How to Draw a Kraken Sea Creature

The kraken has been a scourge of the seas ever since man first set sail. More than 200 feet (61m) in length, this giant sea creature was able to attack and destroy vessels up to the size of a galleon. At one time, it is possible this giant squid was of such massive dimensions that it fed upon huge fish, sea orcs and ocean dinosaurs. Later in its history the kraken fed on whales that filled the seas, until the whaling industry decimated them as a food supply, relegating this monster to a realm of sea lore.

Learn to draw this magnificent ocean monster as shown in Dracopedia: The Bestiary by best-selling fantasy artist William O’Connor.


STEP 1: Concept and Design Stage
The kraken or titanic squid is a creature able to destroy large sailing vessels and grow to over 200 feet (61m) long. In order to grow to such huge proportions it would have to survive attacks by sperm whales during its childhood. Armored plating was added in my concept design to account for this defensive adaptation.

kraken demo 1

STEP 2: Skeletal Frame Sketch
Sketch loose, long thin lines to indicate the tentacles and giant head of the kraken. Place a circle to indicate its single eye.

kraken demo 2

STEP 3:  Detailed Pencil Sketch
Study reference of cephalopods to detail the suction cups of the tentacles and shell. Indicate bubbles and the mast of a submerged sea vessel in the background.

kraken demo 3

STEP 4: Underpainting and Finishing Details
Complete the final details of the kraken. Small markings and intricate details such as plates and bubbles will give the kraken a great sense of size.

kraken demo 4

Kraken by William O’Connor
16″ × 12″ (41cm × 30cm)

kraken demo 5


Check out more fantastical dragons and beasts from William O’Connor‘s Dracopedia series!

Y1760_160px_72dpi U0771_160px_72dpi Z2922_160px_72dpi



ABOUT THE AUTHOR | William O’Connor
William O’Connor has been drawing monsters and dragons since he was a little boy, so he decided to make a career out of it. William is the artist of over 3,000 published illustrations for games, books and advertising over the past 20 years. Winning more than 30 awards for his work, William has contributed to Spectrum: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art seven times and has been nominated for several Chesley Awards for outstanding work in the field of fantasy illustration. Other titles in his bestselling Dracopedia series include Dracopedia and Dracopedia: The Great Dragons. Visit his website at



Watch art workshops on demand at ArtistsNetwork.TV

Get unlimited access to over 100 art instruction ebooks

Online seminars for fine artists

Learn how to paint & how to draw with downloads, books, videos + more from North Light Shop

Subscribe to The Artist’s Magazine

Sign up for your Artist’s Network email newsletter & download a FREE issue of The Artist’s Magazine