Engraving is the practiced art of incising a design or script into a flat surface by cutting lines of varying degrees of depth, angle, and shape. The result is a decorated surface or object with words or images. This discipline has historic value in printmaking and is considered one of the most difficult techniques to learn in image production.
A master engraver uses tools of hardened steel called burins, much like a painter has a variety of brushes. His tools yield different line types and angles depending on the delicacy of the stroke or volume (surface area) of the ‘fill work’. After all, it is metal surgery which requires precision, artistry, and experience with a broad array of techniques to ensure the best result.
Prepwork begins with centering the piece in a vise, whitewashing in watercolor, and freehanding the layout. Finishing work includes cleaning and polishing the piece for presentation.