I'm trying to create a set of vector letters from lettering that I have scanned in. An example is shown here:

Hand-drawn letters scanned using Gimp

I scanned the letters in groups of 4 instead of the whole page, but doing the whole page might be faster if breaking the letters apart is faster.

In Inkscape, I've opened the scanned image and used the Path > Trace Bitmap tool. When I try to use Break Apart, I get a solid fill on the letter counters. I can delete those, but then I end up with two paths for each letter.

Example of handdrawn letters traced in Inkscape

Is there a a better way to do this? Help from professional typographers welcome... although I realize that most don't use Inkscape.

  • 1
    Note that if you want to make a typeface, you are better off using a font software from the beginning.
    – Wrzlprmft
    Commented Apr 17, 2017 at 7:37
  • 1
    Before continuing the battle, check this: high-logic.com/font-generator/scanahand.html. It's the home page of High Logic's Scanahand. It has a form that can be filled by hand or in a photo editor. Input the filled form. The output = a font file, ready to install and use.
    – user82991
    Commented Apr 17, 2017 at 10:57
  • These are both great suggestions. But at the moment, I'd like to have a full set of vector objects. Commented Apr 18, 2017 at 12:52

1 Answer 1


Your problem is that the outline and the counter are now separate paths. The easiest solution is to select the outline and the counter of a given letter and use Path → Combine (Ctrl+K). This way, they will be part of a single path object like before breaking up and the counter will act as such.

  • Great help. I loved your article on Blackletter and re-tweeted it. Strange: I teach in a department of Physics & Computers Science and live near the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics :) Commented Apr 18, 2017 at 13:11

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