I'm trying to make a old style font for Oriya language from early 20th century prints which have been scanned. I need this font to train tesseract for OCR-ing old books.

My illustrator skills are practically nil. I just learned how to use pen tool from youtube. I cropped one letter from a scan and traced it manually to get a rough outline of a letter. The whole letter is supposed to have uniform stroke thickness. How can I ensure that? Width tool? Any good comprehensive guides for tracing such letters are welcome too.

Btw say I have a set of letters and I want to generate condensed tall forms. How can I transform the existing outlines in X axis only (to get tall condensed letters) but without making the horizontal strokes of a letter excessively thin? Original scan My tracing

  • 1
    Use a stroke then expand it.
    – joojaa
    Dec 26, 2015 at 16:47
  • Not that I could help, but that sounds like a pretty damn cool project.
    – Mörkö
    Dec 26, 2015 at 22:05

1 Answer 1


What works for me is tracing along the center path of your shape.

Then utilizing stroke adjustments and/or the width tool to properly match the width you need it to be. Keep in mind the width tool does not adjust the entire stroke evenly but gradates size from the point you choose (which is great for having even distribution of different stroke weights).

Below I quickly demonstrated how you can match and keep an even stroke throughout a shape. In the left picture I simply adjusted stroke weight (This ensures it is even throughout). The right picture is how the width tool works (for reference).

enter image description here enter image description here

Hope this helps.

  • Thank you. Yes that's helpful. But using width tool will produce a lot of extraneous points that have to be cleaned manually. Right? Jan 2, 2016 at 13:10
  • For what you are doing (mono-weight stroked characters/symbols) the width tool is not needed, I included it for reference. From my experience though, the width tool is a pretty cleanly tool. Extra points are not created. Now If you expand your stroke after using the width tool, then that may cause extra points to be created (to retain it's shape), depends on the situation though.
    – Grayson
    Jan 4, 2016 at 15:44

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