I would like to make a simple document explaining how to write certain Chinese characters. The standard method, which is used in many textbooks, is to first show the complete character and then a series of simpler ones adding one stroke at a time. In order to accomplish this, I need to be able to typeset only certain strokes from a given character. There is an article on typesetting rare characters, whose technique could be adapted but it would take a lot of work. I wonder if there is a simpler way which avoids entering each stroke manually.
Not a (La)TeX solution, but the Commons Stroke Order Project "aims to create a complete set of high quality and free illustrations to clearly show the stroke orders of Han characters (hanzi, kanji, kana, hantu, and hanja)".
For example, the stroke order illustration of 山 is available at http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:山-bw.png , but you will perhaps need to write a quick script to get at the actual URL of the png directly.
There are a few varieties of illustrations possible, as well as Simplified, Traditional Chinese and Kanji variants available, so be sure to read the project description.
(Not about TeX.)
In China, there are many softwares for this purpose. Some professional typesetting softwares, like Founder FIT, have plugins for this. There are also other separate softwares to show the stroke order, like “方正写字” of Founder Corporation, and some personal software like 笔画拆拆 (free version can export images of low quality). All above are for Simplified Chinese. I'm not familar with the softwares for Traditional Chinese. Anyway, I don't think there are any solutions in TeX.
For online solution, you can access:
These sources are larger than Commons Stroke Order Project from WikiMedia, as LianTze Lim referred. About 3000 simpified characters or 4808 traditional characters are provided.