Wood engraving is a relief printmaking process like stamps, woodcuts and linoleum cuts. The raised, uncut surface receives ink and prints directly on paper. Wood engraving is a subtractive technique where tools called burins, remove the fibers from the end-grain of a woodblock. It differs from a woodcut, which is cut on a cross grain, side grain or plank-side of a woodblock. Wood engraving allows a variety of cutting styles because it can reproduce very small details and does not compete with the grain of the wood. It is extremely durable and lends itself well to illustration in publications as well as limited edition prints. It has a most interesting history of usage as well as an active contemporary application.
Since 1994, a group of printmakers, especially interested in wood engraving, have gathered and formed an organization called the Wood Engravers’ Network. The group pursues communication, encouragement, and education in this historic, yet contemporary relief medium.