The process of wood engraving is perfectly described by The Society of Wood Engravers. "Wood engraving is at once the simplest and one of the most exquisite forms of printmaking. The print is made, first, by engraving the reversed design or picture to be printed into the mirror-smooth surface of a block of endgrain wood. Box is best, though other woods and synthetic materials are now also used. Secondly, the block is rolled up with ink (on its top surface) and printed onto paper. The cuts that were made into the wood therefore come out as white, the remaining top surface which gets inked, as black; the artist is, in effect, drawing with light – with a white mark as opposed to the black mark that comes from a pencil, brush or pen. Most wood engravings tend to be closely worked and relatively small because the tools used are finely pointed. Because the finesse of wood engraving produces a particularly rich tonal range, wood engravings are usually, but by no means exclusively, black and white. The image that results can only be made by this particular process, just as paintings can only be made with paint or photographs with a camera. Printmaking is thus a potentially creative process: it is part of its nature that many prints can be taken from the block once it is engraved, but each of those prints is an original – made by that process, not copied".

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