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  1. Design & Illustration
  2. Adobe Illustrator

How to Create a Military Stencil Text Effect in Illustrator

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Difficulty:IntermediateLength:LongLanguages:
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What You'll Be Creating

Follow this tutorial and find out how you can incorporate the army style into your design projects. You will learn how to create a camouflage pattern and apply it to a military stencil font, along with other details that will improve the final result of the army text. Let's not forget about the bullet belt pattern brush included. 

Find more inspiration and a multitude of resources ready to use that will help you achieve what you want quicker on Envato Elements. Browse through the collection to find amazing designs that you need, such as this military sans font, Lordcorps.

first military stencil font recommendation from Envato Elementsfirst military stencil font recommendation from Envato Elementsfirst military stencil font recommendation from Envato Elements

What You Will Learn in This Brochure Tutorial

  • How to use an army stencil font
  • How to create a camouflage pattern
  • How to create a military text effect
  • How to create a bullet belt pattern brush

Tutorial Assets

To complete the tutorial, you will need the following assets:

1. How to Open a New Document

Launch Illustrator and go to File > New to open a blank document. Type a name for your file, set up the dimensions, and then select Pixels as the Units and RGB as the Color Mode.

Next, go to Edit > Preferences > General and set the Keyboard Increment to 1 px, and while there, go to Units to make sure they are set as in the following image. I usually work with these settings, and they will help you throughout the drawing process.

how to open a new Illustrator documenthow to open a new Illustrator documenthow to open a new Illustrator document

2. How to Set Up the Military Font

Grab the Type Tool (T) and write “ARMY” on your artboard using the Monty Stencil Black font, a beautiful military stencil font from Envato Elements. Set the size to 192 pt in the Character panel (Window > Type > Character). Set the to 40 to add more space between the letters. Once done, go to Type > Create Outlines followed by Ungroup (Shift-Control-G) to get the individual letters. 

how to set up the military font in Illlustratorhow to set up the military font in Illlustratorhow to set up the military font in Illlustrator

3. How to Create the Camouflage Pattern

Step 1

Use the Rectangle Tool (M) to draw a rectangle that covers your military font entirely, as shown in the image below. Use dark gray as the fill color. 

how to start the camouflage pattern in Illustratorhow to start the camouflage pattern in Illustratorhow to start the camouflage pattern in Illustrator

Step 2

The camouflage pattern is entirely made using Illustrator brushes that you already have. We won't go for the classic version this time, but instead we will create a grunge and modern army style pattern.

Grab the Paintbrush Tool (B) or the Pen Tool (P) and draw four curved paths over the rectangle, as shown in the next image. Stroke them using an Art Brush called Dry Brush 7 that you can find in the Brush Libraries Menu > Artistic > Artistic_Paintbrush. Increase the Stroke Weight to 10 pt. The stroke color is not important.

With the four paths still selected, go to Object > Expand Appearance to turn the strokes into filled shapes. Now, change the fill color to brown.

how to create the first texture of camouflage pattern in Illustratorhow to create the first texture of camouflage pattern in Illustratorhow to create the first texture of camouflage pattern in Illustrator

Step 3

Use the Paintbrush Tool (B) or the Pencil Tool (N) again to draw a bunch of shorter paths this time. Make sure to cover most of the rectangle. Stroke them using an Art Brush called Chalk that you can find in the Brush Libraries Menu > Artistic > Artistic_ChalkCharcoalPencil. Increase the Stroke Weight to 5 pt.

Once done, keep all these paths selected and go to Object > Expand Appearance. Fill the newly obtained texture with off-black.

how to create the second texture of camouflage pattern in Illustratorhow to create the second texture of camouflage pattern in Illustratorhow to create the second texture of camouflage pattern in Illustrator

Step 4

A few more steps and you are done. Draw more paths over the rectangle, as shown in the image below. Stroke all of them with the Dry Brush 7 and set the Stroke Weight at 5 pt.

Go to Object > Expand Appearance; then change the fill color to green for the entire group. 

how to create the third texture of camouflage pattern in Illustratorhow to create the third texture of camouflage pattern in Illustratorhow to create the third texture of camouflage pattern in Illustrator

Step 5

Use the Paintbrush Tool (B) or the Pencil Tool (N) again to draw about five vertical paths over the pattern. Stroke them with Chalk and set the Stroke Weight to 7 pt. Expand Appearance and then change the fill color of the resulting texture to beige.

how to create the forth texture of camouflage pattern in Illustratorhow to create the forth texture of camouflage pattern in Illustratorhow to create the forth texture of camouflage pattern in Illustrator

Step 6

Select the army text under the rectangle and then Copy and Paste in Place (Shift-Control-V) to make copies of the letters in front of everything. While the four letters stay selected, go to Object > Compound Path > Make (Control-8). I will name it “army compound path”.

Keep the army compound path selected along with all the textures and the rectangle; then go to Object > Clipping Mask > Make (Control-7). This will create a mask and clean up all the edges. The military text is starting to come together nicely, right?

how to mask the camouflage pattern on military stencil font in Illustratorhow to mask the camouflage pattern on military stencil font in Illustratorhow to mask the camouflage pattern on military stencil font in Illustrator

4. How to Improve the Army Text With Details

Step 1

Select the army compound path that you used to mask the pattern earlier, and then Copy and Paste in Place (Shift-Control-V) to make a copy of it in front of everything. Stroke it with an Art Brush called Dry Brush 3 that you can find in the Brush Libraries Menu > Artistic > Artistic_Paintbrush. Set the Stroke Weight to 1 pt and the color to off-black.

Copy and Paste in Place (Shift-Control-V) the army compound path one more time. Keep it selected along with the stroked path and go to Object > Clipping Mask > Make (Control-7). This step accentuates the grungy look inside the edges of the letters. 

how to create a grunge look for army stencil font in Illustratorhow to create a grunge look for army stencil font in Illustratorhow to create a grunge look for army stencil font in Illustrator

Step 2

Copy and Paste in Place (Shift-Control-V) the army compound path again and give it a white fill color. Next, go to Effect > Stylize > Inner Glow and apply the settings shown to obtain a dark shadow inside the edges.

Set the Blending Mode of the Fill attribute to Multiply so that the white becomes transparent but you will still be able to see the shadow on the edges. 

how to create inner shadow for army stencil font in Illustratorhow to create inner shadow for army stencil font in Illustratorhow to create inner shadow for army stencil font in Illustrator

Step 3

Let's focus on one letter. Select only the letter “A” and then Copy and Paste in Place (Shift-Control-V) to make a copy of it in front of everything. Give it a 2 pt Stroke using off-black and, in the Stroke panel, press the Align Stroke to Inside option.

With the letter still selected, press Add New Stroke at the bottom of the Appearance panel to add a second attribute below the first. Set the color to white and the Stroke Weight to 3 pt. Keep the Align Stroke to Inside option selected and change the Blending Mode to Overlay.

Repeat this step for the other letters and apply the same settings. 

how to add strokes on military font in Illustratorhow to add strokes on military font in Illustratorhow to add strokes on military font in Illustrator

Step 4

Now, we will create a washed-out look on the army text. Grab the Pen Tool (P) and draw one or two paths on each letter, as shown in the image below. Stroke them with Dry Brush 3 and increase the Stroke Weight to 3 pt. Give them a white stroke; then go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur and apply a Radius of 2 px. Set the Blending Mode to Soft Light, and you can see the final result. 

how to create the washed out look on military font in Illustratorhow to create the washed out look on military font in Illustratorhow to create the washed out look on military font in Illustrator

5. How to Create the Soldier Tag

Step 1

Use the Rectangle Tool (M) to draw a small rectangle of 39 x 15 px filled with off-black. Also, give it a 1 pt Stroke using green and select the Align Stroke to Outside option in the Stroke panel.

With the rectangle still selected, take a look at the Transform panel. Set the Corner Type to Chamfer and the Corner Radius to 2 px. Make sure to press Link Corner Radius Values so that all four corners look the same.

Finally, type “SOLDIER” using Arial Bold font. Set the size to 8.5 pt and give it a beige fill color. Set the Tracking to -57 to bring the letters closer to each other. 

how to create a soldier tag for army text in Illustratorhow to create a soldier tag for army text in Illustratorhow to create a soldier tag for army text in Illustrator

Step 2

Group (Control-G) the shapes that compose the soldier tag and move it over the letter “A”.

how to arrange the soldier tag on army text in Illustratorhow to arrange the soldier tag on army text in Illustratorhow to arrange the soldier tag on army text in Illustrator

6. How to Create the Bullet Belt

Step 1

Use the Pen Tool (P) to draw a simple bullet shape like in the image below, and color it with brown. Draw a similar but smaller shape inside and color it with light brown. Next, draw a thin tapered shape as a highlight and color it with pale yellow. 

how to create a bullet in Adobe Illustratorhow to create a bullet in Adobe Illustratorhow to create a bullet in Adobe Illustrator

Step 2

Use the Pen Tool (P) again to draw a rectangle over the bullet, but rounded at the top and bottom. Color it with gray. Continue to draw a thin vertical stripe filled with white as a highlight. The next shape is a rectangular one on the right side filled with dark gray. You don't have to be too precise because we will cover the edges with a black stroke. In the Stroke panel, select the Round Join option. 

how to make a bullet in Adobe Illustrator for army texthow to make a bullet in Adobe Illustrator for army texthow to make a bullet in Adobe Illustrator for army text

Step 3

The bullet is done, and you can Group (Control-G) all the shapes that compose it. Before you continue, make sure that the bullet is small, around 7 x 33 px.

Drag the bullet into the Brushes panel and choose New Pattern Brush. Type a name and select Add space to fit. Hit OK.

how to save a bullet belt pattern brush in Adobe Illustrator how to save a bullet belt pattern brush in Adobe Illustrator how to save a bullet belt pattern brush in Adobe Illustrator

Step 4

Let's return to the army text. Use the Pen Tool (P) to draw a curved path over the letter “M” as shown. Stroke it with the Bullets Pattern Brush, and you are done. How easy was that?

how to apply the bullet belt pattern brush on military fonthow to apply the bullet belt pattern brush on military fonthow to apply the bullet belt pattern brush on military font

7. How to Create the Background and Shadows

Step 1

Use the Rectangle Tool (M) to draw a rectangle the same size as the artboard, which is 850 x 450 px. Send it to the back by going to Object > Arrange > Send to Back (Shift-Control-[). Fill it with a radial gradient from dark gray to off-black. 

how to create the background behind army stencil fonthow to create the background behind army stencil fonthow to create the background behind army stencil font

Step 2

Select the black army letters from the beginning of the tutorial, which should be behind everything. Go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow and apply the settings shown to get the shadow.

how to create shadow behind army stencil fonthow to create shadow behind army stencil fonthow to create shadow behind army stencil font

Step 3

Let's add a shadow to the bullet belt as well. While the path stays selected, go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow and apply the settings shown. 

how to create the shadow under bullet army belt in Illustratorhow to create the shadow under bullet army belt in Illustratorhow to create the shadow under bullet army belt in Illustrator

Congratulations! Your Military Stencil Text Effect Is Done!

I hope this tutorial was useful and that you learned some new techniques today. Now you can apply the camouflage army style in your future designs and experiment with other stencil fonts too.

military stencil font final image text effectmilitary stencil font final image text effectmilitary stencil font final image text effect

Popular Stencil Fonts From Envato Elements

Envato Elements is an amazing place to find fonts and has an impressive collection of all kinds of fonts. Navigate through the multitude of resources to find what you need and experiment.

Lordcorps Military Sans Font (OTF, TTF)

This font was inspired by the classic vintage military stencil design and can be a solid option for you to use in any military-inspired project. 

first military stencil font recommendation from Envato Elementsfirst military stencil font recommendation from Envato Elementsfirst military stencil font recommendation from Envato Elements

Airborne 86 Military Font (OTF, TTF)

Use this font for army posters, wallpaper, scrapbooking, labels, stickers, or for printing on fabric and clothes, and your project will surely be a success.

second military stencil font recommendation from Envato Elementssecond military stencil font recommendation from Envato Elementssecond military stencil font recommendation from Envato Elements

Thunderbolt Font

Inspired by the numbers used on the legendary Thunderbolt planes, this font is imposing and will attract everyone's attention.

third military stencil font recommendation from Envato Elementsthird military stencil font recommendation from Envato Elementsthird military stencil font recommendation from Envato Elements

Deltory Military Font

Deltory is the perfect font to use in any military-inspired artwork, and it should definitely be a part of your font collection. 

fourth military stencil font recommendation from Envato Elementsfourth military stencil font recommendation from Envato Elementsfourth military stencil font recommendation from Envato Elements

Monty Stencil

Want a dynamic stencil font? Monty is perfect, and it's extra versatile for a multitude of projects and designs. Try it out!

fifth military stencil font recommendation from Envato Elementsfifth military stencil font recommendation from Envato Elementsfifth military stencil font recommendation from Envato Elements

Learn More With These Recommended Tutorials

Find plenty of new information and techniques that will help you in your future projects in this selection of tutorials, from beginner to intermediate level. Start now!

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