How to draw an octopus - a simple semi-realistic drawing

Learn how to draw an octopus. An easy step-by-step drawing tutorial to draw a semi-realistic looking octopus from a simple oval and few squiggly lines.
How to draw an octopus: step-by-step drawing tutorial

Today we will learn how to draw an octopus. This adds another tutorial to our growing sea animals collection along with the shark, whale, dolphin, sea turtle, seahorse and all the fish.

The drawing is a semi-realistic looking octopus, made cute by the large cartoony eyes. An octopus is surprisingly easy to draw - one large oval for the head and many squiggly tentacles. To add some depth and detail to our drawing, we show some of the underbelly suction cups on the tentacles as they twist.

Let's start drawing!

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How to draw an octopus: base sketch step by step

Step 1: Draw an oval for the octopus's head

Let's start drawing our octopus with a simple oval. Draw it tilted to one side. This will be the octopus's head and mantle - the large part behind the head that holds all of the octopus's organs.

Next, draw a kind of axe blade shape to the bottom left side of the oval - a wide curve joined to the head on sides by two smaller curved lines. This will be the base for the octopus's tentacles and the webbing between them.

Step 2: Draw large eyes and mark the tentacles

Next,  draw two large, bulging eyes. These are just small circles placed on the head, with another half-moon arc to mark off the pupils.

Then split the bottom arc into five roughly equal parts with four straight marks. These will be the guidelines for the first five tentacles.

Step 3: Draw the octopus's tentacles

Draw one tentacle onto each of the marked-up segments. Each tentacle starts wide at the top - just slightly narrower than the marked-up segment to leave a small gap between the tentacles - and narrows as it curves down to a pointy tip.

Play with the tentacle shapes, they can be any curve - from a simple "C" arc as the one on the left, to an overlapping "S" curve, like the one in the middle, or going completely crazy with as many loops as you dare to draw.

Step 4: Draw the remaining tentacles

Well, the name octopus comes from Greek, meaning "eight-foot", so our drawing is still missing three more tentacles to be an octopus. Let's draw those.

Again, these can be any shape you fancy. Here we are adding just a simple "S" curved ones - two on the left, and one on the right. Just for some interest, the right tentacle curves beyond the head - it adds some depth to our octopus drawing.

Step 5: Mark off the tentacle reverse sides

With the octopus sketch almost complete, let's add one final detail. As the tentacles curve around the octopus, you will be able to see the other side of the tentacle with the suction cups in places. Let's mark those off now.

These are just simple double-up lines on the lower edges of the tentacle - mostly at the end of the tentacle.

Want to try another interesting sea dweller? How to draw a seahorse with an awesome body pattern
How to draw a seahorse: step-by-step drawing tutorial

How to draw a seahorse with an awesome body pattern

Learn how to draw a seahorse. A step by step tutorial to draw an awesome looking seahorse including easy to follow steps to draw the tricky body pattern!

How to draw an octopus: outline the drawing step by step

Step 1: Draw the octopus's eyes and suction cups on tentacles

With the sketch done, it is time to outline the octopus drawing. Start with the eyes - outline the circles, and fill in the marked-off inner pupils, leaving a small white curve on the side for the shine in the eye.

Next, draw the suction cups that show on the tentacles, where we have marked them off. Draw the suction cups as simple small ovals in two lines. They are larger closer to the octopus's head and get smaller as you move to the tentacle tip.

Step 2: Draw the octopus's body

Outline the main curve of the octopus's body, joining in a smooth line the two outer tentacles with the head shape.

Step 3: Outline the octopus's tentacles

Next, outline the five lower tentacles. These are just a straight outline of the sketch, breaking up the line where the suction cup ovals hide the edge of the tentacle.

Step 4: Outline the remaining tentacles

Same as above, outline the remaining three tentacles, breaking the line for the suction cups where needed.

Step 5: Draw the webbing between tentacles

Here are the last few lines to complete our octopus drawing: Draw the webbing between the tentacles, to close the octopus's body - these are just small curves between the tentacles, that smoothly join one edge to the other.

Finally, draw the edges of the lower tentacle parts, again breaking the line between the suction cups as needed.

How to draw an octopus: completed pencil outline

How to draw an octopus - completed outline drawing

And here is the result of our "how to draw an octopus" tutorial - the completed outline of the drawing after we have cleaned up the sketch lines with an eraser.

Quite a cute looking sea monster, what do you think? It is the large cartoony eyes that give our octopus that friendly look. You can add a little smiling mouth if you want to push the cartoon look a bit more.

How to draw an octopus: finished coloured-in drawing

How to draw an octopus - complete coloured-in drawing

The usual last step is to colour in our drawing. If you have a look at some octopus photographs, octopuses can have many different colours. Octopuses also can change their colour to camouflage themselves to blend into their surroundings.

So here our octopus is a nice bright orange, with some darker reddish shading. We have used a nice dark yellow for the lower body parts and as a shade on the webbing between the tentacles.

And that is the very end - now you know how to draw an octopus.


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How about drawing a sea turtle next? How to draw a turtle: two different ways
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