Octopus Tattoo

I was approached to design a tattoo for a friend, with the parameters that it be an octopus playing the drums. It had been a little under a year since my last big octopus drawing, so it was perfect timing to get eight-limbed.

As for most of my large illustrations, I do a rough sketch first. Pending the approval of my friend, I can proceed from here to a larger pencil drawing.

I don’t always do such extensive pencils, but I don’ want to play it fast and loose with such a complex subject. Penciling will map out where light and shadows will go when it’s time to ink.
tentacle
When inking, I try to be mindful of the marks I’ve made with pencil to know when I have a hard or soft shadow, what kind of light source I’m supposed to have, etc.
octopus playing drums

Applying ink-wash is the most fun because it’s so much less time consuming the way I do it: I lay down some water with an aqua brush, drop the wash from an eye dropper, and let it mix itself.
octopus playing drums

Once I scanned the dried illo into photoshop, I change the levels , being mindful of the mid-tones that the wash has created. Additionally, I put a color layer in for a subtle tint.
octopus playing drums

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Octopus for the New Year

Happy New Year, everyone!

Hard to believe that another year has gone by. And in honor of the 18th year of this century, I have here and octopus. I realize that octopi have eight arms and not 18, but let’s  not worry about that.

I started with a pencil sketch that started out very loose, then I gradually tightened up a bit.

octopus sketch

I then inked it.

octopus

I was originally planning on leaving it black and white, but I eventually decided to apply a wash and some ink splatter.

octopus

The original piece is fairly large, and even with my large format printer, I had to stitch this together.

Octopus

I follow a very cool Instagram account by the name of OctoNation, and account that is all about octopi art and media. They posted a very cool sculpture of an octopus that really highlighted the eyes, and it inspired me to draw this.

I wanted to use the wash as a background element so the stark contrast would really foreground the octopus. The wash also makes an appropriate background for the octopus, who is able to squirt ink.

octopus