Stock? I just looked at a Sergeant insignia in the American Military, and from there just made some squares. From those squares, I turned them into meshes and screwed with the vertical/horizontal as well as bend in them and copied it three times. Then I made a pokey little thingy and did the same thing.
This led to a spiky-looking design which really took on a more lupine and eerie figure. Then I worked some craziness in Illustrator and merged the four shapes. From there, I "Offset Path"-'d the now one object to get the blue outline. This is a stroke, and there is no fill in this shape. It is at the back of the image and therefore interacts differently with the figure of the emblem.
For the laurels, I made two Hexagons at 60 degree angles opposing each other. I copied them and put another two at the bottom of the artboard. From there I forget what I did, I think I made a blend with them with specified steps to make the full laurel. After that I repeated what I had done with the squares to make them crescents. I mirrored it to the other side and then repeated the "Offset Path" to get the outline on those. It's a little sharp at parts but otherwise you can't notice it unless you look closely.
The insignia in the middle is a special Nine-Sided Star. I made a Triangle with two radii and then inverted the two. This made the triangle buckle a little before creating the next point. So technically it's like a 36-sided triangle but whatever. Essentially it's a fancy pentagram.
The banners are just squares again, made into meshes so I could manipulate the bend to turn them into what appear to be three-dimensional objects.
The Hydra Head text was taken from an earlier art piece I did (this is why digital art is so cool). The other text is just a base font.
That awesome background is composed of a previous art piece as well as a layer of gritty scar-ridden paper to add texture. The whole thing got thrown into Photoshop, and then I added some noise effects to spice the image up. After that, Lightroom. Lightroom is so good once you have a finished product. It defines your colors and lets you do amazing things with an otherwise plain image.
Oh, and then I just put in some stray brush strokes for color, as well as a Tan-Teal gradient.
Light can be just as blinding as Darkness. Bring some Sunglasses.
10% of that makes no sense to me. It's the ten percent that matters.
I'm no graphics whizz - when I have to use GIMP, it takes me three hours to do something crap and then another hour to do something decent..every single time. So I applaud anyone who can actually use any image editing software and do it well. Bravo. You at least sound like you know what you're talking about and that image looks like you do too.
The otters are coming with whiskers honed to razor blades. Know this and fear.
Email me at xnoklu[at]gmail.com should you need to contact me.