17 Killer Kraken Tattoo Ideas for Men & Women in 2023
What is it about sea monsters that have fascinated so many people from generation to generation? Dating way back to the 18th century, documents describe an enormous octopus-like creature that lives beneath the water until it emerges to attack ships. It has been depicted in different ways throughout history but is most commonly known as “Kraken”, and is said to have spawned from the blood of either God or the Devil! Nowadays, people have been getting kraken tattoos, big or small, on their bodies to celebrate this terrifying yet gorgeous creature!
But before you go and get your own Kraken tattoo, let us help guide you in choosing the perfect piece of ink. Below we’ll show you the most striking, eye-catching, and dazzling Kraken tattoo ideas for 2023. You’ll surely be inspired with the perfect idea of which tattoo style to get, as well as where to get tattooed on your body.
With that said, let’s begin!
Old School Tattoo of Kraken on Side of Thigh
Here’s a gorgeous example of old school style, but this one is on the side of the client’s thigh. Given a bigger space, the design manages to pack a whole story of a tough fight between a sailor and the kraken. I really like the vivid color palette, and there’s also a subtle impression of old-fashioned Japanese art style here which works really well with the concept of the design.
Forearm Old School Tattoo of Kraken Attacking a Ship
We kick off the list with an old school design, with its typical use of solid colors and clean, bold outlines. I love the way the tentacles coil up around the ship, making it look so much more terrifying. Note how the composition of the tattoo flows really well with this client’s forearm.
Black and Gray Thigh Tattoo of Kraken and Astronaut
I absolutely love the concept of this design: an encounter taking place between the vast sea and endless space. The tattoo features a floating astronaut caught by the tentacles of a giant kraken. The shading is done very nicely, making the suction cups and spots on the kraken’s body so realistic. If you want to be inspired by more mesmerizing black and gray works from the same artist, definitely check her page out @annakust_tattoo!
Half-Sleeve Realistic Color Tattoo of Kraken Attacking Ship
Now this one looks just like a fantastic painting. The bright color palette (with a beautiful neon blue) makes the tattoo really stand out. Props to the artist for how realistic all the details look, from the clouds and the reflection of the sky on the sea, to the giant monster underneath.
Black and Gray Tattoo of Adorable Kraken on Top of Forearm
Kraken tattoos don’t have to be intimidating all the time. This design gives me a good chuckle because of how adorable the kraken looks with its puppy eyes, as if it’s still in training to become an actual monster! Ruby Lee, a tattoo artist from Portland, has really pulled off a nice twist for this sea monster tattoo. It also works really well with the existing ones, both in style and aesthetics. Awesome job!
Watercolor Tattoo of Treasure-Guarding Kraken on Forearm
How could we possibly fail to include a watercolor tattoo, of something that literally lives underwater? I’ve always adored this style, especially when it comes to animal designs. The linework in this tattoo is clean and crisp, and I like how the outlines are inked with heavier weights. They don’t just look good but also help keep the other details in place as the tattoo heals and over time.
Full-chest Tattoo of Giant Kraken in Oil Painting Style
In my opinion, this has to be among the best tattoos on the list. The placement of the tattoo really gives it a broad space to include many details, and the oil painting style works so well with the stormy and intimidating vibe of the concept. I adore the color palette of dark tones: deep blue, dark purple and gray. My favorite detail is probably the frightening monster eye beneath the water’s surface, making the kraken seem massive and terrifying!
Blackwork Tattoo of Skeleton Kraken on Arm
The concept of this design is terrific in every way. It turns the kraken’s head into a human skull, which looks both terrifying and astounding. The lack of color works so well with the eerie vibe of the tattoo, and it flows very nicely down the client’s arm. For more fascinating blackwork pieces like this one, you can visit the artist’s page @artesobscurae!
Triceps Tattoo of Kraken with Traditional Blackwork Shading
If you like the idea of a kraken destroying a ship, but don’t quite fancy the styles we’ve shown you, you might want to take a peek at this one. I love the old-fashioned, raw look of this design, created by the rough outlines and traditional shading. No colors and no blending is needed for this one to stand out. If you’re into this style, I’d recommend checking out other works by the German tattoo artist @kajetankarczewski!
Black and Gray Tattoo of Kraken Guarding Treasure Chest
Tattoo artist Mirfin from France excels at black and gray, blackwork and illustrative tattoos. This one is among his latest works, and it really catches my attention. It’s well executed down to the smallest details like the gold coins, or the wet look on the monster’s skin. The tattoo is also shaped nicely on this client’s forearm, so props to the tattooist for the great work!
Black and Gray Half-Sleeve Tattoo of Giant Kraken Taking Over Ship
This design makes the kraken look so much bigger in comparison to the size of the ship. I really like how the roots of the tentacles are faded, as if the kraken is so massive and its tentacles are so far away, that they can’t be clearly seen with the human eye. If you follow other articles of ours, you might have already heard of tattoo artist Anka, who specializes in black and gray tattoos. Check out more of her works right here @lama_del_ray!
Linework Tattoo of Kraken on Side of Thigh and Hip
The structure of this tattoo flows so well with its placement, extending from the client’s hip down to the thigh. The tattoo artist also did a great job in making use of this large space for really detailed linework, and it paid off! I love how the outline of the monster is bolder than the rest of the lines, making it much more intimidating and attention-grabbing!
Forearm Watercolor Tattoo of Tentacles Wrapping Around Trident
For some reason, this tattoo reminds me of the series Sailor Moon, perhaps for the bright color palette, or the dreamy aesthetic. It’s really interesting that the design doesn’t feature the kraken’s body at all, only its tentacles wrapping around a trident – the symbol of the ruler of the sea. Fun fact, the tattoo artist behind this piece has a very unique style that draws inspiration from cartoons, Japanese manga, anime and Disney characters! Check out her works right here @gretamorks.
Shoulder Blackwork Tattoo of A Cobwebbed Kraken
I absolutely adore the placement of this tattoo! Most of the ink piece rests on this client’s shoulder, but that position also allows the monster’s tentacles to travel further: up the neck and down to the chest. The skin of the kraken is executed so well, filled with multiple realistic-looking suction cups and thorns. The spiderwebs definitely add a nice touch, boosting the piece’s eerie and intimidating impression.
New School Tattoo of Kraken and Shark Fight on Side Of Thigh
This new school tattoo looks magnificent, talk about vivid colors and impressive visuals! The focal point of the piece is probably at the center, where the shark’s sharp teeth cut into one of the kraken’s tentacles. I really like how the kraken’s eye replicates the color of the sun behind the shark, creating a nice sense of connection and balance to the piece. Credits go to Korean artist @sulhong_tattooer for the great work!
Realistic Black and Gray Leg -SleeveTattoo of Kraken
We’re about to conclude this list with a magnificent design. When it comes to realistic tattoos, detail is key. One thing is for sure, this tattoo artist really nails it. I absolutely adore his use of the white ink on the chains, the anchor and the clouds, which creates great dimension. The rays of sunlight are excellently executed, making it hard for anyone to move their eyes off the piece. Props to the artist for doing such an amazing job!
We hope you found what you were looking for and had as much fun looking at these tattoos as we had writing about them. Until next time, happy inking!
Black and Gray Tattoo of Kraken Holding a Skull
Another well-executed black and gray piece! Korean artist @taesin___ specializes in blackwork and black and gray tattoos, and it really shows in this design how skilled and experienced he is. The ink piece has such a clean look, with crisp lines and beautiful shading. I love how we can sense the texture and the elasticity of the monster’s skin.