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Wood Engraving

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Barn Owl (Tyto alba), Thomas Bewick Enlarge

Barn Owl Tyto alba
(Thomas Bewick, 1847, Public domain)

Wood Engraving

A technique developed in the West during the Middle Ages, engraving consists in creating a relief drawing on a piece of wood. This process is used to imprint the thus created image onto paper or other materials. To do so, the engraver first draws a sketch of the drawing on a smooth piece of wood.

He next makes an incision and removes the parts of the wooden surface found outside the zone to be imprinted using gouges and penknives. The image is coated with ink which appears in relief, then a sheet of paper is firmly pressed against the engraved wood. Orientals were the first to use a similar method, the estampe (print), as of the first century AD.

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