• Octopus Calligraphy Art Tutorial

    In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to strengthen your pointed pen skills with intricate octopus calligraphy art. Don’t skip watching the short timelapse video at the end!

    Octopus Calligraphy Art Tutorial

    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.

    Octopus Calligraphy Art Outline
    If you don’t have a light box, you can always trace around this outline on your computer screen. See the Do You Need a Light Box? post for light box workarounds.

    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!

    Octopus Calligraphy Art Tutorial
    I used sumi ink to make my octopus calligraphy art. Feel free to use any ink that appeals to you!

    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.

    Octopus Calligraphy Art Tutorial
    If you’re intimidated by the idea of flourishing because it’s too tough, just think of flourishing as doodles with a dip pen. That’s really all it is!

    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!

    Octopus Calligraphy Art Tutorial
    I chose to draw spirals to represent most of the octopus’s suckers.

    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.

    Octopus Calligraphy Art Tutorial

    Timelapse Video

    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!

    Not Your Average Calligraphy Drills Sheet | The Postman's Knock
    This printable provides a great warmup and inspiration for types of flourishes to fill in your octopus outline.

    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!

    Not Your Average Calligraphy Drills: Under the Sea Edition | The Postman's Knock
    This is the “Flourished Beta Fish” project from the Under the Sea Drills packet.

    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!


    Lindsey's Signature | The Postman's Knock