I love artistic representations of octopuses. All those billowy tentacles are so pretty to look at, with suckers that add beauty and visual interest. In today’s tutorial, I’ll show you how to make octopus calligraphy art! With the help of a free printable, you’ll be able to create an intricate octopus that doubles as an effective calligraphy drill.
1. Trace the Octopus Outline
First, print the Traceable Octopus Outline PDF on the paper of your choice. Then, use a pencil and a light box or a bright window to trace over it.
2. Fill in the Outline with Calligraphy Flourishes
Now, use a medium-flex nib (like the Nikko G in an oblique pen) to draw tightly-coiled calligraphy flourishes in the top left tentacle. It’s important to keep the flourishes compact so the shape of the octopus is recognizable once you erase your pencil guidelines!
Continue to work your way down the octopus’s body, varying the flourish types based on your preference. Some flourishes can look like phone cords, while others might follow more of an “S” style.
Don’t worry about mimicking my flourishes exactly. As long as you keep your flourishes tight and pay attention to stroke contrast, your octopus art will look great!
Continue to flourish within the pencil outline until everything has been filled in. Then, wait for the ink to dry, and erase your pencil lines! That’s it.
I thought it might be helpful to see this tutorial in action, especially because there are so many flourishes but so few steps. (I mean, the tutorial is simply make an outline, make flourishes, erase the outline.) So, here’s a video that shows exactly how I made this octopus calligraphy art:
All in all, this project took me about 40 relaxing minutes to make and serves as a fantastic addition to my sketchbook! Of course, you can enjoy it in a variety of ways. This little guy would be right at home on the front of a greeting card or as framed art in your home!
Additional Inspiration and Practice
For flourish shape inspiration, see the Not Your Average Calligraphy Drills printable. The first three drill concepts, in particular, will come in handy as you embellish your octopus!
If you love the idea of practicing your calligraphy with a fun marine theme, check out the Under the Sea Drills. There, you’ll practice your dip pen skills as you flourish jellyfish, sea turtles, krakens, and beta fish, among other things!
I hope that you have fun with this little tutorial, and that you use the process behind it to make all sorts of neat artwork. You can adjust the concept to create anything, really: other animals, recognizable objects, or landmarks would all be great candidates. Happy creating, and enjoy the rest of your week!