or those on the fringe of society, but it is becoming more popular in modern times. There is a lot to love about this spot, namely its visibility so that you can proudly show off your artwork every day. It is also a great place for something meaningful to you and can serve as a constant reminder of what that is. An octopus on the hand is fantastic, and you run the tentacles down your fingers, fully utilizing the space. This also creates an element of movement, so when you wiggle your fingers, it will look as though your octopus is in motion. There are some drawbacks, though. Hand ink hurts because of the thin skin and nerve endings; they will also fade quicker because of exposure and frequency of use.
7. Elephant Octopus Tattoo
There are several options to choose from when getting an elephant tattoo. It may seem like an unusual combination, one of the largest land-living animals in the world and a sea-dwelling creature, but the joining of these animals represents strength and rebirth. It is often designed using the elephant’s head but with tentacles instead of legs. Both are associated with intelligence, and this could be a great piece for someone who wants to show how incredible and adaptable animals can be. It may also be a symbol of power. Alternatively, you could opt for a tattoo of a Dumbo octopus. The Grimpoteuthis is a genus of the pelagic umbrella octopuses and one of the deepest-living species. It gets its name from the Disney film, Dumbo because it resembled the little elephant.
8. Octopus Chest Tattoo
Chest tattoos are great for pieces that you want close to your heart. For many men, this is a design that holds special importance; considering the meaning associated with an octopus, it is not hard to see why this would be a fitting choice. The creature can represent strength and power, death and fear, or rebirth and life. You can find the symbolism that is most fitting for you. Chest tattoos can be painful, though. This is because of the proximity to bones, including the sternum, collarbone, and ribs.
9. Red Octopus Tattoo
Octopus tattoos are a great choice because there are so many different designs to choose from. The animal is associated with intelligence, as it can outwit predators. It can also be a symbol of danger, mystery, and illusion. The red octopus makes for a striking design because the color is so bold. It could also be a sign to back off or that the wearer is not to be messed with because these creatures tend to have sharp peaks, can bite and spit venom. To instill fear in others, you can opt for a hyper-realistic design; or a style that makes the octopus appear menacing.
10. Small Octopus Tattoo
When deciding on your design, you also need to consider size, detail, and placement. The appeal of a small tattoo is that you are not restricted in terms of where you want to get it inked. Do you want a finger piece? No problem. Something little on your arm that you can cover up? Well, you can do that too. Tiny tats are a great option if it is your first or tenth tattoo because of their versatility. They also tend to be less painful and not as costly. One drawback to small ink is that they need to be relatively simple as you cannot add too much detail as these pieces will not age well.
11. Japanese Octopus Tattoo
Japanese tattoos have a very distinct style, often created using a mix of black and grey and a limited but vibrant color palette. There are common images used in many designs, including koi fish, dragons, and the lotus flower. Opting for an octopus is a design that has symbolism in Japanese culture, and there is a mythical tale of the Akkorokamui. The sea monster is feared and respected, it can have healing powers, but it can also cause harm. If you see the good and evil in things or recognize we all can be kind or create hurt, this is a thoughtful and interesting design for you to get.
12. Watercolor Octopus Tattoo
Watercolor tattoos are a style that is becoming increasingly popular because it is beautiful and bright. The technique blends various colors creating the same effect that paint would on canvas. It is much more fluid than traditional approaches and often lacks bold outlines. This is both a pro and a con because although it makes for an incredible piece, they also tend to fade faster and are typically hard to touch up. That said, do not let this deter you from getting the tattoo of your dreams because it works exceptionally well with an octopus design. The animals squirt ink as a defense mechanism to escape predators; the watercolor effect can make your body art appear as though the squid has released ink and is hurrying to escape. This adds an element of motion to your piece.
13. Kraken Octopus Tattoo
The Kraken is a legendary monster that terrified sailors with its gigantic size and aggressive nature. The story of the mighty beast can be found in Scandinavian folklore, and it is believed to attack ships. Although this may seem like a creature with negative symbolism, there are positive ways to interpret it, too. It can represent strength, power, and intelligence. The creature is also believed to regenerate lost limbs; this could be associated with your ability to continue to move forward in life despite previous hardships. Alternatively, it could be inked by someone of Scandinavian heritage as a way to honor their roots or serve as a warning to others, or yourself, that there are things in life to be feared.
14. Octopus and Ship Tattoo
There are stories of the eight-legged monster that dwells in the depths of the sea, and sailors would fear an encounter with this mighty beast, the Kraken. The Kraken is associated with power and the ability to regenerate, but it was also inclined to attack and sink ships. Deciding on a design that incorporates an octopus and a boat is not just meaningful but also interesting. A popular option is to opt for the traditional American tattoo style and show the creature grabbing the vessel from below, pulling it into the murky waters. For some, it can be seen as a way to weather any storm or challenge you face. For others, it can be a reminder to respect the sea or unknown outcomes. You can include phrases or slogans to make your piece even more unique.
15. Cartoon Octopus Tattoo
What better way to honor a memory from your childhood than with a cartoon tattoo? The great thing about this style is that there are so many options to choose from. It could be a replica or inspiration from a character, for example, Squidward from SpongeBob Square Pants, or it could just be a design created in a cartoonish way. This often includes unrealistic proportions, such as gigantic eyes, exaggerated features, and vivid colors. This is a great choice for someone who wants to celebrate a simpler time in their lives or want to have their favorite show inked onto their skin forever. Unsurprisingly, cartoons are a popular choice to get inked and can be a really fun option.
16. Geometric Octopus Tattoo
Geometric tattoos are a style that is incredibly popular because even the most simple designs tend to be captivating. Opting for a geometric octopus is a wonderful approach because not only will it highlight the beauty and symmetry of this creature, but both the series of patterns and the animal are associated with intelligence and mystery, so this is a good fit. One of the reasons people love these inkings is their precision. They also create a sense of harmony and order created through shapes, angles, and lines. If you want body art that is different, symbolic, and abstract, this is the perfect pick for you.
17. Realistic Octopus Tattoo
If you have decided on an octopus tattoo because of the creature’s beauty and the symbolism, it makes sense to get it inked as realistically as possible. The realism technique is incredibly popular and takes a lot of skill to create, making the image so close to the real thing that it comes alive on your skin. This artwork is often created in black and white but can include colored images too. If you are going to opt for a piece like this, you should get something meaningful. It is also extremely time-consuming to complete and expensive, but few techniques are as striking as this one if you have the time and money.
18. Simple Octopus Tattoo
When getting body art, there are so many different designs, details, and sizes to choose from. Some options call for incredible attention to detail and take hours to complete. Others focus on just the basic outlines. Simple tattoos have definite appeal because they are more about the subject matter and the meaning associated with it rather than the detailing. This is great for a man who wants something subtle yet meaningful. Another pro is it won’t take hours to complete because it typically lacks extra detail. The most popular option is to get something minimalistic and small, but no rules are saying you have to do this. You can opt for large pieces or colored designs and get them inked anywhere on your body.
19. Octopus Forearm Tattoo
The placement for your body art can be just as important as your design. Opting for an octopus forearm tattoo is one of the best decisions because it is a spot that will heal easily, is not considered to be high on the tattoo pain chart scale, and you can show it off or cover it up whenever you choose. This is great because it will not affect your job opportunities. The creature is detailed and interesting, and the tentacles can wrap around your arm, or you can choose a piece that goes straight up and down. If you choose your artwork to extend onto your wrist and hand, this makes a bold statement, but be aware that it is not as versatile.
20. Octopus Sleeve Tattoo
A sleeve tattoo is a wonderful choice for someone who wants body art with a lot of detail. As the name suggests, it covers the arm like it would a sleeve. It’s a bold option, but also a cool one. Your artwork can combine various designs or stick to a theme, for example, nautical. This could include an octopus, a ship, an anchor, and anything else that is meaningful to you. Alternatively, you could just use your entire arm for an octopus piece, allowing for detail. It will likely take several tattoo sessions to complete and be costly because of the vibrance and skill level. A sleeve is more versatile than you may initially think and can easily be covered with a long top or shown off whenever you want. Wear it with confidence!
21. Octopus Thigh Tattoo
Visible body art is great, but having the option to cover it up can also be beneficial. That is one of the reasons thigh tattoos are such popular choices. In addition, the area is large enough to allow for a lot of detail. It is among the least painful locations for inking, especially on the upper outer thigh. If you decide to get a large octopus design, you could be looking at a lengthy session, especially if you opt for colored ink. That said, the time and money spent will likely be worth it; you can look down on your piece every day and remember the reason you chose such a symbolic and beautiful creature.
22. Octopus Leg Tattoo
Leg tattoos are great if you want to get creative with your body art. They are large enough to play around with various designs, and they are versatile. If you want to avoid intense pain, do not get inked anywhere near your knee. This includes the back of it, as this will cause you a lot of discomfort. Alternatively, if you’re someone who likes to show off their strength and that the pain of body art doesn’t bother them, then this is the location for you. You should also consider potential stretching due to muscle gain, although this is not likely to be significant.
23. Blue Ringed Octopus Tattoo
If there is one creature you don’t want to mess with, it’s the blue-ringed octopus, but it does make for a great tattoo. The genus is strikingly beautiful but also deadly. These highly venomous creatures can be found in tide pools, and coral reefs in the Indian and Pacific Oceans and should be avoided. An individual who wants to warn others that they are not to be messed with and be treated with fear or respect will be drawn to this design. It may also appeal to a man who wants to be taken seriously or indicate that appearances can be deceiving.
24. Colorful Octopus Tattoo
If you’re someone who wants a design that is bound to stand out, then why not opt for a colorful octopus tattoo? Vivid colors instantly attract attention, making people take note of your design. You can opt for realistic shades like bright reds or blues and yellows, or if you prefer a more cartoonish approach, this works as well. The octopus is such a wonderful animal for a tattoo because they are an impressive and highly adapted creature. They are known for being masters of deception, can outwit predators and pray, and are often associated with unpredictability, mystery, and intelligence. If these are qualities that appeal to you, then this is the choice for you.
25. Octopus Back Tattoo
The best thing about a back tattoo is how large the canvas is for body art. With all this space, it makes sense to opt for something detailed and extensive. However, there are no rules on what you can or cannot get inked; feel free to embrace a design that covers your whole back or only a portion of it. Let it tell a story, perhaps that is of a ship being consumed by a mighty octopus. Or maybe it’s a maiden struggling to free herself from the grasp of its tentacles. It is an animal that is deeply symbolic and will look great in this location. Other benefits of this placement include the ability to cover it up, less intense pain than on the chest or abdomen, and the location is unlikely to be warped over time; this can happen because of a fluctuation in weight.
What does an octopus tattoo symbolize?
An octopus tattoo can mean many things, depending on the chosen design. In general, they represent intelligence, mystery, and illusion. They are the subject of folklore and legends and are both respected and feared by those who sail the seas. Some species are aggressive and highly venomous, and your design can reflect that you are not to be messed with. The combinations that you include will also give your tattoo varying meanings. For example, an octopus and a skull are associated with the life cycle. At the same time, an octopus and anchor serve as a balance between unpredictability and stability.
What does a Kraken tattoo mean?
A tattoo of a Kraken is one of a legendary sea monster known for attacking ships. The tale of this mighty beast comes from Scandinavian folklore and is believed to have terrified sailors with its gigantic size and aggressive nature. It can represent strength, power, intelligence, and mystery. It is also believed to regenerate its lost limbs and, therefore, symbolize rebirth and renewal.
Is the Kraken a squid or an octopus?
The Kraken is considered to be a giant squid. Although the Kraken is mythological, giant squids are creatures that live in the ocean's depths, and much about them remains unknown.
What do sailor tattoos mean?
Sailor tattoos can mean several things, including guidance, protection, and bringing them good luck for their voyage. Sailors tend to get ink with a nautical theme, with popular images including a ship, an anchor, swallows, and a nautical star. Each design has varying meanings, and traditionally these designs were completed in the Old School technique.
Cailyn Cox holds a degree in journalism and has been working with The Trend Spotter as a writer for over ten years. She has worked with some of the most prestigious women’s and men's lifestyle publications. For her, writing is not just a job; it’s a passion, which is why each article she writes is approached with such enthusiasm and dedication. She has extensive knowledge of hairstyles, tattoos, and beauty and has made a career out of creating informative articles that appeal to women and men of all ages.
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