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105+ Kraken Tattoo Ideas to Bring This Sea Monster to Life

by Sherri Owens

There are so many ways to depict a Kraken in your tattoo - realistic designs, simple concepts, or downright abstract creations - the options are endless!

I'm a big fan of all sorts of legends and myths, so having the opportunity to craft my own interpretation of a Kraken tattoo for clients is an absolute blast. A Kraken tattoo serves as a remarkable way to incorporate elements of age-old storytelling into a contemporary, personal piece of body art.

In this post, I will introduce you to the top Kraken tattoo ideas and show you how to create a design that is entirely your own!

The Best Kraken Tattoo Ideas

Here are the top kraken tattoo designs that you should check out:

Realistic Kraken Tattoos

Now, the first thing I do want to say regarding this sea monster tattoo is that the kraken is a mythical creature. This means that there are different versions and depictions of what the creature may look like. That being said, it is often likened to a giant squid or octopus.

Fine Line Kraken Arm Tattoo

Image by @robbee.ink via Instagram

Grey Detailed Kraken Thigh Tattoo

Image by @inktsunami via Instagram

Stories about sea monsters have existed for almost as long as people have been sailing the oceans. These myths came from sailors who saw unimaginable aquatic sea creatures and people who found astonishing carcasses washed up on shore.

Black and Grey Kraken Arm Tattoo

Image by @tattoo_sa_e_ via Instagram

Black and Grey Realistic Kraken Arm Tattoo

Image by @jordanleclairetattoo via Instagram

The monster kraken is based on Norse mythology and was most likely derived from the giant squid or some other large cephalopod that sailors saw. So, one of the few detailed descriptions that we have comes from a Danish historian, Erik Pontoppidan who offered up this summary:

“round, flat, and full of arms, or branches,” and is “the largest and most surprising of all the animal creation.”

Line Art Huge Kraken Stomach Tattoo

Image by @lara_grebe_tattoo via Instagram

Detailed Line Work Small Kraken Hand Tattoo

Image by @zorg_tattoo via Instagram

Due to this, you have a lot of creative license when it comes to your kraken tattoo design and you are free to add or omit details as you wish.

Line Detailed Kraken Destroying the Ship Upper Arm Tattoo

Image by @martinkellytattoo via Instagram

Black Detailed Kraken With Horns Hand Tattoo

Image by @apso_tattoo via Instagram

When I say that the tattoos that I am going to show are realistic kraken tattoo ideas, what I really mean is that these are very complex and detail-oriented tattoo designs.

Black and Grey Huge Kraken Thigh Tattoo

Image by @yare__666 via Instagram

Realistic Close Up Photo of Kraken Upper Arm Tattoo

Image by @alan_morris_tattoo via Instagram

Line Work Kraken Arm Tattoo

Image by @pollydoestattoos via Instagram

Line Work Big Kraken Thigh Tattoo

Image by @alondontattoo via Instagram

Detailed Long Kraken Arm Tattoo

Image by @julejulinski via Instagram

Realistic Kraken Leg Tattoo

Image by @haydntattoo via Instagram

Detailed Dot Work Kraken Upper Arm Tattoo

Image by @jasmine.eichmann.tattoo via Instagram

Detailed Kraken Arm Tattoo

Image by @whistle.tat via Instagram

Black and Grey Close Up Kraken Arm Tattoo

Image by @neiltanaleon via Instagram

Simple Kraken Tattoos

If the idea of a complex or detailed monster kraken tattoo doesn't really inspire you, then consider a more simplistic design.

Dot Work Outline Kraken Leg Tattoo

Image by @bjornkrey via Instagram

If you are looking for extremely minimalistic kraken tattoo ideas, then I would suggest just going with the outline of the monster kraken alone.

Fine Line Side View Kraken Shoulder Tattoo

Image by @_trinity_ink_ via Instagram

In case you like the idea of a simple tattoo but still want it to be identifiable as a kraken, this can be managed as well. Here, little details like adding lines and minimal shading can make all the difference.

Solid Black Lines Kraken Arm Tattoo

Image by @fleur.de.guillotine via Instagram

Such tattoo ideas work well as the upper arm or forearm kraken tattoos.

Line Art Kraken Thigh Tattoo

Image by @inkmarked via Instagram

Black Line Killer Kraken Tattoo

Image by @fallen__tattoos via Instagram

Simple Fine Line Kraken Arm Tattoo

Image by @liah_tattoo via Instagram

Nordic Kraken Tattoos

As I mentioned, this myth does have Nordic origins. So, if you would like to pay homage to this, then you can consider a Norse-inspired design.

Unfortunately, this is a pretty rare tattoo design, but you can still use this tattoo to find inspiration for your own design.

Kraken Holding the Symbol Stone Chest Tattoo

Image by @harryflashmans via Instagram

From symbols and warriors to other mythical Norse creatures, there are plenty of elements that you can include in your kraken tattoo.

Kraken Attacking Ships Tattoos

Well, as you can imagine, this tattoo is quite self-explanatory. It involves depicting a kraken attacking a ship. Such a tattoo makes sense because there were stories where the kraken supposedly sank ships.

Black and Grey Kraken Attacks a Ship Shoulder Tattoo

Image by @artsyfrogtattoos via Instagram

However, there are a few different ways that you can portray this scene.

In some cases, you can simply have the kraken pictured next to the ship. If you want your kraken tattoo to have a slightly spookier vibe, then you may want to consider having the kraken lurking underwater, just beneath the ship tattoo.

Ship with Kraken Leg Tattoo

Image by @flashink.bali via Instagram

Black Detailed Kraken Crawling beside the Ship Upper Arm Tattoo

Image by @realarttattoo via Instagram

Or, you can choose from tattoo ideas where the sea monster has its tentacles wrapped around the ship and is either breaking it apart or dragging it beneath the ocean.

Illustration of Kraken and Ship Upper Arm Tattoo

Image by @jason.pedersen.art via Instagram

These kraken tattoos do have a varying amount of detail. So, you can choose from a more minimalistic or complex tattoo design if you like. If you want to go all out, then you can work with your tattoo artist to get a sleeve tattoo.

Colored Illustration of Kraken Attacks a Ship Back Tattoo

Image by @erikcschmidt via Instagram

Line Work Illustration Kraken and Ship Arm Tattoo

Image by @andy.mc_art via Instagram

Most of these tattoo ideas tend to be done in black and grey. However, if you want your tattoo to be eye-catching and stand out, then you can use color to take your kraken tattoo to the next level.

Sea Monster and Ship Thigh Tattoo

Image by @brightbones via Instagram

Colored Kraken Holding the Battle Ship Arm Tattoo

Image by @christiangronewold_tattoo via Instagram

Black and Grey Realistic Kraken in Battle With a Ship Leg Tattoo

Image by @goldhand_ink via Instagram

Illustration of Kraken Inside the Waves Thigh Tattoo

Image by @puptattoo via Instagram

Black and Grey Giant Squid is Under the Ship Thigh Tattoo

Image by @jakejtattoos via Instagram

Black and Grey Illustration Kraken Crawling Under the Battle Ship Upper Arm Tattoo

Image by @lakearrowheadtattoo via Instagram

Black and Grey Illustration Kraken Crawling Beside the Ship Upper Arm Tattoo

Image by @roumenkirinkov via Instagram

Kraken Tentacles Attacking the Ship Leg Tattoo

Image by @lucass_ink via Instagram

Black and Grey Realistic Kraken in Battle With a Sailing Ship Leg Tattoo

Image by @goldhand_ink via Instagram

Colored Kraken About to Destroy the Ship Stomach Tattoo

Image by @jozeywales via Instagram

Realistic Illustration of Kraken With Tall Ship Arm Tattoo

Image by @thepiratecartel via Instagram

Colored Neon Kraken Crawling the Ship Thigh Tattoo

Image by @tattoosbykaitlin via Instagram

Line Work Kraken Attacking the Ship With Clouds and Sky Chest Tattoo

Image by @jochastney.tattoo via Instagram

Colored Japanese Kraken Attacking the Sailing Ship Under the Sun Upper Arm Tattoo

Image by @jcartertattoo via Instagram

Colored Illustration Kraken Tentacles Crawling in Skull Ship Upper Arm Tattoo

Image by @trevorfrascatattoo via Instagram

Historical Rendering Kraken Tattoos

I really love these kraken tattoo ideas because they pay homage to the history or rather legend of the sea monster.

Detailed Line Art Kraken Leg Tattoo

Image by @iljahummel via Instagram

For this kind of tattoo design, you make the kraken look like an image that you can find in an old book or painting. It is a good idea to either look up articles that include renderings of this monstrous creature or look at drawings of a similar sea monster.

Realistic Octopus Thigh Tattoo

Image by @notorious_ink.ulm via Instagram

The key to this kraken design is the specific details that artists or scientists in the olden days would use. So, it is a good idea to use a talented tattoo artist to make sure that you get the best possible effect.

Patterned Kraken Arm Sleeve Tattoo

Image by @saseultattoo via Instagram

Black Ink Kraken Shoulder Tattoo

Image by @addinktionbelfast via Instagram

Black and Gray Giant Octopus Arm Tattoo

Image by @_homearmy_ via Instagram

Kraken Large Head With Horns Arm Tattoo

Image by @asrra.ttt via Instagram

Line Work Kraken Dragging the Ship Down Thigh Tattoo

Image by @calebcolpitts via Instagram

Detailed Line Art Giant Squid Thigh Tattoo

Image by @julia_b_tattoo via Instagram

Illustration of Octopus Leg Tattoo

Image by @samclaw via Instagram

A Kraken Pulling a Pirate Ship Down Stomach Tattoo

Image by @errante.tatt via Instagram

Kraken Dragging Down a Pirate Ship Thigh Tattoo

Image by @maidstonejohn via Instagram

Traditional Kraken Tattoos

These kraken tattoo designs are also a really cool concept. See, traditional kraken tattoos are based on the traditional style of tattooing.

Colorful Red Giant Squid Arm Tattoo

Image by @davidhtattoo via Instagram

This style is based on thick black outlines and bold colors. In general, this tattooing style creates vintage or classic-looking designs. So, a traditional kraken tattoo really fits in with the ancient mythology of the sea monster.

Colored Kraken Hangging on the Pirate Ship Arm Tattoo

Image by @anna_crisolo via Instagram

For such kraken tattoo ideas, you can either have the kraken alone or can include a ship tattoo as well. The latter works well if you want a larger sleeve tattoo.

Colored Kraken Attached to the Ship at Sunny Weather Arm Tattoo

Image by @jakedelbene via Instagram

Blue Giant Octopus Leg Tattoo

Image by @will_allan_tattoos via Instagram

Colored Kraken Holding the Pirate Ship Leg Tattoo

Image by @oldschooltattoobaby via Instagram

Colored Ship is Under the Kraken's Hold Arm Tattoo

Image by @chrisnaderertattoo via Instagram

Red Giant Squid Attached to the Pirate Ship

Image by @thedodfatherink via Instagram

Colored Kraken Attacking the Ship During Thunderstorm Upper Arm Tattoo

Image by @connorcurrantattoo via Instagram

Colored Kraken Holding the Ship in Bottle Arm Tattoo

Image by @samblossomtattoo via Instagram

Giant Red Squid Holding the Ship at Cloudy Day Upper Arm Tattoo

Image by @sebasbotero_ via Instagram

Colorful Green Kraken Arm Tattoo

Image by @ale_merlos_tattoo via Instagram

Giant Red Squid With Tiger Print Leg Tattoo

Image by @meowzen via Instagram

Lighthouse and Kraken Tattoos

If Krakens attacking ships feels a bit too of a common concept, then you can try something a little different - lighthouses!

Black and Grey Kraken With Lighthouse Arm Tattoo

Image by @stefanotattoo_ via Instagram

This kind of kraken tattoo can add a bit more of a modern touch to you design. Also, this kind of tattoo can feel even more sinister. Not only is the kraken capable of taking on ships, it can also destroy the structures that are meant to guide ships to safety.

Black and Grey Kraken Tentacles Wrapped Around the Lighthouse Upper Arm Tattoo

Image by @riot.saiko.tattoo via Instagram

Also, as lighthouses tend to be on a patch of land, the idea of a kraken making its way to any shore can feel a great deal scarier. 

Detailed Kraken Attacking the Lighthouse Thigh Tattoo

Image by @dwasledzie via Instagram

Black Work Kraken Tentacles Surrounding the Lighthouse Upper Arm Tattoo

Image by @kylejohnson.tattoos via Instagram

Skull and Kraken Tattoos

If you are looking for a different kind of kraken tattoo, then I would certainly suggest this concept to you. For this kind of tattoo, the skull can be an alternative to the kraken head. Or the kraken can be cradling the skull.

Kraken Skull With Metal Anchor Arm Tattoo

Image by @jlf_ttt via Instagram

Black Detailed Huge Kraken Skull Thigh Tattoo

Image by @quesadilla_tattoo via Instagram

The skull and kraken tattoo meaning can be based on the fact that the kraken is usually associated with death and destruction. Such a tattoo can also serve as a reminder that the ocean can be a treacherous place, regardless of whether or not you believe in sea monsters.

Line Art Kraken Skull Leg Tattoo

Image by @variag_of_kyiv via Instagram

Detailed Line Work Kraken Skull Arm Tattoo

Image by @blackplaguetattoo via Instagram

Portrait Style Skull Kraken Leg Tattoo

Image by @stainedglassdeviltattoo via Instagram

Skull Kraken Forearm Tattoo

Image by @_unbreakable_ink via Instagram

Detailed Kraken Skull Arm Tattoo

Image by @cosmefulanita_tattoo via Instagram

Colorful Kraken With Skull Chest Tattoo

Image by @taylormillstattoos via Instagram

Black and Gray Scary Kraken Skull Upper Arm Tattoo

Image by @marcoelgatotattoo via Instagram

Black Work Kraken With Skull and Anchor Upper Arm Tattoo

Image by @puro.biomech via Instagram

Black and Grey Kraken Skull Wrapped Around the Anchor Upper Arm Tattoo

Image by @ypso.ttt via Instagram

Detailed Kraken Skull WIth Red Pattern Background Upper Arm Tattoo

Image by @citla_mariposa_tattoo via Instagram

Black and Grey Long Kraken Skull Arm Tattoo

Image by @santi__neri via Instagram

Realistic Detailed Kraken Skull Upper Arm Tattoo

Image by @admira.art via Instagram

Microrealism Kraken Skull Arm Tattoo

Image by @cachotattoo via Instagram

Black Detailed Kraken Skull Monster Arm Sleeve Tattoo

Image by @saturnia_tattoos via Instagram

Bottle and Kraken Tattoos

This is yet another kraken tattoo that works well if you are looking for something a little different. Here, you can have a ship in a bottle or a landscape in a bottle and the kraken is attacking the bottle.

Colored Giant Octopus Holding the Ship in Bottle Arm Tattoo

Image by @lollo_tattoo via Instagram

In addition to being a creative option, this kind of tattoo also works well if you would like to have a smaller or slightly more structured tattoo. This is because the bottle allows you to keep the ship tattoo or the scenery contained within a particular area.

Colored Giant Octopus Holding the Tropical Beach in Bottle Leg Tattoo

Image by @benstonetattoo via Instagram

Black and Grey Giant Octopus Attached to the Ship in Bottle Leg Tattoo

Image by @timchildstattoo via Instagram

Colored Giant Octopus Holding the Ship in Bottle Upper Arm Tattoo

Image by @jpmoneytattoos via Instagram

Tribal Kraken Tattoos

This is certainly an unusual concept but definitely a cool one! Here, you use tribal patterns found in Maori, Polynesian, and Hawaiian cultures to create your kraken.

This can be a great way to make it feel as though your kraken tattoo is a part of a story.

Black Ink Kraken With Tribal Pattern Print Leg Tattoo

Image by @dantzat2 via Instagram

Now, for such tattoos, it is a good idea to do some research on these tribal designs beforehand. This will help you to see and understand the nuances with each kind of art and tattoo style. In turn, you can create a more authentic tattoo design.

Polynesian Kraken Leg Tattoo

Image by @artistocrat_tattoo_hamburg via Instagram

Clash of the Titans Kraken Tattoos

Like some people, you may have assumed that the kraken was a part of Greek mythology. Well, this is due to the Clash of the Titans 1981 movie.

Realistic Kraken Monster With Human Face Arm Tattoo

Image by @larktattoo via Instagram

It featured a kraken but largely included Greek mythology elements in the movie. In fact, one of the more notable lines from the movie included: Release the kraken!

Colored Green Human Kraken Leg Tattoo

Image by @eastsideinktattoo via Instagram

Now, the kraken featured in the movie doesn't look anything like what the Norse imagined the kraken to be. The creature in the movie looks distinctly more reptilian-like.

Still, if you are a fan of the film, then check out these awesome tattoos that you should consider!

Colored Illustration of a Greek Battle Between Giant Human Kraken and a Man Arm Tattoo

Image by @joeleonardtattoo via Instagram

Ornamental Kraken Tattoos

If you want to add more artistic elements to your tattoo, then this is a great design to consider. Here, the kraken has an ornamental design as a background. This is simply a repeating pattern that can consist of various geometric shapes.

Black and Grey Kraken With Mandala Flower Thigh Tattoo

Image by @hier.und.jetzt.tattoo via Instagram

These shapes can be used to create certain designs. As you will see with these tattoos, there is a distinct floral pattern but you can create any design that you like!

Detailed Celestial Octopus With Mandala Flower Background Upper Arm Tattoo

Image by @danielmeyertattoo via Instagram

Creative Kraken Tattoos

If you are someone who likes to throw the rule book out the window, then you should team up with your tattoo artist to come up with a truly creative and unique design for yourself.

Black and Grey Kraken Inside the Damaged Wooden Coffin Arm Tattoo

Image by @mancus_tattoo via Instagram

With this kind of tattoo, there are no constraints to the kind of design that you can get. If you want something a bit more gentle, then you can get a kraken holding a flower.

Giant Octopus With Flowers Arm Tattoo

Image by @losgallonegro via Instagram

Looking for something a little bit more badass? Then, have the kraken drowning in an underwater coffin. If you are someone who likes comic books, then a cartoon kraken is the way to go!

You can take inspiration from the tattoos here to determine just what kind of tattoo would work well for you!

Giant Octopus Wearing the Metal Diving Helmet Arm Tattoo

Image by @gabhortontattoos via Instagram

Black Work Giant Octopus With Butterfly Hip Tattoo

Image by @pechschwarztattoo via Instagram

Detailed Black and Grey Giant Squid With a Diver Chest Tattoo

Image by @robinwilliamstattooer via Instagram

Kraken Carrying the Poison Bottle and Metal Anchor Chest Tattoo

Image by @indicaink via Instagram

Realistic Illustration of Kraken and Scuba Diver Under the Sea Stomach Tattoo

Image by @zefa_tatt via Instagram

Well, there you have it! The top kraken tattoo ideas for you to choose from! It doesn't matter if you want a more old-school design or want to put a modern twist on it, there is something here for everyone!

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