Engraving is a process wherein the design is incised into a hard surface (usually copper), by cutting grooves into it. Historically engraving is one of the first printmaking methods, used for the reproduction of paintings, but also as a printmaking process in its own right.
Often confused with the process of Drypoint or Etching, traditional engraving is different from these other intaglio printmaking methods in both the tools used and the method of creating the line.
Burins or gravers of various thickness are used to incise precise lines, giving the engraving a quality of line that is characterised by a steady and deliberate drawing method. Tone in an engraving is achieved by building up lines (cross-hatching) and varying degrees of the angle that the graver is manipulated.
Though an engraving can stand alone as a decorated object, in printmaking the engraved plate is inked up using the intaglio method (much like an etching) and printed using a press.