Tattoo Geeks | Geek Tattoos

Cthulhu Tattoos!

My friend Stephen asked me if I wanted to play the Call of Cthulhu role-playing game, so I was poking around on the web and found all kinds of good stuff to get me in the mood, including a CoC Quick Start Guide (pdf), the complete text of the H.P. Lovecraft story “The Call of Cthulhu,” and this really fun blog by Paul Carrick about the process of designing, sculpting, and producing a Cthulhu collectible statuette (and other Lovecraft-inspired artworks).

In the process, I stumbled upon—you guessed it—Cthulhu tattoos! So of course I had to perform an exhaustive search for the best on the web. Here are my favorites:

Tatto by Billy Beens of Tat-nice Tattoos in Huntington, WV

Tattoo by Billy Beens of Tat-nice Tattoos, Huntington

This excellent piece by Billy Beens of Tat-nice Tattoos in Huntington, WV, is everything that I love in a tattoo: bright colors, great design, amazing technique and execution, cool subject matter, and all-around bad-ass-ness. Photo courtesy of

Tattoo by Tommy Lee at NIX2008

Tattoo by Tommy "Lee" Wendtner at NIX2008, Toronto

I love the realistic details, the beautiful shading/highlights and the creepy dead eyes of this scary black-and-grey piece. In addition to the photo above (from Tommy’s MySpace page), you can see a triptych of different angles on and an in-progress shot on Flickr. I gather from these various sources that Tommy Lee is based in Germany, and that this tattoo seems to have been completed in about 8 hours at Northern Ink Xposure 2008 in Toronto.

Tattoo by John Fitzgerald at Slave to the Needle, Seattle

Tattoo by John Fitzgerald at Slave to the Needle, Seattle

I really like this stylized interpretation of Cthulhu; bonus ink points for incorporating traditional Japanese style in the waves, etc., and bonus nerd points for including the Necronomicon. Excellent work by John Fitzgerald of Slave to the Needle. Found in BMEzine’s tattoo galleries, filed under the shop’s name.

By ? at Yankee Tattoo in Burlington, VT

Tattoo by Eric Henshaw at Yankee Tattoo, Burlington

This tattoo is one of the more horrific specimens I came across; I think I just lost a sanity point! I also found what looks to be the original artwork on which this piece was based. This guy also seems to be working on a leg sleeve (I’m going to start calling big tattoos on people’s legs “pantlegs”) featuring Baphomet. Cthulhu piece found on Flickr, inked by Eric Henshaw at Yankee Tattoo in Burlington, Vermont (Baphomet tattoo is by Aaron Reil).

Tattoo by Johnathan at Alpha & Omega Tattoo & Body Piercing, Oshkosh, WI

Tattoo by Jonathan at Alpha & Omega's Tattoo & Body Piercing, Oshkosh

Speaking of horrific, WTF?!? This beauty adorns the back of Brian Defferding, the creator of horror comic School: A Ghost Story. I really hope that Brian posts follow-up photos on his MySpace blog. Tattoo by  Jonathan at Alpha & Omega’s Tattoo & Body Piercing in Oshkosh, WI.

Tattoo by Mike Tidwell of Obscurities, Dallas

Tattoo by Mike Tidwell of Obscurities, Dallas

While this sleeve doesn’t feature Cthulhu himself, there is no shortage of tentacles and other Lovecraft-inspired horror. Bonus points for the small portrait of H.P. Lovecraft himself on the forearm. Artist: Mike Tidwell of Obscurities Tattoos and Piercing in Dallas, TX. Source: BMENews.

Again, these are just my favorites; I was actually  surprised at how many Cthulhu tattoos I found! I guess it makes sense; scary bad-ass monsters have long been prime subject matter for tattoos… If you find one (or have one) that you want to share with the rest of us Ink Nerds, feel free to post a link in the comments, or e-mail a photo to josh [at] inknerd [dot] com!


32 responses

  1. That Yankee Tattoo is exceptionally horrific. Having Cthulhu’s tentacles falling from inside his mouth is disturbing.

    I feel Mi-Go and Elder Things are sorely underrepresented in tattoos.

    Here’s a friend of mine who makes nice Lovecraft drawings, not that they are tattoos. They have a quality about them that is a little creepy while not being bad ass evil.

    Did I break a rule?

    September 1, 2008 at 9:22 pm

  2. Josh

    Break a rule? Of course not! Thanks for sharing! I just subscribed to Pocket Universe; it seems great to me!

    September 1, 2008 at 9:54 pm

  3. Stephen

    I’d love to see a grizzled sailor with a Cthulhu tattoo make the tentacles writhe by flexing his arm muscles. I’d definitely lose a sanity point!

    September 2, 2008 at 1:02 am

  4. People have experienced problems posting comments… Is this thing on?

    September 2, 2008 at 2:38 pm

  5. Weird. Comments that I post in Firefox show up in Firefox, but not IE7 or Safari PC. WTF? Will this show up?

    September 2, 2008 at 2:43 pm

  6. I can read your last comment, I’m using some version of Explorer on a PC.

    There’s a mind-rending tattoo, tattoo using a PC. In the background you’d see Nyarlothotep as his Black Man avatar, doing a self-righteous Macintosh dance.

    Let’s see if this post works…

    September 2, 2008 at 6:55 pm

  7. I meant to write “Cthulhu using a PC”. Not “tattoo using a PC”.

    September 2, 2008 at 6:55 pm

  8. Those are crazy. I am working on a back piece with a massive Cthulhu, but the girl is a weiner and can’t sit for very long. Eventually I’ll have pictures.

    September 4, 2008 at 11:08 am

  9. Josh

    Awesome, Jamie! Post a link when you have pictures, or send to me and I’ll post here!

    I’ve found some pretty cool Lovecraft-inspired tattoos since this post, so I’ll probably do a follow-up before too long (of course, I’ve also been promising a Hulk tattoo follow-up for a long time, and haven’t gotten around to it…).

    September 4, 2008 at 11:14 am

  10. All I can say is … OMG! You fuckin rock. I must link this gallery on Needled for my tattoo nerd brethren.


    September 9, 2008 at 7:12 pm

  11. Josh

    Wow, thanks, Marisa! I’d be honored to be linked on Needled. In fact, I’m going to take a screenshot of this comment board and print it out and frame it, and hang it on the wall. If you DO wind up linking it, I’ll frame that, too! 🙂

    September 9, 2008 at 8:19 pm

  12. Donzo! On Needled now:

    Consider me a loyal reader.


    September 9, 2008 at 9:24 pm

  13. Josh

    Aw, shucks. [blushes, stuffs hands in pockets, kicks a pebble]


    September 10, 2008 at 8:20 am

  14. Hrimgrimnir

    I’ve got Cthulhu tattoo too.

    September 12, 2008 at 12:40 pm

  15. Josh

    Awesome, Hrimgrimner! Let’s see it! If it’s online, post a link! If not, e-mail me a photo! josh [at] inknerd [dot] com

    September 12, 2008 at 1:57 pm

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  19. Stephanie/"Penny" W.

    I am trying to locate an old friend, Tattoo Artist John David Fitzgerald, originally from Amherst Massachusetts. Has worked in the San Fransisco area as well as New Hampshire. He used to attend conventions regularly and may have been associated with (Don) Ed Hardy. He usually went by “Fitzy” or “Dave” (almost never by John). If anyone knows how to get in touch w/ himm I would be eternally grateful to know. Last thing I heard was several years ago, he was planning on closing up his Tat shop in Hinsdale New Hampshire to come to the L.A. area – where I have been living in the same place since I last saw him, maybe 6 years ago. He may be working in auto body welding as well. Can anyone help me? If you know him, tell him I’m in the same building, but diff apt & new ph#s. Home phone is now listed, mostly just in case he is trying to get in touch!

    January 20, 2009 at 12:52 pm

    • Tattoo Jack

      I also have been searching for dave as he was a close friend and disapeared it seems.Have you found him yet?

      February 24, 2014 at 4:21 am

  20. NuclearBitch

    I have a Cthulhu tattoo too 😀

    January 23, 2009 at 9:36 am

  21. Josh

    Awesome NuclearBitch! Let’s see it! Post a link, or e-mail it to! Exclamation point!

    January 25, 2009 at 10:47 pm

  22. lol, I did not expect to see my arm up there (I’m the second one, done by tommy lee), its actually not 100% finished btw, there is still more detail and highlight work and touching up that he wants to do this year at NIX in toronto (in a couple of months)..

    April 21, 2009 at 6:32 pm

  23. Josh

    Awesome, Clinton! Post a photo when you get more work done, and give us a link! Or add it to my Cthulhu Tattoos Flickr Group!

    April 21, 2009 at 7:20 pm

  24. Doc Odd

    In case you wanted to know the Cthulhu tattoo done at Yankee tattoo was by Eric Henshaw.

    December 27, 2009 at 4:46 pm

  25. Josh

    Thanks, Doc Odd! Post updated!

    December 28, 2009 at 12:02 pm

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