How I created Ollie the Octopus.

Ollie has a fan base already before I have even got him into print production. Thank you!!

So I have dedicated this blog purely about Ollie and how I created him. EEK!  My favorite illustration.

Guess how long he took me? 5 DAYS!

He started off as life as a ‘Frankenstein version’ of some photos I found off the internet, yes hands up, Ollie is created via some internet photos. When I sketched out Ollie, I took elements of each photo to create what he is. Hence the ‘Frankenstein version’ is inspired by several Octopus poses.

Photo Credit - Fotokon/Shutterstock

Then came the dot drawing journey.

If you are not familiar with dot drawing, or better known as Pointillism. The illustrations are drawn in lots and lots and lots of dots. Artists such as Georges-Peirre Seurat and Vincent Van Gogh have created masterpieces with this technique.

 Georges-Peirre Seurat
Vincent van Gogh

This method of art has an effect on the observer because when you look at the artwork from a distance it has depth and life. But when you come up close to it, you can see that it consists of dots, that are not just placed, each dot is thought about.

That is the power behind Pointillism.



My dot drawing consists of looking at how the light falls on the subject, creating the shadows where the light hits the body. I looked at photographs and videos of the Octopus movement, curling muscular tentacles with the suckers pulling them along, the squishy wrinkly, bobbly nature of their skin.


Ollie came alive via his eyes, well eye, I use fineline pens by Sta, as these are water-resistant ink. I use four different nibs sizes, 0.8, 0.5, 0.1, 0.05 for the shading and shadows that fall on the subject.

Sta Pens on sale on Amazon.







I use nib 0.8 and 0.5, with the dots being really close, that it starts to create a solid block of black. As the shading fades out, my dot spacing becomes more sporadic, at this point I change over to nib 0.1 to create smaller dots.


Finally, where the shading turns to light, I will use nib 0.05, being the smallest nib, placing the dots intermittently, creating a soft, faded broken line. 

The last stage is capturing the depth of the shadows that fall on the body, with dip pen and acrylic ink by Daler Rowney. This ink is a very deep solid black.


You can purchase dippens from any art supply shop or eBay.

My Dip Pen Collection.

My limited edition Ollie prints are now on sale on my website, just click the image below.

Octopus Limited Edition Prints


Ollie the Original is available framed if you are interested in seeing the original then comment below or email me your enquiry,

Pop over to Buoy and Oyster in Margate, to see my commissioned murals of Ollie and the Lobster gang, while enjoying one of their fabulous Cocktails.

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