Colourful Words: Illustrator and PSD

Today ‘s tutorials are quick and easy techniques for filling in Illustrator and Photoshop text with background images.


  • Create your text. I’m using Cooper Black.
  • Place, Copy or Import the image you want to fill your text with.
  • Embed imported or placed graphics.
  • Send the image to the back of the text (both are on the same layer): Object>Arrange>Send to Back.
  • Select the text and image then go to Object>Clipping Mask>Make.
  • Go to the Properties menu and give the text a stroke to define it clearly as the action of creating a clipping mask will have removed the text fill and stroke.


  • Type your text. This time I’m using Elephant. The bears are just for fun and not part of the technique 🙂
  • On a separate layer, create, place or import the pattern / image to fill the text with.

This screen shot below shows the layer order: Graphics layer above the text layer. The bears are on a separate layer.

  • Alt-Click between the two layers, ie, on the dividing line between them.
  • Double-click on the text layer, select Stroke>colour and size to apply to the outline of the text to define it.